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Special: A Short Story in Singapore Teochew – My Uncle

Listen to Podcast | Special: A Short Story in Singapore Teochew – My Uncle

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 | Special: A Short Story in Singapore Teochew – My Uncle

Hello everyone! My name is Eugene and thanks for tuning into our Teochew – How Do You Say Podcast. For today’s podcast, we have a very special guest, Mr. Nigel Lim, 林仰忠老师. Some of you may be familiar with him, as apart from his experience as a radio DJ at Rediffusion and Capital 95.8FM, Mr. Nigel Lim has also performed in numerous television dramas in Singapore. For those who have attended our Teochew workshop before, you would also know that he teaches Teochew in Mandarin and is always very passionate to share about the Teochew language and culture! He is going to share with us a short story in our unique Singapore Teochew. We can’t wait, so let’s hear it now!


[本地潮州话版] 我的伯父

诐到我许个阿伯,真实是贰拉甲,在唐山来到石叻,就隆邦在阮大人的吉埃,食到乌笼大,还真舒甲佮人尖卟,峇鲁来无偌久,就佮一个娘惹交寅。大比交寅后,一日到暗长起咬罗,杂到阮大人勿会打汉,只好叫伊两个去找罗帮。

无偌久,伊人找到惹兰勿杀对面的巴刹里,就在许块开店北,后来唔知买着甚乜沙拉货,公班爷就发乞伊人一张三万。大比伊人全无拍流离,结局马打、大狗、暗牌佮清丁,拢来查,两个沙妈干拿着打汉,了还洛着马索罗甲,最后还着蜜早拉,蜜早拉输,两个沙妈着乌贡,因为无镭还,最后就面达阮大人替伊人担公。


Well, thank you, Mr. Lim! Wow, aren’t you captivated by his storytelling? How much of the story did you understand?

Here’s how it would have sounded in English, loosely tranlsated.

A Short Story in Singapore Teochew – My Uncle

If I must tell you about my uncle, I must say that he is really very unlucky. He came to Singapore from China, lived and worked as a helper in my father’s shop. Even though he is quite old, he still likes to socialize with others. As soon as he came to Singapore, he married the local native Chinese woman. And after they got married, they quarreled all day long. My father couldn’t stand the noise, so he asked them to look for work outside.

Soon, they found a place in the market opposite Jalan Besar road and opened a stall there. One day, the government issued a subpoena to them. Frankly, I don’t know what illegal goods they had bought, but I knew that my uncle ignored the subpoena. As a result, the police, inspector, the plainclothes detective and the customs officer came to check. In addition to being detained, they were also charged in court. When they lost the case, they were fined by the government. However, they had no money to pay for the fine. As such, my father had to be their guarantor.


[普通话版] 我的伯父

说到我那伯父,他可真是倒霉。他从中国来到新加坡,就在我父亲的店铺里寄宿兼当一个帮工。虽然年纪不轻了,还是喜欢与人交际来往。他刚来新加坡不久,就同以为土生华族女子结婚。可他们结婚后,一天到晚老吵架。吵得我父亲受不了,只好请他们两人到外头找活儿。

不久,他们在惹兰勿杀路对面的市场里找到一个地方,就在那儿开个小摊档。后来不知买了什么非法货物,政府就发了一张传票给他们,但他们不理睬。结果警察、警察长、便衣警探和关税人员都来检查。他们除了被扣留关押,最后还被控上法庭。打官司输了,两人被罚款。因为没钱还,最后还得求我父亲给他们做担保。


If you need the English or Mandarin Transcript, you can always find it on our website, LearnDialect.sg. Personally, I think the story is so much more fascinating when it is narrated in Teochew. Don’t you agree?

Now, did you notice that we used loanwords, that is – words borrowed from English or Malay or other languages – as well as local slangs in the story? To list a few of them, they are:

EnglishTeochewFormal RomanizationOur Romanization
Marry交寅(结婚)Gao yin
(Malay)
Police马打(警察)Ma ta
(Malay)
Subpoena传票 (三万)Summons
(English)
Inspector警察长(大狗)(Local slang)
Plainclothes detective便衣警探 (暗牌)(Local slang)

Loanwords and slangs are partially why the Teochew language is unique in Singapore. It has a fair share of influences from the English, Malay and other languages too. Did you spot other loanwords being used? Or are you aware of other loanwords and slangs that are commonly used? If so, do share with us in the comments section below!

Once again, thank you, Mr. Nigel Lim, for sharing with us such a lovely story. My name is Eugene from LearnDialect.sg and thank you for listening in to our Teochew – How Do You Say Podcast. See you the next time!


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. 

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Teochew: How Do You Say – Delicious Cooked Food

Listen to Podcast | Teochew: 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

EnglishTeochewFormal RomanizationOur Romanization
Food食的物件
(食物)
Ziah gai muêh gianJiak gai mueg gia
Delicious好食
(好吃)
Ho ziahHor jiak
CookZeZir

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

Hello everyone! My name is Eugene and thanks for tuning into our Teochew – 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” can be translated into Teochew as 食物, it is rather uncommon to use it when speaking Teochew in Singapore. Instead, we usually refer to food as “things to be eaten” or 食个物件. 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 Teochew conversations and try to pick up the different ways of application!

So how do we translate “Food is delicious” into Teochew 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, 鱼圆面真好食 means “Fishball 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 phrase, I’ll say 你煮个物件真好食. This means “the food that you cooked is really delicious”.

A quick recap of what we have learnt today:

  • 食个物件, which means “food”;
  • 物件真好食, which means “food is delicious”; and
  • 你煮个物件真好食, which means “the food that you cooked is really delicious”.

So 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 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. 

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Teochew: How Do You Say – Country Names

Listen to Podcast | Teochew: 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

EnglishTeochewFormal RomanizationOur Romanization
Singapore新加坡Sing gia boSing gia por
Malaysia州府Ziu huJiu hu
Hong Kong香港Hiang gangHiang gang
Taiwan台湾Tai uangTai wang
China中国 / 唐山Dong gog / Deng suanDong gok / Dng swa
Japan日本Rig bungZig pung
Australia澳洲O ziuOr jiu
Europe欧洲Ao ziuAo jiu
America美国Mui gogMui gok

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

Hi there! Welcome back to our Teochew – 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 Teochew 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 Teochew, Singaporean Teochews and Hokkiens typically call Malaysia 州府 as it was a term used under the British colonial rule.

Further up north is Hong Kong or 香港 in Teochew, which is a country well known for tax-free shopping and dim sum. Just a short flight away is Taiwan – pronounced as 台湾 – where people speak Hokkien, otherwise known as Southern Min language locally. The Southern Min language is in fact where Teochew was derived, but Teochew and Southern Min language have since become different languages after so many years of evolution and changes. 

Teochew, similar to Hokkien and Cantonese, originated from China. China is known as 中国 but you may also hear senior Teochew 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 Teochew, 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 Teochew. 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 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. 

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

Listen to Podcast | Teochew: 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

EnglishTeochewFormal RomanizationOur Romanization
Most上(最)SiangSiang
Country国家Gog gêGok gare
Play𨑨迌(玩)Tig toTig tor

Podcast Transcript | Teochew: 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 Teochew – 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”;  

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 你最舒合去底个国家𨑨迌? This translates literally into “You most like go which 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 Teochew!  

Apart from 舒合 which Singapore Teochews borrow from the Malay language, did you also know that 𨑨迌 is a term unique to Min language speakers, including Teochews and Hokkiens? If you are keen to learn more about the unique language features of Teochew, let me sidetrack a little and shamelessly throw in an ad here… do join us on our Teochew Classes 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 Teochew will be 你最舒合去底个国家𨑨迌?  

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 be having lots of fun travelling to a country that you like, isn’t it? 

So I really want to know, 你最舒合去底个国家𨑨迌? Please share with me in the comments. In our next podcast, I will teach you the names of some countries in Teochew. My name is Eugene from LearnDialect.sg 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. 

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Teochew: How Do You Say “School Holidays”

Listen to Podcast | Teochew: 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

EnglishTeochewFormal RomanizationOur Romanization
School书斋
(学校)
Ze zêZir zare
Holidays放假
(假期)
Bang gêBang gare
GoKeKir
Study读书Tag zeTak zir
Play耍(玩)SengSng

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 LearnDialect.sg and in today’s Teochew – 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 LearnDialect.sg 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. 

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Teochew: How Do You Say “No Problem”

Listen to Podcast | Teochew: 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

EnglishTeochewFormal RomanizationOur Romanization
No problem / No questions无问题Bho mung doiBor bung doi

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

Hi everyone! My name is Eugene and once again, welcome to Teochew – How Do You Say Podcast on LearnDialect.sg. In today’s podcast, we will be covering a useful Teochew phrase for daily conversations that has dual meaning. This Teochew 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 question”. 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 fishball noodles, but yet you are totally fine with it, this is how our conversation would sound like,  

I’ll say 对唔住,我无买你要食个鱼圆面.

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 saying 有问题无? This translates into “Any questions?” If yes, you can respond by simply saying 有. However, if you have no further question, you will say 无问题.  

So how? 有问题无? I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s Teochew – 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 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. 

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Teen actor, Ivan Lo, on learning dialects: Never be afraid!

Celebrity Interview with Ivan Lo, 卢楷浚

Barely 16 years old, Ivan Lo is already a familiar face in Singapore’s entertainment scene. Ivan has starred in many television dramas (Mind Matters, Playground, etc) and several movies, including Jack Neo’s, We Not Naughty. One of his latest show is the popular dialect drama, Ho Seh Bo. With the younger generation speaking less of dialects in Singapore, we asked Ivan for his secrets to pick up dialects quickly.

LearnDialect.sg: Can you tell us more about your dialect background? Do you speak dialect frequently at home or with your peers?

Ivan Lo: My father’s a Cantonese and my mother’s a Teochew. In my household, we usually speak in Chinese and English but, from time to time, we will mix in a bit of Cantonese, Hokkien and Teochew in our daily conversations.

How did you feel when you first knew that you will be acting in the dialect drama, Ho Seh Bo, as Dai Zhengxiong?

At first, I was a bit worried as I thought I would need to converse entirely in dialect. However, I was also very elated to know I would be acting in this show as it would be mostly in dialects. The show has an interesting concept as it connects with the older generations.

In Ho Seh Bo, you acted alongside Chen Li Ping who speaks mainly in Teochew and Zhu Houren who speaks mainly in Hokkien. Did these different languages pose as an additional challenge for you when preparing for your role? How did you overcome it?

Luckily for me, I didn’t have to speak full sentences in either Teochew or Hokkien in the show. As such, speaking wasn’t the main problem. The main problem, I guess, was not being able to fully understand what they were saying. This resulted in me not knowing when it was my turn to speak. I overcame this by trying my best to remember what the end of each sentence sounded like, so that I would be able to continue with my lines.

How do you feel about learning dialect? Was it easy for you to pick it up? Are there any interesting or funny stories that you can share when you were learning dialect?

For me, it wasn’t that difficult to learn to speak in dialect as my father and my aunt would sometimes converse in their dialect. Throughout the duration of filming the show, I was able to better understand Hokkien and Teochew. I don’t really think I have many funny stories when I was learning dialect. The only thing that comes to mind is that my pronunciation is very off and my Hokkien and Teochew mixes up very easily.

Can you leave some words of encouragement for young people like yourself to pick up their dialect?  

All I can say is that you really have to pay attention when someone speaks in dialect. Try to converse in dialect with someone whom you know can speak really well in dialect. Never be afraid that your pronunciation is wrong. Basically it’s just practice and you’ll eventually get better and better.

Image Credits: Ivan Lo’s Instagram and Facebook

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

Listen to Podcast | Teochew: 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 

EnglishTeochewFormal RomanizationOur Romanization
Slower慢慢Mang mangMang mang
Faster猛猛
(快点)
Mên mênMare mare

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

Hello everyone, welcome back to our Teochew – How Do You Say Podcast on LearnDialect.sg. If you have been listening to our podcast, 你有学着底个无? 有底个爱我呾加一次无? 你明白我呾底个无? Was I speaking too fast or too slow for your liking? How do you ask someone to talk slower or faster in Teochew then? My name is Eugene and let’s find out how to do that today! 

Teochew people use the word 慢 to mean “slow”. Hence, to emphasize the need to slow down, you can repeat the word twice. For example, 慢慢呾 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, Teochews use the words 猛猛. As such 猛猛呾 means to speak faster, 猛猛行 means to walk faster and 猛猛食 means to eat faster. 

Now, here’s a fun fact for you. Did you know that while Teochews, Hokkiens 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 Hokkiens and Cantonese people in Singapore express “faster”, do check out our Hokkien and Cantonese podcasts too!

So in today’s podcast, we have learnt 慢 means slow, 猛 means fast while 慢慢 means slower and 猛猛 means faster. Try using and practising these words in your daily Teochew conversations. My name is Eugene from LearnDialect.sg and look forward to seeing you 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. 

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Teochew: How Do You Say “Understand”

Listen to Podcast | Teochew: 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

EnglishTeochewFormal RomanizationOur Romanization
Understand明白Mêng bêhMeng pek
RoadLouLo
Understand
(Singlish)
听有路Tian u louTia wu lo

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

Hello everyone, welcome to our Teochew – 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 Teochew 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 Teochew, 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 𠀾明白. 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.  

To sum up, the Teochew 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 Teochew. 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 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. 

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Teochew: How Do You Say “Sorry”

Listen to Podcast | Teochew: 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

EnglishTeochewFormal RomanizationOur Romanization
Sorry对唔住
(对不起)
Dui m zuDui mm zu
BuyBhoiBhoi
Embarrassed / Shy / Excuse me孬意思
(不好意思)
Mo i seMor yi seir

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

Hi there! My name is Eugene and welcome to our Teochew – 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 Teochew, we express sorry as 对唔住. For example, 对唔住, 我无买你要食个鱼圆面, which translates into “Sorry, I did not buy the fishball 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 孬意思 to express your apology. For example, 孬意思,我无Facebook. By saying 孬意思, you convey a sense of embarrassment or shyness too. 

However, younger generation Teochews in Singapore seldom use 孬意思 but will instead borrow a widely-used phrase 歹势 from the Hokkiens. In fact, even the pronunciation is followed closely. Hokkiens pronounce it as “paiseh” while Teochews pronounce it as “paisare”. As such, to admit that I’m wrong, I would say 歹势, 我 salah了. “Salah” is also a loan word from Malay that Teochews often use to represent being wrong. 

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 Teochews in Singapore have adapted the usage of “Sorry” and pronounce it as “Sor-li” so you can say “Sor-li, 我无买你要食个鱼圆面”. 

Did you notice that the multi-cultural aspect of Singapore makes learning Teochew easier, as we can borrow words from other languages? Once again, apologies are expressed by Teochew people via:

对唔住 

孬意思 

歹势 and

Sor-li 

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

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