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

New Words   
English – Mandarin – Formal Romanization – Ours 
School – 书斋(学校) – ze zê – zih zare
Holidays – 放假(假期) – Bang gê – Pang gare
Go – 去 – Ke – Kir
Study – 读书 – Tag ze – Targ zih
Play – 耍(玩) – Seng – Sng 

Podcast Transcript | Teochew: 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 and in today’s How Do You Say podcast, we will be learning how to say a few school-holiday related phrases in Teochew. 

Well, growing up, my dad speaks Teochew to me. I recalled that whenever it came to the school holidays and if he happened to be at home, I would have to ask him for permission to play with my neighbour, Aaron. Here’s what it would sound like in Teochew. “书斋放假免去读书,我可以佮Aaron去耍无?”.  

Let me break it down for you.  

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

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

Thus, putting them together, the first half of the phrase becomes, “书斋放假免去读书”. 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 again – “书斋放假免去读书,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! 

Now, suppose I would like to ask for Dad’s permission to head out and have a meal with Aaron instead. Do you know how to say that in Teochew? 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, “书斋放假免去读书,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: 

  • “书斋放假” means “school holidays”;  
  • “读书” means “studies”; and, 
  • “耍” means to “play”. 

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

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.