Teochew: How Do You Say “Facebook” or “Instagram”

by | Feb 28, 2019 | Teochew, Teochew - How Do you Say

Listen to Podcast | Teochew: How Do You Say “Facebook” or “Instagram”

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Podcast Transcript | Teochew: How Do You Say “Facebook” or “Instagram”

Hello! Today’s Teochew – How Do You Say Podcast will be a rather interesting one for you, especially if you use Facebook to stay in contact with friends or use Instagram to share insta-worthy pictures. How do you ask in Teochew whether someone has a Facebook or Instagram account? Before we go into that, how do you even say Facebook or Instagram in Teochew? My name is Eugene from and we will be exploring this topic together today!

If I were to approach a senior who only speaks Teochew to ask for his or her Facebook account, I would ask 你有Facebook无? If the person has an account, he or she would reply “有Facebook”, otherwise, the response would be “无Facebook”. Similarly, to ask for his or her Instagram account, I would ask 你有Instagram无?. As you could tell, for everyday Teochew conversations in Singapore, we do not deliberately use Teochew for Facebook or Instagram. I mean, to begin with, they are indeed the names of the social media services and that’s what we are all familiar with, isn’t it? In fact, let me share with you a little tip that works most of the time! For words that are created recently and especially for Western brands or company names, it’s likely that we will simply use the English or Mandarin equivalent.

I want to take this chance to highlight that not all languages evolve in the same manner. As such, translations from English to Teochew are often not as straightforward. In fact, there are many instances where Teochews in Singapore borrow words from other languages. More than often, we use them simply as it is in our everyday Teochew conversations. For example, remember what we talked about in our previous podcasts? We can simply bid farewell by saying “bye“. The same applies to social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. While these are clearly not Teochew words, we borrowed them from another language and used them as it is.

Yet, there are times where, instead of using these borrowed words as it is, Teochews in Singapore adapt them into the local Teochew language. Let me give you an example. Many Teochews in Singapore commonly refer to money as “lui”. However, do you know that this word is probably borrowed and adapted from the Dutch word, “duit“? If you want to say it in Teochew properly, it should be “cee”. But interestingly, you will find that in Singapore, we hardly use this word. Instead, we borrowed “duit” and then adapted it locally as “lui”.

Well, back to the topic… let’s recap a little.

你有Facebook无? means “Do you have Facebook?”

有Facebook means “have Facebook”

无 Facebook means “don’t have Facebook”

Now, this is our 15th podcast. By now, you might have observed that the word – 无 – can be used in both a question and a reply. In Teochew, we typically use 无 at the end of a sentence to indicate a question. Conversely, if you use 无 prior to an action or noun, you are negating that specific action or noun. So “无 Facebook” means “No Facebook”. This is similar to our last podcast where 我无电话 means “I don’t have a phone“.

Right, so how has your Teochew learning journey been? Have you been picking up useful words and phrases from our podcasts? For more fun facts as well as information on our upcoming Teochew classes, do follow us on our Facebook or our Instagram (@learndialect). Thank you for listening in to our Teochew – How Do You Say Podcast. I’m Eugene and see you the next week!

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 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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