The Duke Who Didn’t: Glossary & Pronunciation Guide

Welcome to the glossary & pronunciation guide! I have links to two separate pronunciations.

Links to forvo go to, an online pronunciation guide. Forvo won't have all the names in the book, and also, will give you an idea of what speakers everywhere might say, and given the dispersal and drift within dialect across geography, speakers

I also talked to Michelle, who has a fantastic YouTube channel that includes Hakka lessons, recipes, general food content, and cultural discussion.

Michelle has provided spoken pronunciations for all the words in this glossary, including separate pronunciations in Hakka / Cantonese (and sometimes Mandarin), so you can get an idea of the differences between dialects. If this book piqued your interest in Hakka... go check out her channel!


Ah (阿) - used in Hakka, Cantonese, and other Chinese dialects -affectionate prefix added to names / relationships.

Ah Ba (阿爸) - used in both Hakka and Cantonese - father (affectionate)

Ah Gung (阿公) - Cantonese - maternal grandfather

Ah Ma (阿媽) - Cantonese - mother (affectionate) 

Ah Me (阿姆) - Hakka - mother (affectionate)

note: The usage of Ah Me versus Ah Ma varies substantially in Hakka. Several people have told me they use Ah Ma rather than Ah Me (including Michelle!). So don't take this as a definitive guide.

Ah Poh (阿婆) - Cantonese - maternal grandmother

Baba (爸爸) - (widely used in Chinese dialects, but the tones differ) - father

bao (包) - Cantonese - a bun filled with something. Usually cooked by steaming. See the pork bao entry in my food glossary.

Hakka (客家) - translates literally as “guest people,” refers to an ethnic/cultural subgroup that migrated to Southern China somewhere between the 2nd and the 10th century.

hiong (香) - Hakka - joss stick / incense.

jook (粥) - Cantonese - a porridge/gruel made from cooking a grain in a lot of water for a long time.

kuk (麴) - Cantonese - a class of yeast inoculants used to ferment (among other things) soy sauce, vinegar, and several kinds of wine. See qu. 

lau tai (老弟) - Hakka - little brother.

lui cha fan (擂茶飯)  - Hakka - translates literally as “thunder tea rice,” a dish made by frying herbs and tea leaves, pounding these in a mortar and pestle (hence the “thunder” in the name), and pouring the resulting green soup/tea over cooked vegetables and rice. See the lui cha fan entry in my food glossary.

nyong tofu (釀豆腐) - literally, stuffed tofu. Tofu triangles with a bit removed from the center, filled, stuffed and then braised. See my yong tofu entry in my food glossary.

pai (拜) - Hakka - pay respect or worship.

qu (麴) - Mandarin - a class of yeast inoculants used to ferment (among other things) soy sauce, vinegar, and several kinds of wine. See kuk.

Taiping Tianguo (太平天國) - literally, “Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace.” Refers to the rebel kingdom formed by Hong Xiuquan in Southern China between 1851-1864.


Ah Lin (阿玲) - affectionate diminutive for YiLin.

Ah Yit (阿翌) – affectionate diminutive for HiYit

Ah Ciu (阿超) - Affectionate diminutive for Pak Ciu

Bei (貝) – family name

Naomi (直美) - Japanese - personal name

Kam Ming (金明) - family name, Kam, personal name, Ming

NyukMin (玉明) - generational name, Nyuk, personal name, Min

Uchida (内田) - Japanese - family name

SiuLiung (秀龍) - generational name, Siu, personal name, Liung

YiLin (羽玲) - generational name, Yi, personal name, Lin

Yu Ging Lung (餘景龍) - family name Yu, generational name Ging, personal name Lung