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Special: Why some Singapore Hokkien words sound so similar to Malay words


Listen to Podcast | Special: Why some Singapore Hokkien words sound so similar to Malay words

Psst… You can find our How Do You Say Podcasts on Spotify too! Head to Spotify – LearnDialect.sg or search for LearnDialect.sg on Spotify.


New Words

EnglishHokkien Our Romanization
Police
(警察)
Ma ta
Marry交寅
(结婚)
Gao yin
Go for a holiday食(吃)风Jiak hong
Cannot袂(不)Bueh

Podcast Transcript | Special: Why some Singapore Hokkien words sound so similar to Malay words

Hello! My name is Eugene and thanks for tuning into our Hokkien – How Do You Say Podcast. Speaking of Singapore Hokkien, did you notice that there are many words that sound similar to the Malay language? A few words that comes immediately to mind are “Salah” and “Suka“, which we have learnt in the previous episodes. Are these words purely a coincidence between the 2 languages? Nope, in fact, these are indeed Malay words that the Hokkien language has borrowed from. Personally, I think this is what makes Singapore Hokkien so unique! As such, in today’s podcast, I would like to deviate from our typical sharing of pure Hokkien words and bring you this special edition of Malay loan words.

First up, my favourite line, “Mata 来了!”, which literally means “police come already”. This is commonly heard, especially in the past, when policemen went after the illegal street hawkers in Singapore. Today, we hear it more in the context of vehicle parking. For example, when the parking officer comes to check for illegal parking, especially around popular eateries where parking is often difficult to find. When someone spots the parking officer, I love the cooperative vibe that comes immediately after. Almost everyone starts chanting “Mata 来了! Mata 来了!” to signify that the parking attendants have arrived, and for those who have illegally parked their vehicle, they know what to do.

So why “mata”? Did you know that in the Malay language, “mata” refers to “eyes”, the window to our souls? In the olden days, Singapore Hokkiens viewed police as a pair of eyes, which was constantly watching their moves. Hence, they used “mata” to describe the police and this term is still retained, even until today. Isn’t that fascinating?

Another local slang that you’ll often hear is “我 bueh tahan 了”. “Tahan” is actually a Malay word that means “endure” or “hold out”. So “我 bueh tahan 了” means “I cannot hold it any longer”.

You may also have heard of Hokkiens in Singapore referring to going for a holiday as 食风. Again, this comes from the Malay words – makan angin – which literally means “eating wind”, or metaphorically, chasing the breeze.

How many other Malay-influenced Hokkien words can you think of? Leave us a comment below and we would love to share it in our upcoming podcasts. I’m Eugene from LearnDialect.sg and till 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 – Delicious Cooked Food

Listen to Podcast | Hokkien: How Do You Say – Delicious Cooked Food

Psst… You can find our How Do You Say Podcasts on Spotify too! Head to Spotify – LearnDialect.sg or search for LearnDialect.sg on Spotify.


New Words

EnglishHokkien Our Romanization
Food食的物件
(食物)
Jiak eh ming gia
Delicious好食
(好吃)
Ho jiak
CookZi / Zu

Podcast Transcript | Hokkien: How Do You Say – Delicious Cooked Food

Hello everyone! My name is Eugene and thanks for tuning into our Hokkien – How Do You Say Podcast. In this session, we will be touching on one topic that Singaporeans hold very close to our hearts – food!

While the term “food” is commonly used in English, the same cannot be said in Hokkien within the Singapore context. Instead, we usually refer to food as “things to be eaten” or 食的物件. Specifically, 物件 means “things”. Now, I would suggest for you to keep this in mind, as you’ll soon find that 物件 is a very versatile phrase. In fact, I’ll encourage you to observe how this phrase is commonly used in Hokkien conversations and try to pick up the different ways of application!

So how do we translate “Food is delicious” into Hokkien then? We do so by saying 物件真好食 where 好食 means “delicious” or “yummy”. Of course, if you have a specific food item in your mind, you can simply replace 物件 with the dish name. For example, 福建面真好食 means “Hokkien noodles is delicious”.

Now, I’m a big foodie myself and when I come across a dish that is really yummy, I’ll like to give credits to the person who cooked it, be it the chef or my loved ones. After all, I know that cooking is not easy! Well, for a simple praise, I’ll say 你煮的物件真好食. This means “the food that you cooked is really delicious”. “Cook” can be pronounced as either “Zi” or “Zu” and will be understood by Hokkiens in Singapore.

A quick recap of what we have learnt today:

  • 食的物件, which means “food”;
  • 物件真好食, which means “food is delicious”; and
  • 你煮(zi)的物件真好食 or 你煮(zu)的物件真好食, which means “the food that you cooked is really delicious”.

There you go. Hope these phrases are useful for your next conversation over a good meal! My name is Eugene from LearnDialect.sg and see 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.

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 – Country Names

Listen to Podcast | Hokkien: How Do You Say – Country Names

Psst… You can find our How Do You Say Podcasts on Spotify too! Head to Spotify – LearnDialect.sg or search for LearnDialect.sg on Spotify.


New Words

EnglishHokkien Our Romanization
Singapore新加坡Sin ga po
Malaysia州府Jiu hu
Hong Kong香港Hiang gang
Taiwan台湾Dai wan
China中国 / 唐山Diong gok / Dng sua
Japan日本Lit bun
Australia澳洲Ou jiu
Europe欧洲Au jiu
America美国Bee gok

 


Podcast Transcript | Hokkien: How Do You Say – Country Names

Hi there! Welcome back to our Hokkien – How Do You Say Podcast. My name is Eugene from LearnDialect.sg. As promised, I will be touching on names of various countries in today’s podcast. Here we go! 

To begin, let’s start off with where LearnDialect.sg is based, Singapore. Singapore in Hokkien is pronounced as 新加坡. Next, we have Singapore’s neighbour, Malaysia. Instead of using the Chinese characters of Malaysia’s name and translating it into Hokkien, Singaporean Hokkiens and Teochews typically call Malaysia 州府, as it was a term used under the British colonial rule. 

Now, learning Hokkien is useful for your travels in Taiwan – pronounced as 台湾 – as Taiwanese people speak a variant of Hokkien, otherwise better known as Southern Min language locally. Just a short flight away is Hong Kong or 香港 in Hokkien, which is a country well-known for tax-free shopping and dim sum. 

Hokkien, similar to Teochew and Cantonese, originated from China. China is known as 中国 but you may also hear senior Hokkien speakers still referring to the country as 唐山, literally translated as the “Tang mountain”. This is due to the prominence of the Tang dynasty in Chinese history where Chinese culture is widespread. China, is also regarded as a prosperous country during the Tang dynasty. This is why Chinatowns in countries outside China are often known as 唐人街 in Mandarin, literally translated as “Tang people street”. 

Personally, my favourite country for travel within Asia is Japan or 日本 in Hokkien, as it has a good balance of city life, nature and good food. Looking outside Asia, I would consider travelling to Australia, Europe or America, respectively known as 澳洲, 欧洲 and 美国 in Hokkien. This would allow me to experience and interact with people of a different culture. 

Hope the above list covers a country that you like. If not, please leave a comment and share with me the country that you would like to travel to. 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 “Favourite Country for Travel”

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

Psst… You can find our How Do You Say Podcasts on Spotify too! Head to Spotify – LearnDialect.sg or search for LearnDialect.sg on Spotify.


New Words

EnglishHokkien Our Romanization
Most上(最)Siong
Which one佗一 个
(哪一个)
Doh zit eh
Country国家Gok ga
Play𨑨迌
(玩)
Cit to

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”

Psst… You can find our How Do You Say Podcasts on Spotify too! Head to Spotify – LearnDialect.sg or search for LearnDialect.sg on Spotify.


New Words

EnglishHokkien Our Romanization
School学堂
(学校)
Oh tng
Holidays放假
(假期)
Bang geh
GoJu
Study读册
(读书)
Tak cek
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 Hokkien – 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”

Psst… You can find our How Do You Say Podcasts on Spotify too! Head to Spotify – LearnDialect.sg or search for LearnDialect.sg on Spotify.


New Words

EnglishHokkien Our Romanization
No problem / No questions无问题Bo boon dueh

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

Hi everyone! My name is Eugene and once again, welcome to Hokkien – How Do You Say Podcast 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”

Psst… You can find our How Do You Say Podcasts on Spotify too! Head to Spotify – LearnDialect.sg or search for LearnDialect.sg on Spotify.


New Words

EnglishHokkien Our Romanization
Slower慢慢Ban ban
Faster较紧
(快点)
Ka gin

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”

Psst… You can find our How Do You Say Podcasts on Spotify too! Head to Spotify – LearnDialect.sg or search for LearnDialect.sg on Spotify.


New Words

EnglishHokkien Our Romanization
Understand明白Meng pek
RoadLor
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”

Psst… You can find our How Do You Say Podcasts on Spotify too! Head to Spotify – LearnDialect.sg or search for LearnDialect.sg on Spotify.


New Words

EnglishHokkien Our Romanization
Sorry对唔住
(对不起)
Dui mm zu / Sor li
BuyBueh
Embarrassed / Shy / 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 sa la了. “Sa la” 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; and
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

Psst… You can find our How Do You Say Podcasts on Spotify too! Head to Spotify – LearnDialect.sg or search for LearnDialect.sg on Spotify.


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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