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Category Archives: How Do You Say

Hokkien: How Do You Say “Favourite Country for Travel”

Listen to Podcast | Hokkien: How Do You Say “Favourite Country for Travel”

New Words   
Most – 上(最) – Siong
Which one – 佗一个(哪一个) – Toh jit eh
Country – 国家 – Gok gar
Play – 𨑨迌(玩) – Chit tou 


Podcast Transcript | Hokkien: How Do You Say “Favourite Country for Travel”

Arrgh… would you agree with me if I say that holidays are always too short? So how do you usually spend your holidays? Personally, the one thing that I look forward to during holidays is to travel and experience different cultures. Speaking of travelling overseas, do you know how to ask someone what is their favourite country for travel? My name is Eugene from LearnDialect.sg and in today’s Hokkien “How Do You Say” podcast, we will be exploring more on this topic. 

So first up, here are some new words that you will be learning today –  

“最” which means “most”;  

“佗一个” meaning “which one”; 

“国家” which means “country” and 

“𨑨迌” means “play”. 

To ask someone where is their favourite country for travel, I would tap into words we have learnt on the podcast previously and say,  

“你最舒合去佗一个国家𨑨迌?”. This translates literally into “You most like go which one country play?” 

Now, we’ve learnt “舒合” in one of our earlier How Do You Say “I Love You” podcast. Just a quick recap for you, “舒合” means “like” or “love”. Combining this with the new word, “最”, we literally get “most like” and hence, “最舒合” is one way to express “favourite” in Hokkien!  

Apart from “舒合” which Singapore Hokkiens borrow from the Malay language, did you also know that “𨑨迌” is a term unique to Min language speakers, including Hokkiens and Teochews? If you are keen to learn more about the unique language features of Hokkien, let me sidetrack a little and shamelessly throw in an ad here… do join us on our Hokkien Workshop for Beginners. Just visit our website at LearnDialect.sg and look under the tab on “Upcoming Classes”. 

Ok, back to today’s podcast. “Where is your favourite country for travel?”, translated to Hokkien will be “你最舒合去佗一个国家𨑨迌?”  

We’ve now learnt that the phrase, “𨑨迌” means “play”. So why do we use this phrase to infer travel in this scenario? This is simply a colloquial language shortcut. After all, similar to playing, you’ll have lots of fun travelling to a country that you like, isn’t it? 

So I really want to know, 你最舒合去佗一个国家𨑨迌? Please share with me in the comments. In our next podcast, I will teach you the names of some countries in Hokkien. My name is Eugene from LearnDialect.sg and see you the next week! 


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. 

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Hokkien: How Do You Say “School Holidays”

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. 

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Hokkien: How Do You Say “No Problem”

Listen to Podcast | Hokkien: How Do You Say “No Problem”

New Words   
No problem / No questions – 无问题 – Boh boon dueh 


Podcast Transcript | Hokkien: How Do You Say “No Problem”

Hi everyone! My name is Eugene and once again, welcome to  How Do You Say on LearnDialect.sg. In today’s podcast, we will be covering a useful Hokkien phrase for daily conversations that has dual meaning. This Hokkien phrase is “无问题”. Once you learn how to pronounce this phrase, you can either use it to express “no problem” or to indicate that you have “no questions”. Talk about killing 2 birds with 1 stone!  

Now, let’s start by learning how to express “no problem”. For example, if I wasn’t able to help you buy Hokkien noodles, but yet you are totally fine with it, this is how our conversation would sound like,  

I’ll say, “对唔住,我无买你要食的福建面”. 

You’ll say, “无问题”! Well, by now, you should be quite familiar with this word, “无”, as I’ve taught it a couple of times. “无” means “no” and “问题” – the new phrase today – refers to “problem”. So “无问题” literally means “No problem”. 

Or the next time someone tells you that he/she is running a little late but you are ok to wait, you can practise saying, “无问题”! 

Besides referring to a problem, another meaning for “问题” is “question”. So sometimes, you may hear someone asking, “有问题无?” This translates into, “Any questions?”. If yes, you can respond by simply saying “有”. However, if you have no further questions, you will say “无问题”.  

So how? 有问题无? I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s Hokkien – How Do You Say Podcast. Feel free to share with us your thoughts by leaving us a comment. My name is Eugene from LearnDialect.sg and see you the next week! 


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. 

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Hokkien: How Do You Say “Slower” & “Faster”

Listen to Podcast | Hokkien: How Do You Say “Slower” & “Faster”

New Words   
Slower – 慢慢 – ban ban
Faster – 较紧(快点) – kah geen 


Podcast Transcript | Hokkien: How Do You Say “Slower” & “Faster”

Hello everyone, welcome back to our Hokkien – How Do You Say Podcast on LearnDialect.sg. If you have been listening to our podcast, 你有学着什么物件无? 有什么爱我讲加一次无? 你掠有球无? Was I speaking too fast or too slow for your liking? How do you ask someone to talk slower or faster in Hokkien then? My name is Eugene and let’s find out how to do that today! 

Hokkiens use the word “慢” to mean “slow”. Hence, to emphasize the need to slow down, the word is repeated twice. For example, “慢慢讲” means “speak slower”, “慢慢行” means “walk slower” and “慢慢食” means “eat slower”. On the contrary, if you need someone to be faster, Hokkiens use the words “较紧”. As such “较紧讲” means to speak faster, “较紧行” means to walk faster and “较紧食” means to eat faster. 

Now, here’s a fun fact for you. Did you know that while Hokkiens, Teochews and Cantonese people in Singapore use similar Chinese characters to represent “slower”, they have different ways of expressing “faster”? If you are keen to find out how Teochews and Cantonese people in Singapore express “faster”, do check out our Teochew and Cantonese podcasts too!

So in today’s podcast, we have learnt “慢” means slow, “紧” means fast while “慢慢” means slower and “较紧” means faster. Try using and practising these words in your daily Hokkien conversations. My name is Eugene from LearnDialect.sg and look forward to seeing you next week! 


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. 

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Hokkien: How Do You Say “Understand”

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

New Words   
Understand – 明白 – meng pek
Road – 路 – lor
Understand (Singlish) – 听有路 – tia wu lor 


Podcast Transcript | Hokkien: How Do You Say “Understand”

Hello everyone, welcome to our Hokkien – How Do You Say podcast on LearnDialect.sg. Well, would you agree with me that during conversations, the last that we want is miscommunication? To minimize any misunderstandings, I think it’s great if we can make an effort to check if everyone is on the same page. Now what are some Hokkien phrases that we can use? My name is Eugene and in less than 5 minutes today, we will explore some ways to ask whether someone understands what is going on in a conversation.

First, you may want to ensure that the other party can hear you audibly, especially if your background is noisy. You’ll ask, “你听有无?”, which means “Can you hear me?”. The response to this question is either “听有” (which means “I hear you”) or “听无” (which means “I can’t hear you”). 

Now, during the conversation, if you want to ask “Do you understand?” in Hokkien, you’ll express it as, “你会明白无?”. If someone understands fully, then the response would be a simple “明白”. If not, you’ll hear, “未明白”. Easy, right? Let’s carry on! 

In Singapore, sometimes, you’ll find people asking, “你听有路无?”. This is a Singlish expression of “Do you understand?” and literally translates into “Are you hearing any roads?”. Does this make any sense to you? Let me sort this out! Have you heard of this phrase, “All roads lead to Rome”? Roads lead us to somewhere, thus when someone asks “你听有路无?”, it means “Are you making any headway in this conversation?”. That’s a cool expression to learn, isn’t it? So, if you understand, you’ll say “听有路”. If not, you can say, “听无路”. We did cover another Singlish expression to indicate a lack of understanding in Hokkien previously, do you remember what it is? As a hint, it has to do with catching a ball. Did you get it? Yes, it’s “掠无球”! 

To sum up, the Hokkien phrases today are: 

  • 你听有无? 
  • 你会明白无? and 
  • 你听有路无?  

I hope the above is useful for you to reduce any miscommunication in Hokkien. Once again, I’m Eugene from LearnDialect.sg and if 你听无路, feel free to let us know any questions you may have and we will do our best to answer. See you the next week! 


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. 

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Hokkien: How Do You Say “Sorry”

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

New Words   
Sorry – 对唔住(对不起) – dui mm zu 
Buy – 买 – mai 
Embarrassed or Shy or Excuse me – 歹势(不好意思) – pai seh 


Podcast Transcript | Hokkien: How Do You Say “Sorry”

Hi there! My name is Eugene and welcome to our Hokkien – How Do You Say Podcast on LearnDialect.sg. In your daily conversations, how often do you have to apologize? For me, I apologize all the time as I am rather clumsy, often knocking things over. As such, knowing how to say sorry is rather important for me. 

In Hokkien, we express sorry as “对唔住”. For example, “对唔住,我无买你要食的福建面” which translates into “Sorry, I did not buy the Hokkien noodles that you wanted”. I would say “对唔住” generally represents a more serious manner of apology. If the situation is not too serious, you can use “歹势” to express your apology. For example, “歹势,我无Facebook”. By saying 歹势, you convey a sense of embarrassment or shyness too. Or to admit that I’m wrong, I would say, “歹势,我 salah了”. “Salah” is actually a loan word from Malay that Hokkiens often use to represent being wrong. 

Typically, I would use 歹势 together with 请问, especially when I am asking for directions. For example, “歹势,请问你MRT怎么行?”. You’ll find that in such context, “歹势” translates better as “excuse me”.  

Last but not least, you can also use the exact English word “Sorry” to express your apology, but with a slight tweak in pronunciation. Local Hokkiens in Singapore have adapted the usage of “Sorry” and pronounce it as “Sor-li”. So you can say “Sor-li, 我无买你要食的福建面”. 

Once again, apologies are expressed by Hokkien people via: 
– 对唔住 
– 歹势 & 
– Sor-li 

Hope you find the varying degrees and ways of apologizing in Hokkien useful. Feel free to share with us your thoughts by leaving us a comment. I’m Eugene from LearnDialect.sg. See you the next week! 


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. 

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Hokkien: Common Words and Useful Phrases

Listen to Podcast | Hokkien: Common Words and Useful Phrases


Podcast Transcript | Hokkien: Common Words and Useful Phrases

Hello everybody! This is Eugene from LearnDialect.sg. We are coming towards the end of March, and personally, I feel that the first quarter of 2019 has just flown by! If you had followed our podcast diligently, you would have learnt around 100 Hokkien common words and useful phrases by now! How’s that for committing less than 5 minutes a week to listen to our podcast?  

For today’s Hokkien – How Do You Say Podcast, we are going to do a recap, so that it’s easier for you to revise what you have learnt so far. Here’s how I am going to do it. I’m going to say a phrase in English, followed by the Hokkien translation. Well, I’ll suggest for you to make use of this chance to test yourself by pausing the audio after you hear each English phrase. Ask yourself, how do you say it in Hokkien? Remember, you can always refer back to our previous podcasts if you need to understand the context or learn more about the words or phrases. I’ve picked 20 phrases that I think you are most likely to use over and over again in a Hokkien conversation. Are you ready? Let’s go! 

There you go. Here’s my list of common words and useful phrases based on what we have learnt in the Hokkien – How Do You Say Podcasts thus far. Are you ready to move on to the next level? I’ll see you next week then! 


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. 

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Hokkien: How Do You Say “Wait”

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

New Words   
Wait – 等 – Tan
Please wait a moment – 请等一下 – Qia tan zit eh
Him/Her – 伊(他/她) – Yee
I will call him/her to the phone – 我叫伊(他/她)来听电话 – Wa gio yee lie tia dian way 


Podcast Transcript | Hokkien: How Do You Say “Wait”

Hello everyone! Welcome back to our Hokkien – How Do You Say Podcast. People often say, time and tide wait for no man. We are now coming to almost a quarter of the year 2019. Have you been making good use of your time to practise Hokkien? Well, my advice is, get going and don’t wait any longer!  

In fact, in today’s podcast, we will be learning how to use the word “等”, which means “wait”. I’ll also form sentences using words that you have learnt in previous podcasts before, so there will be opportunities for you to revise and practise! Ok, let’s start!  

Have you ever been in a conversation where it gets a little too fast for you? Well, here’s a handy phrase for you in Hokkien that I often use it myself, “等等等, 你可以讲加一次无?”.   

If you notice, I deliberately repeated the word “等” a few times, so that I can catch the attention of the speaker as well as to express that the pace is a tad too fast for me. As for the rest of the sentence, well…. we’ve learnt the words before. Can you figure out what it means? You can pause the audio here to gather your thoughts, while I 等一下.   

Now, the phrase “等等等, 你可以讲加一次无?” means “Wait wait wait, can you say it one more time?”. Did you get it right? I hope so! 

Another common scenario where Hokkien speakers use “等” is when we pick up a call on someone else’s behalf. In this case, we will say “请等一下,我叫伊(他/她)来听电话”. The only new word here is “伊”, which means “him” or “her”. Once again, are you able to figure out what the whole sentence means? Please give it a try and resume the audio only when you are ready!  

The first part of the phrase means “Please wait a moment” and the second part means “I will call him or her to the phone”. 

Once again, the 2 phrases today are: 

等等等, 你可以讲加一次无? and 

请等一下,我叫伊(他/她)来听电话 

Hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s Hokkien – How Do You Say Podcast. Feel free to share with us your thoughts by leaving us a comment. My name is Eugene from LearnDialect.sg and 请等 one week for our next podcast! 


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. 

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Hokkien: How Do You Say “Tired”

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

New Words   
Until/reach – 到 – Gao 
I’m very tired from work – 我做工做
到真“善”(倦) – Wa zoh gang zoh gao jin sian
Sleep – 睏 – koon 
I am going to sleep – 我爱去睏了 – Wa ai ki koon liao  


Podcast Transcript | Hokkien: How Do You Say “Tired”

Hi everyone and welcome back to our Hokkien – How Do You Say podcast. Last week, we learnt about how to join an ongoing conversation. This week, we will learn how to excuse yourself – either from an event or a conversation – in Hokkien. 

If you were invited to an event that you don’t want to join due to exhaustion from a long day at work, you can say, “我做工做到真“善”(倦), 我爱去睏了”. In the first part of the phrase, the word “倦” means “tired” and the word “真”, as we have learnt in our previous podcast, means “very”. As such, “我做工做到真倦” means “I was at work and worked until very tired”. This is followed by “我爱去睏了” which means “I am going to sleep”.  

As a little trivia, the word “Sian” originated from Hokkien and meant “tired” initially. However, with common usage over time, its meaning in Singapore has expanded to encompass being bored, a sense of helplessness and is often regarded as an expression of lament. It is no wonder that “Sian”, is now regarded as part of the Singlish vocabulary! 

Now, if you are already in the middle of a conversation and you would like to express that you have to leave, another handy phrase would be, “我有工爱做,我先走了”. Wait… did you realise that this phrase contains words that we have all learnt in our previous podcasts? I encourage you to pause the audio now and see if you understand what this phrase expresses. I’ll repeat, “我有工爱做,我先走了” What does it mean?  

So did you get it right? The meaning of this phrase is “I have work to do, I will make a move first”. 

Once again, the 2 phrases today are: 

我做工做到真“善”(倦), 我爱去睏了 and  

我有工爱做,我先走了 

Well, I hope our Hokkien – How Do You Say Podcast today is not sian for you! Personally, I think these phrases are very useful. Thank you so much for listening. My name is Eugene from LearnDialect.sg and see you at our next podcast. 


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. 

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. 

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Hokkien: How Do You Say “What are you talking about?”

Listen to Podcast | Hokkien: How Do You Say “What are you talking about?” 

New Words   
What are you all talking about? – 你侬在讲什么? – Li nang le kong sih mih?
You all – 你侬(你们) – Li nang
I have never heard of this before – 我无(没)听过 – Wa boh tia geh 
Can you tell me more? – 你可以讲给我听无(吗)? – Li eh sai kong hor wa tia boh?
Give – 给 – Hor 
Listen – 听 – Tia 
I don’t understand – 我掠无(我不明白) – Wa liah boh 
One more time – 加(多)一次 – Geh zit bai 
Can you say it one more time? – 你可以讲加(多)一次无? – Li eh sai kong geh zit bai boh? 


Podcast Transcript | Hokkien: How Do You Say “What are you talking about?” 

Hi everyone and a warm welcome to all of our listeners! This is Eugene from LearnDialect.sg. Well, so far, you’ve picked up quite a few conversation starters as well as phrases for self-introduction. Now, imagine you had just turned up at a social gathering. What can you say to join an ongoing conversation? Let’s find it out on today’s Hokkien – How Do You Say podcast

Personally, to join a conversation, I’ll like to ask for a quick download, so that I can contribute constructively. To do that, I would typically say, “你侬在讲什么?”.  

“你侬” means “You all” so to ask the question of “What are you all talking about?”, you can phrase it as, “你侬在讲什么?”. 

Now, I’ll like to be prepared for the worst situation. What if it’s a conversation topic that you are totally not familiar with? You can say, “我无听过, 你可以讲给我听无?”. This translates to, “I have never heard of this before. Can you tell me more?”.  

Ok, here’s one more useful phrase for you. 

At any point of the conversation that you feel lost again, try saying this, “我掠无, 你可以讲加一次无?”. This means “I don’t get it. Can you say it one more time?”. The interesting phrase here is “掠无”, which literally means “catch nothing”. In fact, if you want to sound even more local that means the same thing, you can say, “ 我掠无球, a Singlish term that means “I catch no ball”!  

Summing up today’s podcast, here are the new phrases for this week:  

What are you talking about? 你侬在讲什么? 

I have never heard of this before. Can you tell me more? 我无听过, 你可以讲给我听无? 

I don’t get it. Can you say it one more time? 我掠无, 你可以讲加一次无? 

Well, let me know how your next Hokkien conversation go! Feel free to share with us by leaving us a comment on Facebook or Instagram. Remember, keep practising! Thank you for listening in to our Hokkien – How Do You Say podcast. I’m Eugene from LearnDialect.sg and see you the next week! 


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. 

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. 

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