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Minnan phrasebook

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Revision as of 12:02, 4 April 2007 by 61.91.191.11 (Talk)

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Min nan hua or Southern Min is the Chinese dialect of the Southern part of Fujian province, the area around Xiamen and Quanzhou. A variant is widely spoken in Taiwan where it is referred to as Taiwanese. In Singapore and Malaysian English, the Min dialects are called Hokkien, the Min-nan pronunciation of Fujian.

Pronunciation guide

Vowels

Consonants

Common diphthongs

Phrase list

Here are a few very basic phrases:

Hello - li ho (LEE-HO)

Thank you - to sia 多謝 (DAW-SHEEAH)

You are beautiful - li chiu sui (LEE-JOE-SWEE)

Don't lie to me! - mai ke (MY-GAY)

This is delicious (for beverage) - ho lim

This is delicious (for food) - ho chiah 好食 (HO JEEYAH)

Have some tea - lim te 飲茶

Make tea - pao te

That's OK/You're welcome - m-ben kekki

Basics

Please note that the Chinese tonal inflection is represented as numbers following each syllable.
Hello. 
Lee(1) ho(1) . (Mandarin: Ni(2) hao(3). Literal: You Good?)
Hello. (informal
. ( )
How are you? 
Lee(1) ho(1) boh(3) ? (Literal: You Good Not?)
Fine, 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. 
. ( )
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. 
gau cha ( )
Good evening. 
. ( )
Good night. 
. ( )
Good night (to sleep
. ( )
I don't understand. 
tianh bo . (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?)

Problems

Numbers

Please note that the Chinese tonal inflection is represented as numbers following each syllable.
One 
chit(1)
Two 
nng(2) or li(2) (Please note rules to use nng(2) or li(2) when counting.)
Three 
sanh(1)
Four 
si(3)
Five 
go(2)
Six 
lak(2)
Seven 
chit(2)
Eight 
peh(2)
Nine 
kau(4)
Ten  
chap(2)
Eleven 
chap(2)-it(1)
Twelve 
chap(2)-li(2) ( Notice change from nng(2) to li(2) when describe unit of one)
Thirteen 
chap(2)-sanh(1)
Fourteen 
chap(2)-si(1)
Fifteen 
chap(2)-go(2)
Sixteen 
chap(2)-lak(2)
Seventeen 
chap(2)-chit(2)
Eighteen 
chap(2)-peh(2)
Nineteen 
chap(2)-kau(2)
Twenty 
li(3)-chap(3) ( Notice use li(2) to modify units of ten)
Twenty-One 
li(3)-chap(3)-it(3)
Twenty-two 
li(3)-chap(3)-Li(3)
One Hundred 
chit(1)-pah(1) (pah = 100)
Two hundred 
nng(2)-pah(1) ( Notice use of nng(2) to modify multiples of 100)
Two hundred twenty-two
nng(2)-pah(4)-li(2)-chap(2)-li(2)
One thousand 
chit(3)-chin(1) (chin = 1000)
Two thousand 
nng(2)-chin(1)
Ten thousand 
chit(3)-ban(2) or man(2) (ban(2) = 10000)
Twenty thousand 
nng(2)-ban(2)
One hundred thousand 
chap(2)-ban(2)
One million 
chit(3)-pah(2)-ban(2)


Note: the following uses unconventional romanization and does not describe tones, but just tries to be phonetically accurate from an (American) English speaking standpoint. Goal is to have an English speaker's first try be fairly close, without reading a bunch of rules for phonetization nor trying to distinguish between the 7 tones in Taiwanese. Unfortunately, it is difficult to cover all tones this way, especially nasal and breath differences, and thus cannot be completely accurate. Also to note is the author learned Taiwanese from one parent from the south, and one parent from the north.

  • Asterisk precedes words that are very hard to phonetize. It would be nice to get some audio on here for these.
  • Also to note is the phoneme for "L" used below. Linguists call this sound a "flap" - it is similar to the "tt" sound in Standard American pronunciation of "butter". It is also similar to the Japanese "r" and the Spanish "single-r" sounds.


Basic Phrases

Hello - Li huh -- literally, "you good?"

How are you - Li ho-bo; OR Jia bah bo -- literally, "eat full?"

Not bad - Mbay mbai

Good, Thank you - Informal: Huh, duh shiah. Formal: Huh, gahm shiah

What is your name - Li-ay myah shee sa?

My name is - Wah-ay mya shee

Please - Pbai toh

That's OK / Your Welcome - Me-en Kayki

Excuse me - Pai say

Sorry - Informal: Pai say. Formal: shit leh

Goodbye - tzai chien

I don't know how to speak English - Wah mbay hyow gong eng-yee

Do you know how to speak English? - Li gah-ay hyow gong eng-yee

Is there someone here who speaks English? - Jiah gah oo lahng ay hyow gong eng-yee

I don't understand - Wah tyah bo

Where's the bathroom? - Ben so dee-da


Problems

Go Away - Tzow

Don't touch me! - Mai gah-wah mbong

I'll call the police. - Informal: Wah kah gien tsah. Formal: Wah ay kah hoh gien tsah.

Police! - Gien tsah

Stop! - Dohng

I need your help. - Wah soo-yow * dee-ay bahm-mahng

I'm lost. - Wah mbo-key

I lost my purse/wallet. - Wah pahng-key wah-ay pay bow

I'm sick. - Wah pwah bee or Wah gahng koh

I've been injured. - Wah dyuh shohng

I need a doctor. - Wah dah-ai ee-sheng

Can I use your phone? - Wah gah-ay sai yen * li-ay dyeng-way

Numbers

1 - jeet

2 - nun

3 - sa

4 - shee

5 - go

6 - * lahk

7 - cheet

8 - bway

9 - gow

10 - tsahp

11 - tsah-eet

12 - tsah- * dee

13 - tsah-sa

14 - tsah-she

15 - tsah-go

16 - tsah-lahk

17 - tsah-cheet

18 - tsah-bway

19 - tsah-gow

20 - * lee-tsahp

21 - * leetsahp-eet

22 - * leetsahp- * dee

23 - * leetsahp-sa

...

30 - sa-tsahp

40 - she-tsahp

50 - go-tsahp

60 - * lahk-tsahp

70 - cheet-tsahp

80 - bway-tsahp

90 - gow-tsahp

100 - jee-bah

200 - nun-bah

300 - sa-bah

1000 - jee-cheng

2000 - nun-cheng

10,000 - jee-mahng

100,000 - tsahp-mahng

1,000,000 - jeebah-mahng

1,000,000,000 - jeecheng-mahng

1,000,000,000,000

half - * bwah

less - kah jyuh

more - kah tsay


Ordinal Numbers

first - day-eet

second - day- * dee

third - day-sa

fourth - day-she

fifth - day-go

...

twentieth

...

hundredth - day jee-bah

...

thousandth - day jee-chien


Time

now - jeemah or jeetzoon

later - kah dahng-ay or shuh dahng

before - ee jun

early - dtsah

earlier - kah dtsah

morning - tao dtsah

in the morning - tzai kee

tomorrow morning - miyah tsai kee tao dtsah

afternoon - ay boh

in the afternoon -

evening - ay ahm

in the evening -

night - ahm

in the night - ahm-sheea


Clock time

one o'clock AM - tao tza jeet diam

two o'clock AM - tao tza nen diam

noon - dyong dow

one o'clock PM - ay boh jeet diam

two o'clock PM - ay boh nen diam

midnight


Duration

minute - whhun

2 minutes - nun whhun

hour - diam jun

2 hours - nun diam jun

day - * leet

5 days - go * leet

week - * lay bai

5 weeks - go * lay bai

month - whay * leet

5 months - go whay * leet

year - nee

5 years - go nee


Days

today - gyah * de * deet

the day before yesterday - tzuh * leet

yesterday - dtsah-ung

tomorrow - miyah tsai

the day after tomorrow - ow * leet

this week - tsi * day bai

last week - den * day bai

the week before last week - jen * lay bai

next week - ow * lay bai

the week after next week - ow ow * lay bai


Monday - bai-eet

Tuesday - bai- * dee

Wednesday - bai-sa

Thursday - bai-shee

Friday - bai-go

Saturday - bai- * lahk

Sunday - * lay-bai


Writing time and date

Months

January - ee-gay

February - * lee-gay

March - sa-gay

April - shee-gay

May - go-gay

June - * lahk-gay

July - chee-gay

August - bway-gay

September - gow-gay

October - tsahb-gay

November - tsahb-eet-gay

December - tsahb- *de-gay


Colors

color - shitd

black - oh shitd

white - bay shitd

grey - whey shitd - literally "ash color"

red - ahng shitd

blue - na shitd

yellow - ung shitd

green - chyee shitd

orange - gahmah shitd

purple - gyuh shitd - literally "eggplant color"

brown - toh-shitd - literally "dirt color"


Transportation

Bus and train

ticket - dyu pyuh

on ticket - jeet-pyuh

How much is one ticket? - Jeet-pyuh shee gwee-koh? - literally "one ticket is how many dollars?"

bus - kay-wun

train - whey-chiah

Where does this bus go? - Dze-day kay-wun kee-dah?

Does this train go to ____? - Dze-day whey-chiah gah-oo kee ____?

What time does this train leave? - Dze-day whey-chiah gwee diam tsooh-whaht?

What time will this bus arrive? - Dze-day kay-wun gwee diam ay gow-wee?

Please stop! - Pbai-toh, dong!


Taxi

Taxi - gay-dyen chiah

Drive me to ____ - dzai wah kee ____

How much to go ____ - mbay kee ____ gwee koh?


Directions

How do I get to ____? - mbay ahndswah kee ____?

...the train station? - whey chiah dyoo?

...the bus station? - kay-wun dyoo?

...the airport? - whey-deng-gee dyoo?

...downtown? - chee dyong sheemg?

...the hotel? - * lee-guang?

...the restaurant? - bung-diam?

Where are there alot of ____? - Dway oo jote-tsay ____?

Do you have a map? - * lee gah-oo day-doh?


Driving

street/road - * loh

left - duh

right - jyah

turn left - duh wah

straight ahead - dee-deet kee or dee-deet gyah


Lodging

Do you have any rooms available? - Oo bahn-gyun mbo?

How much for one room? - Jeet gyun, wah-tsay gyee?

One person - dzeday lahng

Two persons - nungay lahng

Does it have... - Gah oo

...bathroom? - beng soh?

...phone? - dyung way?

...television? - dyung ah?

May I see it first? - Gah-ay-dahng shung kwah?

Do you have something... - Gah oo kah

...bigger? - dwah-ay

...cheaper? - shohg-ay

Ok I'll sleep here for ____ nights. - Huh, mbay-kuhng ____ ahm.

Is there another hotel? - Gah oo bahg-ay * lee-guang?

What time is breakfast? - Dzah-dun gwee-diam?

Please clean my room - Pbai toh kyeng wah-ay bahn-gyun

Can you wake me at ____ ? - ____ gah-way gyuh kiah, huhbuh?


Money

credit card - swah kah

Where can I exchange money? - Dway ay-dahng wah gyee?


Eating

Breakfast - dzah-den

Lunch - dyong-den

Snack - diam-shing

Tea - day

Coffee - gah-bee

Dinner - ahm-den

I want - wah-mbay

Chicken - ga-mbah

Beef - goo-mbah

Fish - hee-ah

Eggs - nun

Vegetables - tsai

Fruit - dzwee-guh

Bread - pahng (For you linguists, this is from Portugese)

Noodles - mee

Rice - buhng

Beer - bee- * doo

Salt - yahm

Pepper - hyahm

Done eating - jyah- * lyow

Good to eat - huh-jyah


Bars

Shopping

How much? - Gwee koh/Wah dzay jyee?

Too much - shyoo-gwee

Don't want - mbwai

I need - Wah dah-ai

...toothbrush - kee-mbeeng

...soap - day koh

...shampoo - say tow-mun - literally "wash hair"

...paper - dzwah

...pen - mbeetd

...books - dzoo


Authority

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