Listen to Podcast | Teochew: How Do You Say “What’s Your Phone Number?”

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New Words

EnglishTeochewFormal RomanizationOur Romanization
Phone电话Diêng uêDieng ware
Number号码Ho bhêHor bare
Handphone手机Ciu giCiu gi
Who敲(打)来Ka laiKa lai
Call here觅(找)CuêCware
Find底 [亻㐱](谁)Di diangDi diang

Podcast Transcript | Teochew: How Do You Say “What’s Your Phone Number?”

Hello everybody and welcome back to this week’s Teochew – How Do You Say – Podcast. This is Eugene, from LearnDialect.sg. Imagine having one of the best conversations in your life with someone in Teochew but you have to rush off abruptly. Wouldn’t it be a shame if you didn’t get the person’s contact number to stay in touch? Or, if you are a healthcare professional or social worker, there may be times when you’ll need the phone number of your patients or their next-of-kin. How do you ask someone for their phone number in Teochew then? 

In Teochew, we would say 你个电话号码是底个? Over here, 电话 refers to “telephone”, which if you are interested to know, literally translates into English as “electric words”! I guess this is because in the old days, the core function of the phone is to transmit words electronically. Isn’t it amazing how we piece words together? Now, 号码 means “number”, so by saying 电话号码, it simply means “phone number”. If you would like to be more specific and ask for the person’s handphone number, we would say 你个手机号码是底个? The term – 手机 – literally translates into “hand machine” and has been widely used by Teochews to refer to “handphone”.  

When someone asks you for your phone number and you will like to provide it, you can say 我个电话号码是12345678, 你会得敲来觅我. The 2nd half of the phrase – 你会得敲来觅我 – means “You can call and look for me here”. In addition, if Teochews returned a missed call on their phone and would like to find out who was the caller, they generally would ask 底[亻㐱](谁)敲电话来? Are you still following me? Of course, if you are not willing to provide your number, you can tell them that you don’t have a phone by saying 我无电话. 

If you are reading our transcript while listening to our podcast online, I apologize for the awkward display of the word – 亻㐱 – as it is not a common Mandarin character. In fact, I cannot even find this word using my keyboard and I have no choice but to piece it together. This word, however, is commonly used by Singapore Teochews to mean “who”.

So there we go! I hope these phrases will be useful to you. Let me repeat one more time for you.  

What is your phone number? 你个电话号码是底个?  

What is your mobile number? 你个手机号码是底个? 

Who called me on my phone? 底[亻㐱](谁)敲电话来? 

My number is… 我个电话号码是… 

You can call and look for me. 你会得敲来觅我. 

I don’t have a phone. 我无电话. 

Well, hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s Teochew – How Do You Say Podcast. My name is Eugene and see you the next week!


Our Philosophy for Learning Teochew in Singapore

While we include formal romanization for Teochew words, we are advocates of easy learning. Hence we encourage you to form your own phonics so that you make an association with these Teochew words quickly. To illustrate, the formal romanization of “Teochew” is “diê ziu“. However, in our “Can You Teach Me” podcast transcript, you’ll find that we use “teo chew”, which we think relates to us better. That said, you may use other romanization (e.g “dio chew”, “dio jiu“, etc), as long as it helps you to make sense of what you hear.