Listen to Podcast | Hokkien: How Do You Say “School Holidays”

New Words   
School – 学堂(学校) – Oak tng
Holidays – 放假(假期) – Pang keh
Go – 去 – Ki
Study – 读册(读书) – Tak ce
Play – 耍(玩) – Sng 


Podcast Transcript | Hokkien: How Do You Say “School Holidays”

As a child, don’t we just love the June and December school holidays? It’s a time when we can look forward to a long break from school, head out for the latest movies during weekdays and travel overseas to our dream destination. Hi there! If you are still studying, how has your school holidays been? I’m Eugene from LearnDialect.sg and in today’s How Do You Say podcast, we will be learning how to say a few school-holiday related phrases in Hokkien. 

Well, my maternal grandmother took care of me when I was young as my parents were often at work. I recalled that whenever it came to the school holidays, I would always ask my Grandma for permission to play with my neighbour, Aaron. In Hokkien, this would sound like, “学堂放假免去读册,我可以佮Aaron去耍无?”. 

Let me break it down for you.  

Firstly, “学堂“ means “school” while “放假” means “break for holidays”. Combining them together, we’ll get “学堂放假”, that is, “school holidays”. 

“免去读册” literally means “no need to study”.  

Thus, putting them together, the first half of the phrase becomes, “学堂放假免去读册”. This literally translates to, “school holidays no need to study”.  

Now, the second half of the phrase, “我可以佮Aaron去耍无?” means “Can I play with Aaron?”. 

There you go! I’ll repeat the whole sentence for you – “学堂放假免去读册,我可以佮Aaron去耍无?”. Do it with a nice smile and I’m sure you’ll pretty much get your way! 

Suppose I would like to ask for Grandma’s permission to head out and have a meal with Aaron instead. Do you know how to say that in Hokkien? Pause the audio and have a think about it. When you are ready, play the audio again and listen to how I would say it.  

Ready? Ok, I would make a tweak in the latter part of the phrase by saying, ”我可以佮Aaron去食无?” So here’s the full sentence for you, “学堂放假免去读册,我可以佮Aaron去食无?”. Did you get it? 

Before we end the podcast today, here’s a quick recap of the new words that we’ve learnt today: 

  • “学堂放假” means “school holidays”;  
  • “读册” means “studies”; and, 
  • “耍” means to “play”. 

Hope you have picked up a phrase or two from this Hokkien podcast. The team at LearnDialect.sg wishes you happy school holidays! 


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 LearnDialect.sg, 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. Paragraph

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.