Taiwanese units of measurement

Taiwanese units of measurement (Chinese: 臺制, Taiwanese Hokkien: Tâi-chè, Hakka: Thòi-chṳ, Mandarin: Táizhì) are the customary and traditional units of measure used in Taiwan. The Taiwanese units formed in the 1900s when Taiwan was under Japanese rule. The system mainly refers to Japanese system with some units derived from the Qing era Chinese units and Dutch era Dutch units. The Taiwanese units are pronounced in Taiwanese Hokkien and Hakka before the World War II and adopted by the Mandarin speaking immigrants from China in 1949. Today, the Taiwanese units are used exclusively, in some cases alongside official metric (SI) units, and in other cases they have been supplanted by metric units. Linguistically, practically all Taiwanese units of measure are Chinese classifiers used to classify nouns.

Note that although the Taiwanese units have similar names to those in Chinese units of measurement and Hong Kong units of measurement, the standards are different from those used in China or Hong Kong.

Length

Linear measure in Taiwan is largely metric but some units derived from traditional Japanese units of measurement remain in use as a legacy of Japanese rule.

Table of Lengths
UnitTaiwanese
feet
MetricUS & ImperialNotes
Taiwanese HokkienHakkaMandarinCharacter ExactApprox.ExactApprox.
HunFûnFēn1100  1/330 m3.030 mm125/37,719 yd0.1193 in Same as Japanese Bu
ChhùnChhunCùn110  1/33 m3.030 cm1250/37,719 yd1.193 in Taiwanese inch; Same as Japanese Sun
ChhiohChhakChǐ1  10/33 m30.30 cm12,500/37,719 yd11.93 in Taiwanese foot; Same as Japanese Shaku
Tn̄gChhongZhàng10  100/33 m3.030 m125,000/37,719 yd9 ft 11.3 in Taiwanese fathom; Same as Japanese

Taiwanese length units and the translation of length units in Metric system (SI) shares the same character. The adjective Taiwanese () can be added to address the Taiwanese unis system. For example, 台尺 means Taiwanese foot and 公尺 means meter.

Area

Unlike with other measures, area continues to be almost commonly measured with traditional units. Taiwanese units of area are derived from both traditional Dutch and Japanese measurements. The principal unit for measuring the floor space of an office or apartment is (Taiwanese Hokkien: pêⁿ [1], Hakka: phiàng, Mandarin: píng). The unit is derives from the Japanese tsubo, the base unit of the Japanese area. The principal unit of land measure is (Taiwanese Hokkien: kah, Hakka: kap, Mandarin: jiǎ). The unit is derived from the obsolete Dutch morgen, which was introduced during Taiwan's Dutch era. In the later era Kingdom of Tungning, (Taiwanese Hokkien: lê, Hakka: lài, Mandarin: lí) is defined to represent the area that could be farmed by one man with one ox and one plow in one day. Today, the rule for converting the two major units from two different sources is

1 (Taiwanese Hokkien: kah, Hakka: kap, Mandarin: jiǎ, Dutch morgen) = 2,934 (Taiwanese Hokkien: pêⁿ, Hakka: phiàng, Mandarin: píng, Japanese tsubo)

Table of area units
UnitPêⁿKah MetricUS & ImperialNotes
Taiwanese HokkienHakkaMandarinCharacter ExactApprox.ExactApprox.
Pêⁿ[2]PhiàngPíng1  400/121 m23.306 m2625,000,000/158,080,329 yd²35.58 sq ft Same as Japanese Tsubo
Bó͘Méu30  12,000/121 m299.17 m26,250,000,000/52,693,443 yd²1,067 sq ft Same as Japanese Se
HunFûnFēn293.4 110  117360/121 m2969.92 m210,440 sq ft
KahKapJiǎ2,934 1  1173600/121 m20.9699 ha2.3967 acres Derived from Dutch Morgen
Lài14,670 5  5868000/121 m24.8496 ha11.984 acres Used from Kingdom of Tungning

Officially, land area is measured in hectares and square kilometers.[3]

Volume

Volume measure in Taiwan is largely metric, with common units such as liter and milliliter.

Mass

Packaged goods in Taiwan largely use metric measurements but bulk foodstuffs sold in wet markets and supermarkets are typically measured with units derived from traditional Japanese units of mass, which are similar but not equivalent to corresponding Chinese units of mass.

Table of units of mass
UnitNiú MetricUS & ImperialNotes
Taiwanese HokkienHakkaMandarinCharacter LegalDecimalExactApprox.
11000  3/80,000 kg37.5 mg 3750/45,359,237 lb0.5787 gr Cash; Same as Japanese Rin
HunFûnFēn1100  3/8000 kg375 mg 37,500/45,359,237 lb5.787 gr Candareen; Same as Japanese Fun
ChîⁿChhiènQián110  3/800 kg3.75 g 375,000/45,359,237 lb2.116 dr Mace; Same as Japanese Momme ()
NiúLiôngLiǎng1  3/80 kg37.5 g 3,750,000/45,359,237 lb21.16 dr Tael
Kin/KunKînJīn16  3/5 kg600 g 60,000,000/45,359,237 lb1.323 lb Catty; Same as Japanese Kin
TàⁿTâmDàn1600  60 kg 6,000,000,000/45,359,237 lb132.3 lb Picul; Same as Japanese Tan

Note the tael and catty are widely used.

See also

Notes

  1. In Taiwanese Hokkien, is also pronounced pîⁿ, phêⁿ, phîⁿ, phiâⁿ, phêng depends on the accents.
  2. In Taiwanese Hokkien, is also pronounced pîⁿ, phêⁿ, phîⁿ, phiâⁿ, phêng depends on the accents.
  3. 《中華民國統計資訊網》縣市重要統計指標查詢系統網 (in Chinese). Retrieved 25 July 2016.

References

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