Listen to Podcast | Hokkien: How Do You Say “Please, May I Ask?”

New Words
Please, may I ask – 请问 – qiah mng
Use – 用 – eng
Say – 讲 – gong
Hokkien Mee – 福建面 – Hokkien mee
How to – 怎么 – an zua
Walk – 走 – giah
Do – 做 – zoh
Use – 用 – eng

Podcast Transcript | Hokkien: How Do You Say “Please, May I Ask?”

Hokkien - Please May I Ask - How Do You Say

Hi everyone, thank you for joining us on “How Do You Say” at My name is Eugene and today, we will learn a few helpful phrases that starts with “请问”. 

“请问” means “Please, may I ask” The first word “请” refers to “Please” and “问” refers to “ask”. As such, combining “请” with “问” implies that you have a question to ask politely. 

Let me give you a few examples.  

If I am asking someone if the bowl of Hokkien Mee is tasty, I would say “请问你,福建面好食吗?“ 

If I am asking “Please may I ask, how do you say “Eat” in Hokkien?”, I would say “请问你,Eat用福建话怎么讲?” – “怎么” means “how do you” and “讲” means “say”. Once again, “请问你,Eat用福建话怎么讲?” 

If I am asking for directions to the MRT, I would say “请问你,MRT怎么行?“ Similarly, “怎么” means “how do you” and “行” means “walk”. I’ll repeat, 请问你,MRT怎么行?“ 

If I’m asking, “please, how do I do this?”, it’ll be “请问你,怎么做?” – “做” means “to do” 

If I’m asking, “please, how do I use this?”, it’ll be “请问你,怎么用?” – “用” means “to use”

You get the drift now? As you can tell, “请问” is a very versatile and polite way of asking people for help! 

Now let’s practise by combining some of these with what we learnt in the previous podcasts 

How would you say the following in Hokkien? There’s some challenge!  

“How are you? My name is Eugene. My Hokkien is not good. Can you teach me? Please, how do you say “Eat” in Hokkien?” 

Now pause the audio and give it a try. Go on.

So did you get it right? 

Here’s how I would say it.

你好,我的名是Eugene. 我的福建话不好,你可以教我吗?请问你,Eat用福建话怎么讲? 

Awesome, we are making good progress, aren’t we? 

Keep practising, as that’s the only way to learn a new dialect.  

Don’t forget, if you have specific phrases that you’ll like to learn, please leave us a comment on our Facebook page. We want to know how we can help you! 

Thank you for listening in to “How Do You Say” on My name is Eugene and see you the next time.

Our Philosophy for Learning Hokkien in Singapore

The pronunciation of Hokkien words varies from one region to another. For example, Penang Hokkien sounds different from Taiwanese Hokkien. At, we want to make learning Hokkien fun, easy and practical for daily conversations in Singapore. As such, we think it is important to listen to how Singaporeans speak Hokkien. To do that, we have an ongoing process of collecting audio recordings from at least 100 Hokkien-speaking seniors in Singapore and thereafter based our audio pronunciation on the most commonly-heard version.

In similar nature, rather than trying to figure out which Hokkien romanization system to use (e.g. Pe̍h-ōe-jī or Taiwan Romanization System), we encourage you to form your own phonics, so that you make an association with these Hokkien words in the quickest way possible. To illustrate, the formal romanization of the English word, “eat”, is “chia̍h” in Hokkien. However, in our “Have You Eaten” podcast transcript, you’ll find that we use “jiak”, which we think relates to us better. That said, you may use other romanization (e.g “chiah”, “jia”, etc), as long as it helps you to make sense of what you hear.