Hokkien: How Do You Say “Please, May I Ask?”

by | Nov 3, 2018 | Hokkien, Hokkien - How Do You Say

Listen to Podcast | Hokkien: How Do You Say “Please, May I Ask?”

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New Words

EnglishHokkienOur Romanization
Please, may i ask请问Qia mng
Hokkien mee福建面Hokkien mee
How to怎么An zua

Podcast Transcript | Hokkien: How Do You Say “Please, May I Ask?”

Hi everyone, thank you for joining us on Hokkien – How Do You Say Podcast at My name is Eugene and today, we will learn a few helpful phrases that starts with 请问.

请问 means “Please, may I ask”. The first word – 请 – refers to “Please” and 问 refers to “ask”. As such, combining 请 with 问 implies that you have a question to ask politely.

Let me give you a few examples.

If I am asking someone if the bowl of Hokkien Mee is tasty, I would say 请问你, 福建面好食吗?

If I am asking “Please may I ask, how do you say ‘Eat’ in Hokkien?”, I would say 请问你, Eat用福建话怎么讲?

怎么 means “how do you” and 讲 means “say”. Once again – 请问你, Eat用福建话怎么讲?

If I am asking for directions to the MRT, I would say 请问你, MRT怎么行?

Similarly, 怎么 means “how do you” and 行 means “walk”. I’ll repeat – 请问你, MRT怎么行?

If I’m asking, “please, how do I do this?”, it’ll be 请问你, 怎么做? – 做 means “do”.

If I’m asking, “please, how do I use this?”, it’ll be 请问你, 怎么用? – 用 means “use”.

You get the drift now? As you can tell, 请问 is a very versatile and polite way of asking people for help!

Now let’s practise by combining some of these with what we learnt in the previous podcasts.

How would you say the following in Hokkien? There’s some challenge!

“How are you? My name is Eugene. My Hokkien is not good. Can you teach me? Please, how do you say ‘Eat’ in Hokkien?”

Now pause the audio and give it a try. Go on.

So did you get it right?

Here’s how I would say it.

你好, 我的名是Eugene. 我的福建话不好,你可以教我吗? 请问你, Eat用福建话怎么讲?

Awesome, we are making good progress, aren’t we?

Keep practising, as that’s the only way to learn a new dialect.

Don’t forget, if you have specific phrases that you’ll like to learn, please leave us a comment on our Facebook page. We want to know how we can help you!

Thank you for listening in to How Do You Say Podcast on My name is Eugene and see you the next time.

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.

1 Comment

  1. adiwibowo

    Cool… Add the romanization will make it cooler… Love the site… So helpful…


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