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

New Words   
English – Mandarin – Formal Romanization – Ours 
Until/reach – 到 – Gao – Gao 
I’m very tired from work – 我做工做到真累 – Ua zo gang zo gao zing lui – Wa zor gang zor gao jing lui
Sleep – 夗 – ug – oog 
I am going to sleep – 我爱去夗了 – Ua ain ke ug liou – Wa ai ker oog liao 


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

Hi everyone and welcome back to our Teochew – 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 Teochew.

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, “我做工做到真累, 我爱去夗了”. In the first part of the phrase, the word “累” means “tired” and the word “真”, as we have learnt in our previous podcast, means “very”. As such, “我做工做到真累” means “I was at work and worked until very tired”. This is followed by “我爱去夗了” which means “I am going to sleep”. While “累” means “tired” in Teochew, it is not common to hear Teochews in Singapore using this word. Instead, they borrowed the word “Sian” from Hokkien and would express it as “我做工做到真Sian”.

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: 

我做工做到真累, 我爱去夗了 and  

我有工爱做,我先走了 

Well, I hope our Teochew – 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 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.