Hokkien: Common Words and Useful Phrases

by | Mar 28, 2019 | Hokkien, Hokkien - How Do You Say

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 – or search for on Spotify.

Podcast Transcript | Hokkien: Common Words and Useful Phrases

Hello everybody! This is Eugene from 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!

Love what you are reading? We’ve got lots more to share during our Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese express workshops. Join us to pick up words and phrases for everyday use in Singapore. More importantly, you can help to keep these languages alive!

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, 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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