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Taiwanese Hokkien phrasebook

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Taiwanese Hokkien phrasebook

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Taiwanese Hokkien is the Hokkien dialect of Min Nan as spoken by about 70 percent of the population of Taiwan. Other language variants/dialects are spoken in Taiwan as well.

Pronunciation guide[edit]

Vowels[edit]

Consonants[edit]

Common diphthongs[edit]

Phrase list[edit]

Phoneticization[edit]

The following uses romanization based on Universal Phonetics. It's called Peh-oe-ji (POJ) in Taiwan. The online Taiwanese/English dictionary by Maryknoll shows a standardized spelling of vocabulary. You can look up most words. The first romanization of languages in Taiwan occurred in the late 1500's by the Portuguese who called Taiwan "Ilha Formosa". Later the Dutch, Spanish, French, and English continued romanizing the languages spoken on Taiwan. POJ was developed by western missionaries in Southeast Asia during the 1800's. POJ became widespread in Taiwan in the mid-20th century and there were over 100,000 people literate in POJ. A large amount of printed material has been produced in the script, including Taiwan's first newspaper, the Taiwan Church News. There is also the POJ Bible, hymn books, poetry, readers, and novels. English speakers should keep in mind that the vowels in POJ are pronounced as they would be in Spanish or French. A=ahhh sound. E= long a sound. I= long e sound. O= long o sound. U= oo sound. Learning to read Taiwanese using POJ is beneficial because it has the most literature. Depending on English phonetics will slow the process of learning Taiwanese.

The Taiwanese language has 8 tones, and the intonation of words does matter but you can also derive the meaning of words through context. Don't worry about tones. (Tones, accents, and inflection are also in the English language.) Through practice and copying native Taiwanese speakers, the desired tone eventually arrives. It's about training the ear. Then the mouth will follow.

I'm sorry to change all of the previous spelling of words on this page. It took someone a lot of work. But as a Taiwanese American who writes and reads in Taiwanese, I have to say that using a standardized spelling like POJ is the way to go. But allow for some changes because language changes over time.

In 2006, the Taiwan Government did some updating of POJ. It's more English friendly, so that:

j can be used in place of POJ ch
ts in place of POJ chh
b in place of POJ p
p in place of POJ ph
d in place of POJ t
t in place of POJ th
remember that the s makes the sh sound in Taiwanese

Example: Even though the Maryknoll POJ dictionary spells the number one as chit, we can now spell it as jit because it has the j sound. Chhap (ten) can be spelled tsap because it has the ts sound. Pit (pen) can be spelled bit because it makes the b sound. Phi (nose) can be spelled pi because of the p sound. Tam (wet) can be spelled dam because it makes the d sound. Thi (sky) can be spelled ti because it makes the t sound.

The spelling I provided below reflect the government updates of 2006. If I missed a word and left it as chhap, then know that this word begins with the ts sound. Chhap and Tsap are the same. Thanks and have fun learning Taiwanese.


Basics[edit]

Common signs

OPEN 
CLOSED 
ENTRANCE 
EXIT 
PUSH 
PULL 
TOILET 
MEN 
WOMEN 
FORBIDDEN 


Hello. 
你好. (* Lee ho — literally, "you good?")
Hello. (informal) 食飽未?
chiah8 pa2--boe. (')
How are you? 
 ? (你好無* Lee ho bwoh; OR 食飽未 Jiah bah bey — literally, "eat full?")
Fine, thank you. 好,多謝。(informal
. (Ho, doh shiah)
Fine, thank you. 好,感謝。(formal
. (Ho, gam shiah)
Not bad. 
. (Bue bai)
What is your name? 
 ? (* Li-e mia si sa?)
My name is ______ . 
______ . (Wa-e mia si _____ .)
Nice to meet you. 
. (Jin ho tang dudio li. )
Please. 
. (Baitok)
Thank you. 
. 感謝( Gam-sia or Do-sia)
You're welcome. / That's OK. 
. (Mian keki)
Yes. 
. (Si)
No. 
. (M-si)
Excuse me. (getting attention
. ( )
Excuse me. (begging pardon
. (Pai se)
I'm sorry. (informal
. (Pai se)
I'm sorry. (formal
. (* Si-de)
Goodbye 
再見. (Jaigen)
Goodbye (informal
. ( )
I can't speak Taiwanese. 
[ ]. (Wa bue hiau gong Daigi)
Do you speak English? 
 ? (* Li e-hiau gong Engi bo?)
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
 ? (Chia(nasal) mng, jia u lan ehiau gong Engi bo?)
Help! 
 ! ( Giu mia)
Look out! or Careful!
(Sio sim!)
Good morning. 
. (Tsau )
Good evening. 
. ( )
Good night. 
. ( )
Good night (to sleep
. (Ho ho kun )
I don't understand. 
. (Wa tia(nasal) bo)
Where is the toilet? 
 ? (Benso di-due)

Problems[edit]

Go away! 
. (Tsau!)
Don't touch me! 
 ! (Mai ga wa mo!)
I'll call the police. (informal
. (Wa-e kah geng-tsat.)
I'll call the police. (formal
. (Wa-e kah ho geng-tsat.)
Police! 
 ! (Geng tsat!)
Stop! 
 ! ! (Teng!)
I need your help. 
. (Wa su-yiau li-e bang-mang)
It's an emergency. 
. (Jit jo gui-hiam)
I'm lost. 
. (Wa pa bo.)
I lost my bag. 
. (W pa bo peibao.)
I lost my purse/wallet. 
. (Wa pabo wa-e peibao)
I'm sick. 
. (Wa puabih or Wah gangkoh)
I've been injured. 
. (Wah dui song)
I need a doctor. 
. (Wa su-iau isin)
Can I use your phone? 
 ? (Wa e-sai yong li-e dianwei?)

Numbers[edit]

(jit)
(nng)
(sa)
(si)
(go)
(lak)
(chit)
(bue)
(gau)
10 
(tsap)
11 
(tsap-it)
12 
(tsap-li)
13 
(tsap-sa)
14 
(tsap-si)
15 
(tsap-go)
16 
(tsap-lak)
17 
(tsap-chit)
18 
(tsap-bue)
19 
(tsap-gau)
20 
(li-tsap)
21 
(li-tsap-it)
22 
(li-tsap-li)
23 
(li-tsap-sa)
30 
(sa-tsap)
40 
(si-tsap)
50 
(go-tsap)
60 
(lak-tsap)
70 
(chit-tsap)
80 
(bue-tsap)
90 
(gau-tsap)
100 
(jit-ba)
200 
(nng-ba)
300 
(sa-ba)
1,000 
(jit-cheng)
2,000 
(nng-cheng)
10,000 
(jit-man)
100,000 
(tsap-man)
1,000,000 
(jit-ba-man)
1,000,000,000 
(jit-cheng-man)
1,000,000,000,000 
( )
number _____ (train, bus, etc.) 
( )
half 
(* jit boa(nasal))
less 
(kah jio)
more 
(kah je)

Time[edit]

now 
(jim-a or jitjun)
later 
(kadan-e or sio dan)
before 
(i-jun)
morning 
(tao tsa or jai-si)
afternoon 
(e-bo)
evening 
(e-am or amsi)
night 
(amsi)
Clock time[edit]
one o'clock AM 
(tao tsa jit diam)
two o'clock AM 
(tao tsa nng diam)
noon 
(diong dau)
one o'clock PM 
(e-bo jit diam)
two o'clock PM 
(e-bo nng diam")
Duration[edit]
_____ minute(s) 
(hun)
_____ hour(s) 
(diam jun)
_____ day(s) 
(* jit)
_____ week(s) 
(* le bai)
_____ month(s) 
(goeh-jit)
_____ year(s) 
(ni)
Days[edit]
today 
(ginna jit)
yesterday 
(ja-hngg)
tomorrow 
(mia tsai)
this week 
(jit le bai)
last week 
(deng le bai)
next week 
(au le bai)
Sunday 
(* le-bai)
Monday 
(bai-jit)
Tuesday 
(bai-li')
Wednesday 
(bai-sa)
Thursday 
(bai-si)
Friday 
(bai-go)
Saturday 
(bai-lak)
Months[edit]
January 
(Jit goeh' — sounds like "what" but with "d" sound not "t")
February 
(Li-goeh)
March 
(Sa-goeh)
April 
(Si goeh)
May 
(Go goeh)
June 
(Lak goeh)
July 
(Chit goeh)
August 
(Bue goeh)
September 
(Gau goah)
October 
(Tsap goeh)
November 
(Tsap-it goeh)
December 
(Tsap-li goeh)
Writing time and date[edit]

If it is am just add "jai-si" for morning. If it is pm, add "am-si" for evening or "e-dau" for afternoon. 6:30 am : "Lak diam: sa-tsap hun, jai-si" 6:30 pm : "Lak diam: sa-tsap hun, am-si" 1 pm : "Jit diam e-dau"

Colors[edit]

black 
(o sek)
white 
(beh sek)
gray 
(hoe sek — literally "ash color")
red 
(ang sek)
blue 
(na sek)
yellow 
(ng sek)
green 
(che sek)
orange 
(gama sek)
purple 
(gio sek — literally "eggplant color")
brown 
(to sek or jan sek — literally "dirt color")

Transportation[edit]

More transport vocabulary

Ticket. 
(pio)
One ticket. 
(jit pio)
How much is one ticket? 
(Jit pio si gui ko? — literally "one ticket is how many dollars?")
Bus. 
(basuh or gong chia)
Train. 
(hoe chia)
Where does this bus go? 
(Jit e basu ki dowi?)
Does this train go to _____? 
(Jit e hoe chia gam u ki _____?)
What time does this train leave? 
(Jit e hoe chia gui diam tsut-hoat?)
What time will this bus arrive? 
(Jit e basuh gui dian e gau-ui)
Please stop! 
(Baitok, teng!)


Bus and train[edit]
How much is a ticket to _____? 
(Jit pio gui ko? )
One ticket to _____, please. 
(Jit pio ki _____ , baitok.)
Where does this train/bus go? 
(Jit e basuh si ki dowi? )
Where is the train/bus to _____? 
(Dowi si basuh tan ki _____?)
Does this train/bus stop in _____? 
(Jit e basu u teng e ____? )
When does the train/bus for _____ leave? 
(Basuh ki _______e gui diam tsut-hoat? )_
When will this train/bus arrive in _____? 
(Jit e basu e gui diam gau-ui? )
Directions[edit]
How do I get to _____ ? 
(An-joa ki _____ ?)
...the train station? 
(Hoe chia dowi?)
...the bus station? 
(gong chia jam dowi?)
...the airport? 
(hui-gi deng dowi?)
...downtown? 
(chi diong shim? or ke-a)
...the youth hostel? 
( )
...the hotel? 
(* li-goan?)
...the restaurant? 
(bng-diam?)
...the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate? 
( )
Where are there a lot of... 
(Dowi u jin jue...)
...hotels? 
( )
...restaurants? 
( )
...bars? 
( )
...sites to see? 
( )
Do you have a map? 
(LI gam u dedoh?)
Can you show me on the map? 
( )
street 
(* lo)
Turn left. 
(do oat)
Turn right. 
(jia (nasal) oat)
left 
(do)
right 
(jia (nasal))
straight ahead 
(dit dit ki or dit dit gia (nasal))
towards the _____ 
( )
past the _____ 
( )
before the _____ 
( )
Watch for the _____. 
( )
intersection 
( )
north 
( )
south 
( )
east 
( )
west 
( )
uphill 
( )
downhill 
( )
Taxi[edit]
Taxi! 
(ge dian chia!)
Take me to _____, please. 
(Tsai wa ki _____)
How much does it cost to get to _____? 
(Be ki _____ gui ko?)
Take me there, please. 
( )

Lodging[edit]

Do you have any rooms available? 
(U bang gin bo?)
How much for one room? 
(Jit gin wa tsue ji?)
Does the room come with... 
(Ga u..)
...bedsheets? 
( )
...a bathroom? 
(beng-so?)
...a telephone? 
(dian wei?)
...a TV? 
(dian si?)
May I see the room first? 
(E dan sin kua?)
Do you have anything... 
(U ka...)
...bigger? 
(dua-e)
...cleaner? 
(chin-ki -e )
...cheaper? 
(shok-e)
OK, I'll take it. 
( )
I will stay for _____ night(s). 
(Ho, wa kun ____ ahm.)
Can you suggest another hotel? 
(U bat-e li-goan?)
Do you have a safe? 
( )
...lockers? 
( )
Is breakfast/supper included? 
( )
What time is breakfast/supper? 
(Tsa-dng gui diam?)
Please clean my room. 
(Bai tok kin wa-e bang-gin)
Can you wake me at _____? 
(_____ ga wa gio kiai, ho bo?)
I want to check out. 
( )

Money[edit]

Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars? 
( )
Do you accept British pounds? 
( )
Do you accept Euros? 
( )
Do you accept credit cards? 
( )
Can you change money for me? 
( )
Where can I get money changed? 
(Dowi e dan wa (nasal) ji?)
Can you change a traveler's check for me? 
( )
Where can I get a traveler's check changed? 
( )
What is the exchange rate? 
( )
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)? 
( )

Eating[edit]

A table for one person/two people, please. 
( )
Can I look at the menu, please? 
( )
Can I look in the kitchen? 
( )
Is there a house specialty? 
( )
Is there a local specialty? 
( )
I'm a vegetarian. 
( )
I don't eat pork. 
(wa bo jia di-ba )
I don't eat beef. 
(wa bo jia gu-ba')
I only eat kosher food. 
( )
Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard
( )
fixed-price meal 
( )
a la carte 
( )
breakfast 
(tsa deng)
lunch 
(diong-deng)
tea (meal
( )
supper 
(am-deng)
I want _____. 
(Wa be _____)
I want a dish containing _____. 
( )
chicken 
(gay-mbah)
beef 
(goo-mbah)
fish 
(hee-ah)
ham 
( )
sausage 
( )
cheese 
( )
eggs 
(nun)
salad 
( )
vegetables 
(tsai)
fruit 
(jui-go or geji)
bread 
(pang)
toast 
(pang )
noodles 
(mi)
rice 
(bng)
beans 
( )
May I have a glass of _____? 
( )
May I have a cup of _____? 
( )
May I have a bottle of _____? 
( )
coffee 
(ga-bi)
tea (drink
(de')
juice 
( )
(bubbly) water 
( )
(still) water 
( )
beer 
(beh-a-jiu or biru (phonetic))
red/white wine 
( jiu)
May I have some _____? 
( )
salt 
(giam)
pepper 
(hiam)
butter 
( )
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server)
( )
I'm finished. 
(sua)
It was delicious. 
(ho jia)
Please clear the plates. 
( )
The check, please. 
( )

Bars[edit]

Do you serve alcohol? 
( )
Is there table service? 
( )
A beer/two beers, please. 
( )
A glass of red/white wine, please. 
( )
A pint, please. 
( )
A bottle, please. 
( )
_____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer), please. 
( )
whiskey 
( )
vodka 
( )
rum 
( )
water 
(Zui )
club soda 
( )
tonic water 
( )
orange juice 
( )
Coke (soda
( )
Do you have any bar snacks? 
( )
One more, please. 
( )
Another round, please. 
( )
When is closing time? 
( )
Cheers! 
(Gam-Bei )

Shopping[edit]

Do you have this in my size? 
( )
How much is this? 
(Gui ko or Wa tsue ji?)
That's too expensive. 
(Su (nasal) gui)
Would you take _____? 
( )
expensive 
( )
cheap 
( )
I can't afford it. 
( )
I don't want it. 
(Buai)
You're cheating me. 
( )
I'm not interested. 
(..)
OK, I'll take it. 
( )
Can I have a bag? 
( )
Do you ship (overseas)? 
( )
I need... 
(Wa su-iau...)
...toothpaste. 
( )
...a toothbrush. 
(ki-bin)
...tampons. 
. ( )
...soap. 
(de ko )
...shampoo. 
(se tau-mng — literally "wash hair")
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen
( )
...cold medicine. 
( )
...stomach medicine. 
... ( )
...a razor. 
( )
...an umbrella. 
( )
...sunblock lotion. 
( )
...a postcard. 
( )
...postage stamps. 
( )
...batteries. 
( )
...paper. 
(joa)
...a pen. 
(bit)
...books. 
(ju)
...English-language books. 
( )
...English-language magazines. 
( )
...an English-language newspaper. 
(Eng-gi bo-joa)
...an English-English dictionary. 
(Eng-gi ji-dian )

Driving[edit]

I want to rent a car. 
( )
Can I get insurance? 
( )
stop (on a street sign
( )
one way 
( )
yield 
( )
no parking 
( )
speed limit 
( )
gas (petrol) station 
( )
petrol 
( )
diesel 
( )

Authority[edit]

I'm sorry. 
("Sit-e)
I haven't done anything wrong. 
( )
It was a misunderstanding. 
( )
Where are you taking me? 
( )
Am I under arrest? 
( )
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen. 
( )
I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy/consulate. 
( )
I want to talk to a lawyer. 
( )
Can I just pay a fine now? 
( )

Peh-oē-jī phonetization[edit]

Basics[edit]

Common signs

OPEN 
CLOSED 
ENTRANCE 
EXIT 
PUSH 
PULL 
TOILET 
MEN 
WOMEN 
FORBIDDEN 


Hello. 
. ( )
Hello. (informal
. ( )
How are you? 
 ? ( ?)
Fine, thank you. 
. ( )
What is your name? 
 ? ( ?)
My name is ______ . 
______ . ( _____ .)
Nice to meet you. 
. ( )
Please. 
. ( )
Thank you. 
. ( )
You're welcome. 
. ( )
Yes. 
. ( )
No. 
. ( )
Excuse me. (getting attention
. ( )
Excuse me. (begging pardon
. ( )
I'm sorry. 
. ( )
Goodbye 
. ( )
Goodbye (informal
. ( )
I can't speak Taiwanese Hokkien [well]. 
[ ]. ( [ ])
Do you speak English? 
 ? ( ?)
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
 ? ( ?)
Help! 
 ! ( !)
Look out! 
 ! ( !)
Good morning. 
. ( )
Good evening. 
. ( )
Good night. 
. ( )
Good night (to sleep
. ( )
I don't understand. 
. ( )
Where is the toilet? 
 ? ( ?)

Problems[edit]

Leave me alone. 
. ( .)
Don't touch me! 
 ! ( !)
I'll call the police. 
. ( .)
Police! 
 ! ( !)
Stop! Thief! 
 ! ! ( ! !)
I need your help. 
. ( .)
It's an emergency. 
. ( .)
I'm lost. 
. ( .)
I lost my bag. 
. ( .)
I lost my wallet. 
. ( .)
I'm sick. 
. ( .)
I've been injured. 
. ( .)
I need a doctor. 
. ( .)
Can I use your phone? 
 ? ( ?)

Numbers[edit]

( )
( )
( )
( )
( )
( )
( )
( )
( )
10 
( )
11 
( )
12 
( )
13 
( )
14 
( )
15 
( )
16 
( )
17 
( )
18 
( )
19 
( )
20 
( )
21 
( )
22 
( )
23 
( )
30 
( )
40 
( )
50 
( )
60 
( )
70 
( )
80 
( )
90 
( )
100 
( )
200 
( )
300 
( )
1,000 
( )
2,000 
( )
1,000,000 
( )
1,000,000,000 
( )
1,000,000,000,000 
( )
number _____ (train, bus, etc.) 
( )
half 
( )
less 
( )
more 
( )

Time[edit]

now 
( )
later 
( )
before 
( )
morning 
( )
afternoon 
( )
evening 
( )
night 
( )
Clock time[edit]
one o'clock AM 
( )
two o'clock AM 
( )
noon 
( )
one o'clock PM 
( )
two o'clock PM 
( )
midnight 
( )
Duration[edit]
_____ minute(s) 
( )
_____ hour(s) 
( )
_____ day(s) 
( )
_____ week(s) 
( )
_____ month(s) 
( )
_____ year(s) 
( )
Days[edit]
today 
( )
yesterday 
( )
tomorrow 
( )
this week 
( )
last week 
( )
next week 
( )
Sunday 
( )
Monday 
( )
Tuesday 
( )
Wednesday 
( )
Thursday 
( )
Friday 
( )
Saturday 
( )
Months[edit]
January 
( )
February 
( )
March 
( )
April 
( )
May 
( )
June 
( )
July 
( )
August 
( )
September 
( )
October 
( )
November 
( )
December 
( )
Writing time and date[edit]

Colors[edit]

black 
( )
white 
( )
gray 
( )
red 
( )
blue 
( )
yellow 
( )
green 
( )
orange 
( )
purple 
( )
brown 
( )

Transportation[edit]

Bus and train[edit]
How much is a ticket to _____? 
( )
One ticket to _____, please. 
( )
Where does this train/bus go? 
( )
Where is the train/bus to _____? 
( )
Does this train/bus stop in _____? 
( )
When does the train/bus for _____ leave? 
( )
When will this train/bus arrive in _____? 
( )
Directions[edit]
How do I get to _____ ? 
( )
...the train station? 
( )
...the bus station? 
( )
...the airport? 
( )
...downtown? 
( )
...the youth hostel? 
( )
...the _____ hotel? 
( )
...the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate? 
( )
Where are there a lot of... 
( )
...hotels? 
( )
...restaurants? 
( )
...bars? 
( )
...sites to see? 
( )
Can you show me on the map? 
( )
street 
( )
Turn left. 
( )
Turn right. 
( )
left 
( )
right 
( )
straight ahead 
( )
towards the _____ 
( )
past the _____ 
( )
before the _____ 
( )
Watch for the _____. 
( )
intersection 
( )
north 
( )
south 
( )
east 
( )
west 
( )
uphill 
( )
downhill 
( )
Taxi[edit]
Taxi! 
( )
Take me to _____, please. 
( )
How much does it cost to get to _____? 
( )
Take me there, please. 
( )

Lodging[edit]

Do you have any rooms available? 
( )
How much is a room for one person/two people? 
( )
Does the room come with... 
( )
...bedsheets? 
( )
...a bathroom? 
( )
...a telephone? 
( )
...a TV? 
( )
May I see the room first? 
( )
Do you have anything quieter? 
( )
...bigger? 
( )
...cleaner? 
( )
...cheaper? 
( )
OK, I'll take it. 
( )
I will stay for _____ night(s). 
( )
Can you suggest another hotel? 
( )
Do you have a safe? 
( )
...lockers? 
( )
Is breakfast/supper included? 
( )
What time is breakfast/supper? 
( )
Please clean my room. 
( )
Can you wake me at _____? 
( )
I want to check out. 
( )

Money[edit]

Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars? 
( )
Do you accept British pounds? 
( )
Do you accept Euros? 
( )
Do you accept credit cards? 
( )
Can you change money for me? 
( )
Where can I get money changed? 
( )
Can you change a traveler's check for me? 
( )
Where can I get a traveler's check changed? 
( )
What is the exchange rate? 
( )
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)? 
( )

Eating[edit]

A table for one person/two people, please. 
( )
Can I look at the menu, please? 
( )
Can I look in the kitchen? 
( )
Is there a house specialty? 
( )
Is there a local specialty? 
( )
I'm a vegetarian. 
( )
I don't eat pork. 
( )
I don't eat beef. 
( )
I only eat kosher food. 
( )
Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard
( )
fixed-price meal 
( )
a la carte 
( )
breakfast 
( )
lunch 
( )
tea (meal
( )
supper 
( )
I want _____. 
( )
I want a dish containing _____. 
( )
chicken 
( )
beef 
( )
fish 
( )
ham 
( )
sausage 
( )
cheese 
( )
eggs 
( )
salad 
( )
(fresh) vegetables 
( )
(fresh) fruit 
( )
bread 
( )
toast 
( )
noodles 
( )
rice 
( )
beans 
( )
May I have a glass of _____? 
( )
May I have a cup of _____? 
( )
May I have a bottle of _____? 
( )
coffee 
( )
tea (drink
( )
juice 
( )
(bubbly) water 
( )
(still) water 
( )
beer 
( )
red/white wine 
( )
May I have some _____? 
( )
salt 
( )
black pepper 
( )
butter 
( )
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server)
( )
I'm finished. 
( )
It was delicious. 
( )
Please clear the plates. 
( )
The check, please. 
( )

Bars[edit]

Do you serve alcohol? 
( )
Is there table service? 
( )
A beer/two beers, please. 
( )
A glass of red/white wine, please. 
( )
A pint, please. 
( )
A bottle, please. 
( )
_____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer), please. 
( )
whiskey 
( )
vodka 
( )
rum 
( )
water 
( )
club soda 
( )
tonic water 
( )
orange juice 
( )
Coke (soda
( )
Do you have any bar snacks? 
( )
One more, please. 
( )
Another round, please. 
( )
When is closing time? 
( )
Cheers! 
( )

Shopping[edit]

Do you have this in my size? 
( )
How much is this? 
( )
That's too expensive. 
( )
Would you take _____? 
( )
expensive 
( )
cheap 
( )
I can't afford it. 
( )
I don't want it. 
( )
You're cheating me. 
( )
I'm not interested. 
(..)
OK, I'll take it. 
( )
Can I have a bag? 
( )
Do you ship (overseas)? 
( )
I need... 
( )
...toothpaste. 
( )
...a toothbrush. 
( )
...tampons. 
. ( )
...soap. 
( )
...shampoo. 
( )
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen
( )
...cold medicine. 
( )
...stomach medicine. 
... ( )
...a razor. 
( )
...an umbrella. 
( )
...sunblock lotion. 
( )
...a postcard. 
( )
...postage stamps. 
( )
...batteries. 
( )
...writing paper. 
( )
...a pen. 
( )
...English-language books. 
( )
...English-language magazines. 
( )
...an English-language newspaper. 
( )
...an English-English dictionary. 
( )

Driving[edit]

I want to rent a car. 
( )
Can I get insurance? 
( )
stop (on a street sign
( )
one way 
( )
yield 
( )
no parking 
( )
speed limit 
( )
gas (petrol) station 
( )
petrol 
( )
diesel 
( )

Authority[edit]

I haven't done anything wrong. 
( )
It was a misunderstanding. 
( )
Where are you taking me? 
( )
Am I under arrest? 
( )
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen. 
( )
I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy/consulate. 
( )
I want to talk to a lawyer. 
( )
Can I just pay a fine now? 
( )

Pinyin phonetization[edit]

Please note that the Chinese tonal inflection is represented as numbers following each syllable.

Basics[edit]

Common signs

OPEN 
CLOSED 
ENTRANCE 
EXIT 
PUSH 
PULL 
TOILET 
MEN 
WOMEN 
FORBIDDEN 


Some general phrases

  • Hello - Li Huh (LEE-HUH)
  • Thank you - Duo Xia (DOOOO-SHIAH)
  • You are beautiful - Li Jiu Sui (LEE-JOE-SWEE)
  • Don't lie to me! - Mai Gei (MY-GAY)
  • This is delicious (for beverage) - Ho Lim
  • This is delicious (for food) - Ho Jia 好吃 (HO JIYA)
  • Have some tea - Lim De
  • Make tea - Pao Day
  • That's OK / Your Welcome - Me-en Kayki


Hello. 
Lee(1) ho(1) . (literally: You Good?)
Hello. (informal
. ( )
How are you? 
Lee(1) ho(1) boh(3) ? (Literal: You Good Not?)
Fine, thank you. 
sise ni, habahao . (thank you )
What is your name? 
Lee(1) eh(2) mya(2) shi(3) sha(1) mi(2)? ( ?)
My name is ______ . 
Wah(1) eh(2) mya(2) shi(3) ______ . ( Guwa (guwa is one syllable) shi _____ .)
Nice to meet you. 
. ( )
Please. 
Bia Tok. ( )
Thank you. 
Kam(1) siah(1) . ( )
You're welcome. 
. ( )
Yes. 
si(1) . ( )
No. 
mm(3) si(1). ( )
Excuse me. (getting attention
. ( )
Excuse me. (begging pardon
. ( )
I'm sorry. 
Shi(1) Lei(1) . ( )
Goodbye 
Zhai(4) gen(3) . ( )
Goodbye (informal
. ( )
I can't speak name of language [well]. 
Wah(1) buay(2) hiao(4) gong(1) name of language. ( [ ])
Do you speak English? 
Lee(1) gum(1) eh(3) hiao(4) gong(1) eng(2) gyi(1)? ( ?)
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
Gum(1) ou(3) lung(2) eh(3) hiao(4) gong(1) eng(2) gyi(1)? ( ?)
Help! 
 ! ( !)
Look out! 
 ! ( !)
Good morning. 
gow char ( )
Good evening. 
. ( )
Good night. 
. ( )
Good night (to sleep
. ( )
I don't understand. 
tiah boh . (hear not )
I don't understand. 
beh meng pek . (do not understand )
Where is the toilet? 
Ben(3) soh(4) di(2) de(1) We(2)? (Literal: bathroom, where is it?)
wait 
teisya

Problems[edit]

Leave me alone. 
. ( .)
Don't touch me! 
 ! ( !)
I'll call the police. 
. ( .)
Police! 
 ! ( !)
Stop! Thief! 
 ! ! ( ! !)
I need your help. 
. ( .)
It's an emergency. 
. ( .)
I'm lost. 
. ( .)
I lost my bag. 
. ( .)
I lost my wallet. 
. ( .)
I'm sick. 
. ( .)
I've been injured. 
. ( .)
I need a doctor. 
. ( .)
Can I use your phone? 
 ? ( ?)

Numbers[edit]

Jit(1) ( )
Nung(2) or Li(2) (Please note rules to use Nung(2) or Li(2) when counting.)
Sanh(1) ( )
Shi(3) ( )
Goh(2) ( )
Luk(2) ( )
Chit(2) ( )
Beh(2) ( )
Gao(4) ( )
10 
Tsup(2) ( )
11 
Tzup(2)-yit(1) ( )
12 
Tzup(2)-Li(2) (Notice change from Nung(2) to Li(2) when describe unit of one)
13 
Tzup(2)-Sanh(1) ( )
14 
Tzup(2)-Shi(1) ( )
15 
Tzup(2)-Goh(2) ( )
16 
Tzup(2)-Luk(2) ( )
17 
Tzup(2)-Chit(2) ( )
18 
Tzup(2)-Beh(2) ( )
19 
Tzup(2)-Gao(2) ( )
20 
Li(3)-Tzup(3) (Notice use Li(2) to modify units of ten)
21 
Li(3)-Tzup(3)-it(3) ( )
22 
Li(3)-Tzup(3)-Li(3) ( )
23 
( )
30 
( )
40 
( )
50 
( )
60 
( )
70 
( )
80 
( )
90 
( )
100 
Jit(1)-Bah(1) (Bah = 100)
200 
Nung(2)-Bah(1) (Notice use of Nung(2) to modify multiples of 100)
300 
( )
1,000 
Jit(3)-Ching(1) (Ching = 1000)
2,000 
Nung(2)-Ching(1) ( )
10,000 
Jit(3)-Bhun(2) or Mhun(2) (Buhn(2) = 10000)
20,000 
Nung(2)-Bhun(2) ( )
100,000 
Tzup(2)-Bhun(2)
1,000,000 
Jit(3)-Bah(2)-Bhun(2) ( )
1,000,000,000 
( )
1,000,000,000,000 
( )
number _____ (train, bus, etc.) 
( )
half 
( )
less 
( )
more 
( )

Time[edit]

now 
( )
later 
( )
before 
( )
morning 
( )
afternoon 
( )
evening 
( )
night 
( )
Clock time[edit]
one o'clock AM 
( )
two o'clock AM 
( )
noon 
( )
one o'clock PM 
( )
two o'clock PM 
( )
midnight 
( )
Duration[edit]
_____ minute(s) 
( )
_____ hour(s) 
( )
_____ day(s) 
( )
_____ week(s) 
( )
_____ month(s) 
( )
_____ year(s) 
( )
Days[edit]
today 
( )
yesterday 
( )
tomorrow 
( )
this week 
( )
last week 
( )
next week 
( )
Sunday 
( )
Monday 
( )
Tuesday 
( )
Wednesday 
( )
Thursday 
( )
Friday 
( )
Saturday 
( )
Months[edit]
January 
( )
February 
( )
March 
( )
April 
( )
May 
( )
June 
( )
July 
( )
August 
( )
September 
( )
October 
( )
November 
( )
December 
( )
Writing time and date[edit]

Colors[edit]

black 
( )
white 
( )
gray 
( )
red 
( )
blue 
( )
yellow 
( )
green 
( )
orange 
( )
purple 
( )
brown 
( )

Transportation[edit]

Bus and train[edit]
How much is a ticket to _____? 
( )
One ticket to _____, please. 
( )
Where does this train/bus go? 
( )
Where is the train/bus to _____? 
( )
Does this train/bus stop in _____? 
( )
When does the train/bus for _____ leave? 
( )
When will this train/bus arrive in _____? 
( )
Directions[edit]
How do I get to _____ ? 
( )
...the train station? 
( )
...the bus station? 
( )
...the airport? 
( )
...downtown? 
( )
...the youth hostel? 
( )
...the _____ hotel? 
( )
...the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate? 
( )
Where are there a lot of... 
( )
...hotels? 
( )
...restaurants? 
( )
...bars? 
( )
...sites to see? 
( )
Can you show me on the map? 
( )
street 
( )
Turn left. 
( )
Turn right. 
( )
left 
( )
right 
( )
straight ahead 
( )
towards the _____ 
( )
past the _____ 
( )
before the _____ 
( )
Watch for the _____. 
( )
intersection 
( )
north 
( )
south 
( )
east 
( )
west 
( )
uphill 
( )
downhill 
( )
Taxi[edit]
Taxi! 
( )
Take me to _____, please. 
( )
How much does it cost to get to _____? 
( )
Take me there, please. 
( )

Lodging[edit]

Do you have any rooms available? 
( )
How much is a room for one person/two people? 
( )
Does the room come with... 
( )
...bedsheets? 
( )
...a bathroom? 
( )
...a telephone? 
( )
...a TV? 
( )
May I see the room first? 
( )
Do you have anything quieter? 
( )
...bigger? 
( )
...cleaner? 
( )
...cheaper? 
( )
OK, I'll take it. 
( )
I will stay for _____ night(s). 
( )
Can you suggest another hotel? 
( )
Do you have a safe? 
( )
...lockers? 
( )
Is breakfast/supper included? 
( )
What time is breakfast/supper? 
( )
Please clean my room. 
( )
Can you wake me at _____? 
( )
I want to check out. 
( )

Money[edit]

Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars? 
( )
Do you accept British pounds? 
( )
Do you accept Euros? 
( )
Do you accept credit cards? 
( )
Can you change money for me? 
( )
Where can I get money changed? 
( )
Can you change a traveler's check for me? 
( )
Where can I get a traveler's check changed? 
( )
What is the exchange rate? 
( )
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)? 
( )

Eating[edit]

A table for one person/two people, please. 
( )
Can I look at the menu, please? 
( )
Can I look in the kitchen? 
( )
Is there a house specialty? 
( )
Is there a local specialty? 
( )
I'm a vegetarian. 
( )
I don't eat pork. 
( )
I don't eat beef. 
( )
I only eat kosher food. 
( )
Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard
( )
fixed-price meal 
( )
a la carte 
( )
breakfast 
( )
lunch 
( )
tea (meal
( )
supper 
( )
I want _____. 
( )
I want a dish containing _____. 
( )
chicken 
( )
beef 
( )
fish 
( )
ham 
( )
sausage 
( )
cheese 
( )
eggs 
( )
salad 
( )
(fresh) vegetables 
( )
(fresh) fruit 
( )
bread 
( )
toast 
( )
noodles 
( )
rice 
( )
beans 
( )
May I have a glass of _____? 
( )
May I have a cup of _____? 
( )
May I have a bottle of _____? 
( )
coffee 
( )
tea (drink
( )
juice 
( )
(bubbly) water 
( )
(still) water 
( )
beer 
( )
red/white wine 
( )
May I have some _____? 
( )
salt 
( )
black pepper 
( )
butter 
( )
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server)
( )
I'm finished. 
( )
It was delicious. 
( )
Please clear the plates. 
( )
The check, please. 
( )

Bars[edit]

Do you serve alcohol? 
( )
Is there table service? 
( )
A beer/two beers, please. 
( )
A glass of red/white wine, please. 
( )
A pint, please. 
( )
A bottle, please. 
( )
_____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer), please. 
( )
whiskey 
( )
vodka 
( )
rum 
( )
water 
( )
club soda 
( )
tonic water 
( )
orange juice 
( )
Coke (soda
( )
Do you have any bar snacks? 
( )
One more, please. 
( )
Another round, please. 
( )
When is closing time? 
( )
Cheers! 
( )

Shopping[edit]

Do you have this in my size? 
( )
How much is this? 
( )
That's too expensive. 
( )
Would you take _____? 
( )
expensive 
( )
cheap 
( )
I can't afford it. 
( )
I don't want it. 
( )
You're cheating me. 
( )
I'm not interested. 
(..)
OK, I'll take it. 
( )
Can I have a bag? 
( )
Do you ship (overseas)? 
( )
I need... 
( )
...toothpaste. 
( )
...a toothbrush. 
( )
...tampons. 
. ( )
...soap. 
( )
...shampoo. 
( )
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen
( )
...cold medicine. 
( )
...stomach medicine. 
... ( )
...a razor. 
( )
...an umbrella. 
( )
...sunblock lotion. 
( )
...a postcard. 
( )
...postage stamps. 
( )
...batteries. 
( )
...writing paper. 
( )
...a pen. 
( )
...English-language books. 
( )
...English-language magazines. 
( )
...an English-language newspaper. 
( )
...an English-English dictionary. 
( )

Driving[edit]

I want to rent a car. 
( )
Can I get insurance? 
( )
stop (on a street sign
( )
one way 
( )
yield 
( )
no parking 
( )
speed limit 
( )
gas (petrol) station 
( )
petrol 
( )
diesel 
( )

Authority[edit]

I haven't done anything wrong. 
( )
It was a misunderstanding. 
( )
Where are you taking me? 
( )
Am I under arrest? 
( )
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen. 
( )
I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy/consulate. 
( )
I want to talk to a lawyer. 
( )
Can I just pay a fine now? 
( )
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