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Minnan phrasebook

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Southern Min, Minnan also known as Hokkien-Taiwanese in English (Mainland China Communist Party : 闽南方言 Bân-lâm-hong-giân : Min Nan Dialect ; Taiwan (Kuomingtang, KMT) : 臺灣閩南語 Tâi-uân-Bân-lâm-gí Min Nan Language ; Taiwan (Democratic Progressive Party, DPP and other Pro-Independence Political Parties) : 臺語 tâi-gí Taiwanese Language), is a Min Sinitic language sub-group of dialects that is mainly spoken in Southern region of Fujian province in Mainland China and Taiwan. It is the most well known and the largest Min Chinese subgroup and the major Min Chinese Language group of Fujian and Taiwan today. It is also spoken by the certain overseas chinese population whose ancestral families hail from Southern Fujian, particularly in Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Phillipines, where they make up the largest chinese Non-Mandarin Chinese Language group before Cantonese. In Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, the overseas chinese call it as Hokkien (福建話 Hok-kiàn-ōe), while in the Phillipines, the overseas chinese call it "Our People's Language" (咱儂話 Lán-lâng-ōe).

In Taiwan, although the language had been suppressed by Kuomingtang Political Party in favor of Mandarin for decades until the martial law had been lifted since the late 1980s, the language is gradually being respected and being accorded the status of Taiwan's National Language since 2019, especially by the Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Political Party who had been responsible for the promotion of Taiwan's local languages mainly due to their cultural, political and ideological reasons.

The four mutually intelligible Min Nan dialects are Quanzhou, Zhangzhou, Xiamen and Taiwanese. All the mutually intelligible Min Nan dialects spoken in Southern Fujian and Taiwan are collectively known as Min Nan or Hokkien-Taiwanese Language. The Overseas Min Nan dialect variants spoken in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Phillipines and some other Southeast Asian countries are influenced by Malay, English, Cantonese or other local languages spoken in the Southeast Asian Countries,while Min Nan dialects spoken in Western countries are mostly Taiwanese Min Nan Language.

There are Non-Mandarin/Non-Cantonese Sinitic Languages spoken in some areas in Guangdong Province as well as Hainan island Province that are related to Min Nan / Quanzhang / Hokkien-Taiwanese such as Teochew (Chaoshan) Language spoken in Eastern Guangdong of Mainland China and Hainanese Language spoken in Hainan island Province of Mainland China.

Hokkien-Taiwanese, Teochew, and Hainanese Languages are generally classified under Southern Min Language of the Min subgroup family of Sinitic Languages. Although Teochew (Chaoshan) Language spoken in Eastern Guangdong of Mainland China and Hainanese Language spoken in Hainan island Province of Mainland China have a historical linguistic relationship with Min Nan / Hokkien-Taiwanese , they differ significantly in pronounication, barring of some vocabulary differences and some idiomatic differences, Teochew and Hainanese bear more differences from Hokkien-Taiwanese than the differences between the Hokkien-Taiwanese dialects. Therefore Teochew and Hainanese are not easily mutually intelligible with the Hokkien-Taiwanese. The Teochew (Chaoshan) Language has low mutual intelligibility with Hokkien-Taiwanese Language, while Hainanese Language has almost no mutual intelligibility with Hokkien-Taiwanese Language.

The current Prestigious Modern Standard Min Nan dialect is now highly based on Taiwanese Min Nan dialect. The Taiwanese Min Nan dialect is the most influential Min Nan dialect today due to the popularity of the Modern Taiwanese Min Nan Entertainment Media and Taiwanese Min Nan song productions. The Taiwanese Min Nan Entertainment Media and Taiwanese Min Nan songs are relatively well known by the native Min Nan Language speakers in Southern Fujian, Taiwan, overseas chinese in Southeast Asia and Western Countries. Xiamen dialect accent is very similar to the Taiwanese Min Nan dialect (Tainan prestige accent), both are mixtures of Quanzhou and Zhangzhou Min Nan dialect accents. Both Xiamen dialect and Taiwanese Min Nan dialect (Tainan prestige accent) are highly mutually intelligible (98% phonetically similar; 90% lexically similar). While Quanzhou and Zhangzhou Min Nan dialects are about 75%-80% mutually intelligible with Taiwanese and Xiamen dialects.The mainland Min Nan dialects and Taiwan Min Nan dialect also differ slightly in lexicon by a small extent. Futhermore, Taiwanese Min Nan has borrowed some terminology from Japanese language, due to the legacy of the Japanese colonial rule of Taiwan during the late 18th century till the Kuomingtang takeover of Taiwan.

The first wave of popularity of the Modern Taiwanese Min Nan Entertainment Media saw the initial emergence and gradual decline between 2000 to 2018. The new second wave which saw resurgence of and rising popularity of the Modern Taiwanese Min Nan Entertainment Media from 2019 onwards after Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party and various Taiwanese Min Nan Language and Cultural societal groups spearheaded the Taiwanese Min Nan language reform efforts, especially on the Taiwanese Min Nan Entertainment Media.

Min Nan can be said to be mutually unintelligible with standard Mandarin and other dialects not only due to the pronunciation differences but also because of the irregular word/character conversion i.e. a non-native Minnan speaker can only understand the dialect to a small extent even when it is presented in written form (e.g. "食甲尚好驚血壓懸,媠毋綴人走" : 《陳雷.歡喜就好》) It is also not mutually intelligible with the other branches of the Min dialect family such as Mindong, Minbei and Puxian. That said, most Minnan speakers in mainland China, as well as the younger ones in Taiwan, are usually able to speak Mandarin as well.


Like all other Chinese languages and their dialects, Minnan uses Chinese characters but employs its own 'unique' pronunciation. However, it should be noted that similar to Japanese kanji, most characters have two or more pronunciations in Minnan, which means that many characters would be pronounced differently depending on context, even if their Mandarin pronunciation remains the same in both instances.

This is partly due to the fact that, because standard written Chinese is based on Mandarin, many words in Minnan are written with characters of the same meaning in standard written Chinese.

But while different pronounciations for character set are a minor phenomenon in Mandarin or Cantonese, colloquial and literary pronounciations are a prevalent feature in Minnan (闽南). Every word has at least two pronunciations, and some have more:

“一”: 白 [tsit8] vs. 文 [it4]
“大”: 白 [tua7] vs. 文 [tai7]
“学”: 白 [ oh8] vs. 文 [hak8]

An example with 3 readings : “石头” [chioh8 tau5],“石榴” [siah8-liu6],“药石” [iok8-sek8]. That is, “石” can be read “chioh8“, “siah8” or “sek8”.

For example, the words ài and beh both roughly mean 'want', so they are usually written with the character 要 (although they are also written with 愛 and 欲 respectively). Consequently, the pronuncation of the character 要 can change between ài, beh and iàu depending on context.

The ordinary word for person, lâng, is usually written with the character 人, which also has the reading jı̂n or lîn. The character 生 is is pronounced seⁿ or siⁿ as a verb used alone, but the word 人生 is pronounced lı̂n-seng.

Also, note how the words m̄ (is not, does not) and bē/bōe (cannot) are all often written with 不, so while 不要 might be read as m̄-ài or m̄-beh, 不能/不可 can be read as bē-sái or bōe-sái.

For referring to oneself, 我 góa is used in more informal context while 阮 gún is more formal and 恁爸 lı́n-pē is very derogatory but used very commonly. (No cognates exist in Mandarin or Cantonese although phrases with the same meaning do.) Similar to Malay, there are two equivalents of the English word "we", with lan-nang including the listener in the group, and goa-nang used to exclude the listener from the group.

Pronunciation varies from region to region (e.g. 你 (you) can be either lı́ and ). This can make comprehension slightly difficult sometimes even between 'native' speakers from Quanzhou and Zhangzhou. It should also be kept in mind that most speakers of the dialect often mix Mandarin phrases into their speech due to the influence of Standard Mandarin.


Like other varieties of Chinese, Minnan is tonal; tones must be correct in order to convey the correct meaning. Tone sandhi is a very important, prevalent and complex feature (non-standardised) in Minnan, which makes it more challenging to learn than Mandarin and Cantonese, where tone sandhi is standardised, and Cantonese, where tone sandhi is used sparingly.

The following table shows the values of the different tones in some places, and does not show the pronunciation of the tones or tone sandhi of many areas, but may give an idea of the approximate values.

Tones of Minnan
Number Name POJ Pitch Description After tone sandhi
1 yin level a 55 high 7
2 yin rising á 51 falling 1
3 yin departing à 31~21 low falling 2
4 yin entering ah 32 mid stopped 2 (h final), 8 (otherwise)
5 yang level â 14~24 rising 3 (Taipei), 7 (Tainan)
6 yang rising á 51 falling 1
7 yang departing ā 33 mid 3
8 yang entering a̍h 4 high stopped 3 (h final), 4 (otherwise)


Minnan has many different consonants, even more so than standard Mandarin or Cantonese, and pronouncing them all correctly is a challenge for English speakers. While Mandarin only distinguishes between aspirated and unaspirated (unvoiced) consonants, and English only distinguishes between voiced and unvoiced consonants meaning-wise, Minnan makes a distinction in both cases. This means that aspirated unvoiced (pʰ, tʰ, kʰ), unaspirated unvoiced (p, t, k), and unaspirated voiced (b, d, g) are all separate phonemic consonants in Minnan.

To highlight the distinction, the words for "open" (開) and "close" (關), in some pronunciations (khui and kui respectively) sound almost identical to a native English speaker, only difference being that "open" uses an aspirated initial k while "close" uses an unaspirated initial k! The j sound in English is also used along with the j sound in Mandarin hanyu pinyin. Labial initials such as the m sound are also present. However, unlike in Mandarin, there is no "tongue rolling" (pinyin r) initial consonant.

Initial consonanats of POJ
Letter IPA English example Notes
b b ban voiced pinyin 'b'
p p span pinyin 'b'
ph pan pinyin 'p'
j dz/ʑ fads voiced pinyin 'z'
ch ts/tɕ cats pinyin 'z' or 'j'
chh tsʰ/tɕʰ - pinyin 'c' or 'q'
s s/ɕ sun pinyin 's' or 'x'
g g get voiced pinyin 'g'
k k skin pinyin 'g'
kh kin pinyin 'k'
t t Stan pinyin 'd'
th tan pinyin 't'
h h hat English 'h'
m m more pinyin 'm'
n n new pinyin 'n'
ng ng sing

Like Cantonese but unlike Mandarin, Minnan retains all the final consonants (m, n, ŋ, p, t, and k) of Middle Chinese. In POJ, the nasal consonants m, n and ng are pronounced the same as English, but the others are different.

The stop consonants p, t and k are unreleased. This means that the mouth moves into the position of making the consonant, but no burst of air is released.

Furthermore, an h at the end of a syllable in POJ represents a glottal stop (ʔ); this is the sound in the middle of the English word 'uh-oh'.


The vowels a, e, i, o, u are pronounced as they are in many languages, such as Spanish. Minnan also has the vowel [ɔ] written as (with a dot) or oo.

Vowels of POJ
Letter IPA English example Notes
a a father
e e whey
i i see
o o soap
ɔ law also written 'oo'
u u goose
er ə sir
ir ɨ roses (for some dialects)
ee ɛ yes

Vowels in Minnan can be nasalized, and in POJ this is indicated with a superscript n 'ⁿ' after the vowel. It can also be indicated with a capital n (N) or a double n (nn). IPA notes this with a tilde (~) above the last vowel.

Common diphthongs[edit]

There are many dipthongs in Minnan, and there pronunciation from the POJ spelling is generally fairly obvious. However, note that oe is "ui/uei" and oai is "uai".

Dipthongs of POJ
Letter IPA English example Notes
ai my pinyin 'ai'
au cow pinyin 'ao'
ia ɪa -
iu iu -
io ɪo -
oa ua - pinyin 'wa'
oe ui way pinyin 'wei'
iau ɪaʊ - piyin 'yao'
oai uai why pinyin 'wai'

Phrase list[edit]

This article or section does not match our manual of style or needs other editing. Please plunge forward, give it your attention and help it improve! Suggested fixes: None specified. Please use the article's talk page to ask questions if you are not sure why this tag was added and whether it is safe to remove it.

Phrases in this section are not consistently transcribed with Pe̍h-ōe-jī and Wikitravel's romanization guidelines. If you are familiar with the language, please help fix them up!

The Minnan phrase list below covers the mainstream Minnan dialect spoken in Southern Fujian and Taiwan. The pronounication is mostly based on Xiamen dialect or Taiwanese dialect (Tainan accent).

  • Also to note is the sound of "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.


Min Nan must-know famous phrase 
愛拚才會贏 ài piànn tsiah ē iânn (Persevere till you succeed)
汝好。 lı́ hó
How are you? 
汝好無? lı́ hó bô?
How are you?/Have You Eaten 
食飽袂? chia̍h-pá-bē/buē
Not bad 
袂䆀 bē-bái/buē-bái
Fine, Thank you. (informal) 
好,多謝 hó,to-siā
Fine, Thank you. (formal)
好,感謝 hó,kám-siā.
What is the matter? 
啥物代誌? siáⁿ-mı̍h-tāi-tsì
是 sı̄ (Note: Only some questions are answered with this. As with other varieties of Chinese, affirmation is generally done by repeating the verb in the question.)
毋是 m̄-sı̄
Excuse me 
否勢 phái-sè
I'm sorry. (informal) 
否勢 phái-sè
I'm sorry. (formal)
失禮。sit lé.
再見 chài-kiàn

Addressing Strangers[edit]

This person 
這位 tsit-uī
查埔 tsa-poo
查某 tsa-bóo
囡仔 gín-á
嬰仔 enn-á/inn-á 
Gentleman (formal) 
這位先生 sian-sinn
Young man (informal) 
阿弟 a-tī
Middle aged man (informal) 
阿叔 a-tsik
Old Man (informal) 
阿伯 a-peh
Lady (formal) 
這位女士 lú-sū
Young Lady (informal) 
小姐 sió-tsiá
Middle Aged Lady (informal) 
阿嫂 a-só
Old Lady (informal) 
阿姆 a-ḿ
Young person 
少年家 siàu-liân-ke
Middle Aged 
序大人 sī-tuā-lâng
Old person 
老歲仔 lāu-huè/hè-á

Self Introduction[edit]

What is your name? 
汝叫啥物名? lı́ kiò siáⁿ-mı̍h miâ?
My name is ... . 
我的名是... góa ê miâ sı̄...
Nice to meet you. 
真/足歡喜熟似汝。 tsin/tsiok huann-hí si̍k-sāi lı́
May i ask you.... 
請問... chhiáⁿ mn̄g...
拜託 Pài-thok
You're welcome 
免客氣 bián kheh-khı̀ ("don't be polite")
Never Mind. It’s nothing (It’s alright) 
無要緊 無代誌 bô-iàu-kín bô-tāi-tsì
See you again 
有緣再相會ū-iân tsài siong-huē
I can't speak Minnan/Taiwanese well. 
我袂啥会曉講閩南語/台語... góa bē/buē siánn e-hiáu kóng bân-lâm-gı́(gú)/tâi-gı́(gú)
I don't know how to speak Minnan/Taiwanese and Mandarin 

góa bē/buē-hiáu kóng [Bân-lâm-gı́(gú)/tâi-gı́(gú)] kah [phóo-thong-uē / kok-gí(gú)]

Do you speak English or Mandarin? 
你敢會曉講英語抑是(普通話/國語)? lı́ kám-ē-hiáu kóng eng-gı́ ia̍h-sī [phóo-thong-uē / kok-gí(gú)]?
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
遐敢有人會曉講英語?chia kám-ū lâng ē hiáu kóng ing-gı́(gú)?
救命! kìu-miā!
Look out! / Be Careful! 
Good morning. 
𠢕早。 gâu-chá.
Good Evening. 
暗暝好。 àm-mî-hó
Good Night 
暗安 à-man
I don't understand. 
我聽無。góa thiaⁿ bô.
Where's the Toilet? 
厕所佇"倒落"? ceh-só tī tó-lo̍h (Southern Fujian, Mainland China)
便所佇"佗位"? piān-só tī toh-uī? (Taiwan)
I want this/that 
我愛這個/彼個物件。 góa ài tsit-ê/hit-ê mi̍h-kiānn
I don't want this/that 
我莫這個/彼個物件 góa mài tsit-ê/hit-ê mi̍h-kiānn
会使 ē-sái
袂使 bē-sái/buē-sái
I know. 
我知影 góa tsai-iánn
I don't know. 
我毋知影 góa m̄ tsai-iánn
You are kind 
汝(真/足)善良 lı́ tsin/tsiok siān-liông
You are helpful 
予汝(真/足)無閒 hoo lı́ tsin/tsiok bô-îng,汝是一個好跤手 lı́ sı̄ tsit-ê hó kha tshiú。
beautiful woman 
美女 bí-lú
You are beautiful (woman) 
汝(真/足)媠 lı́ tsin/tsiok suí
handsome man 
壯兄 tsòng-hiann
You are handsome (man) 
汝(真/足)緣投 lı́ tsin/tsiok iân-tâu
Take care 
順行 sūn-kiânn


Go away 
閃開 siám-khui
Hurry Up 
趕緊 kuánn-kín,緊咧 kín leh
Don't touch me! 
莫摸我 mài mo góa
Don’t attack me! 
莫拍我mài phah góa
I am being raped by a pervert!
我予一個痴哥強姦。góa hōo tsi̍t ê tshi-ko kiông-kan
Don't mess with me! 
莫烏白亂來mài oo-pe̍h luān-lâi
I'll call the police 
我去報警!góa khì pò-kíng
Police Station 
警察局 kíng-tshat-kio̍k
Someone, please 
人啊,来救我!lâng ah, lâi kiù góa
Stop There! 
停 thêng /汝共我擋咧。lí kā guá tòng leh
搶劫 tshiúnn-kiap
Chase the thief! Don’t let him/her run away. 
追那個賊仔,莫予伊逃走去。tui hit ê tsha̍t-á, mài hōo i tô-tsáu khì
I was robbed. 
我遭遇著搶劫。góa tso-gū tio̍h tshiúnn-kiap
Please catch the thief. 
Don’t harm/hurt me. 
莫傷害我。mài siong-hāi góa
Don’t kill me. Spare me. 
莫刣我。饒我一命。mài thâi góa。jiâu góa tsi̍t miā
Please let me go 
請汝放我撒Tshiánn lı́ pàng góa suah
The thief stole my money, passport, handphone, jewellery, valuables. 
賊仔偷提我的錢,護照,手機仔,首飾佮貴重的物件去。tsha̍t-á thau-the̍h- góa-ê-tsînn ,hōo-tsiàu ,tshiú-ki-á ,tshiú-sik kah Kuì-tiōng ê mi̍h-kiānn khì
I need your help 
我需要汝的幫忙 góa su-iàu lı́-ê pang-bâng
Can you help me out with my problem? 
汝敢会使佮我[鬥相共/鬥跤手/解決問題]?lı́ kám ē-sái kah góa (tàu-sann-kāng // tàu-kha-tshiú // kái-kuat būn-tê/būn-tuê)
I lost my way 
我行無路。góa kiânn-bô-lōo
I would like to ask you for directions. 
我想欲問路。góa Siūnn beh/bueh mn̄g-lōo
Can you tell me how to go to this/that place? 
汝敢会使佮我講這个所在安怎去? Lı́-kám ē-sái kah góa kóng tsit ê sóo-tsāi án-tsuánn khì?
Can you lead the path? 
汝敢会使𤆬路? Lı́-kám ē-sái tshuā lōo?
I lost my purse/wallet. 
我的皮包仔/錢袋仔放去 góa-ê (phuê-pau-á/phê-pau-á)/ tsînn-tē-á pàng-khì
I'm sick. 
我破病 góa phuà-pēnn/phuà-pīnn
I've been injured. 
我著傷 góa tio̍h siong
My wound is bleeding. 
我的空喙佇咧流血。góa-ê khang-tshuì tī-leh lâu-hueh/lâu-huih
I felt pain. 
我感覺(真/足)疼。góa kám-kak tsin/tsiok thiànn
I am scared. 
我(真/足)驚。góa tsin/tsiok kiann
I am not feeling well. 
我袂爽快/袂舒服。góa (bē/ buē sóng-khuài) / (bē/ buē soo ho̍k)
Please call an ambulance. 
請報救护車。Tshiánn pò Kiù hōo tshia
I need a doctor. 
我欲去看醫生 góa beh/bueh khì i-sing
I need to go to clinic/hospital. 
我欲去診所 góa beh/bueh khì tsín-sóo (Mainland China : 醫院 i-īnn, Taiwan : 病院 pēnn-īnn/pīnn-īnn)
Can I borrow your phone? 
Don't lie to me! 
莫講白贼!mài kóng pe̍h-tsha̍t
Don’t Pretend 
莫假死 mài ké-sí / 莫搬戲mài puann-hì / 莫做戲mài tsò-hì/tsuè-hì
Don’t act dumb! 
莫佯戇mài tènn-gōng / 莫佯生mài tènn-tshenn/tìnn-tshinn


Numbers in Minnan are basically the same as numbers in other varieties of Chinese. Please note the rules about when to use the two different words for 2 (nn̄g and jī). Jī is used in the ones, tens and hundreds place, whereas nn̄g is used for multiples of numbers 100 and greater. This is analogous to the use of 兩 and 二 in mandarin.

空 khong (kong)
一 it / chi̍t (chjit)
二 jī (li/ji/di) / 兩 nn̄g (nng)
三 saⁿ (sa)
四 sì (si)
五 ngō (go)
六 la̍k (lak)
七 chhit (chit)
八 pueh / peh (bpui)
九 káu (kau)
十 cha̍p (tzhap)
十一 cha̍p-it (tzhap-it)
十二 cha̍p-jī (tzhap-li)
十三 cha̍p-saⁿ (tzhap-sa)
十四 cha̍p-sì (tzhap-si)
十五 cha̍p-gō· (tzhap-go)
十六 cha̍p-la̍k (tzhap-lak)
十七 cha̍p-chhit (tzhap-chit)
十八 cha̍p-peh (tzhap-peh)
十九 cha̍p-káu (tzhap-kau)
二十 jī-cha̍p (li-tzhap)
二十一 jī-cha̍p-it (li-tzhap-it)
二十二 jī-cha̍p-jī (li-tzhap-li)
一百 chi̍t-pah (chit-pah)
兩百 nn̄g-pah (nng-pah)
兩百二十二 nn̄g-pah-jī-cha̍p-jī (nng-pah-li-chap-li)
一千 chi̍t-chhien (chit-chien)
兩千 nn̄g-chhien
一萬 chi̍t-bān
兩萬 nn̄g-bān
十萬 cha̍p-bān
一百萬 chi̍t-pah bān
一千萬 chi̍t-chhing bān
一億 chi̍t-ik
十億 cha̍p-ik
一百億 chi̍t-pah ik
一千億 chi̍t-chhing ik
一兆 chi̍t-tiāu
number _____ (train, bus, etc.) 
_____號 hō
半 puànn 
少 tsió
濟 tsē/tsuē

Ordinal Numbers[edit]

Ordinal numbers in Chinese are expressed by prepending the number with '第', pronounced in Minnan.

第一 tē-it (day-it)
第二 tē-jı̄ (day-ji)
第三 tē-saⁿ (day-sa)
第四 tē-sı̀ (day-si)
第五 tē-gō͘ (day-go)

And so on, for any number:

Twentieth 第二十 tē-jı̄-cha̍p (day ji-tzap)
第一百 tē-chı̍t-pah (day chit-pah)
第一千 tē-chı̍t-chhian (day chit-chien)


這陣 chit-tsūn (Southern Fujian, Mainland China), 這馬 chit-má (Taiwan)
what time is it now? 
這陣 chit-tsūn/這馬 chit-má 幾點 kúi tiám
just now 
拄才 tú-tsiah
not long ago 
無偌久 bô-guā-kú、bô-juā-kú、bô-luā-kú
Wait a moment 
且慢 tshiánn-bān,小等咧 sió-tán leh
a short while 
一睏仔 tsi̍t-khùn-á, 一觸久仔 tsi̍t-tak-kú-á
during the period of time 
有一站仔 ū-tsi̍t-tsām-á,彼東陣 hit-tang-tsūn
in the past 
以前 í-tsîng
in the future 
以後 í-āu
last time 
彼時 hit-sî
next time 
後擺 āu-pái
早 chá
較早 kah chá
晏 uànn
較晏 kah uànn
.....的時陣 ê sî-tsūn
early morning 
透早 thàu-tsá
in the morning 
早起 chá-khí
tomorrow morning 
明仔早起 bîn-á-tsá-khí
下晡 ē-poo
in the afternoon 
下晝 ē-tàu
欲暗仔 beh-àm-á/bueh-àm-á
in the evening 
暗頭仔 àm-thâu-á
暗暝 àm-mê/àm-mî
In the night 
暗時 àm-sî
下昏 e-hng
半暝 puànn-mê/puànn-mî 

Clock time[edit]

Midnight 12 AM 
半暝十二點puànn-mê/puànn-mî cha̍p-jī (tzhap-li) tiám
One o'clock AM 
透早一點thàu-tsá (it) tiám
Nine o’ clock AM 
早起九點chá-khí káu tiám
12 Noon 
中晝十二點cha̍p-jī tiám
One o’clock PM 
下晡二點 ē-poo jī*(li/ji/di) tiám
Six o’clock PM  
欲暗六點beh-àm/bueh-àm la̍k tiám
Nine o’clock PM 
暗暝九點 àm-mê/àm-mî káu tiám


_____ minute(s) 
_____ 分鐘 hun-ching
_____ hour(s) 
_____ 點鐘 tiám-ching
_____ day(s) 
_____ 日 ji̍t
_____ week(s) 
_____ 禮拜 lé-pài
_____ month(s) 
_____ 月 gue̍h
_____ year(s) 
_____ 年 nî


今仔日 kin-á-jit (lit)
昨昏 chah-hng
明仔載 bîn-á-chài
the day before last 
the day after tomorrow 
後日 āu ji̍t (lit)
this week 
這禮拜 chit lé-pài
last week 
頂禮拜tíng lé-pài
next week 
後禮拜 āu lé-pài
禮拜日 lé-pài-jı̍t (lit)
拜一 pài-it
拜二 pài-jı̄
拜三 pài-saⁿ
拜四 pài-sı̀
拜五 pài-gō͘
拜六 pài-la̍k


一月 it-go̍eh
二月 jı̄-go̍eh
三月 saⁿ-go̍eh
四月 sı̀-go̍eh
五月 gō͘-go̍eh
六月 la̍k-go̍eh
七月 chhit-go̍eh
八月 poeh-go̍eh
九月 káu-go̍eh
十月 cha̍p-go̍eh
十一月 cha̍p-it-go̍eh
十二月 cha̍p-jı̄-go̍eh


烏色 o·-sik
白色 pe̍h-sik
灰色 hoe-sik
紅色 âng-sik
藍色 nâ-sik
黃色 n̂g-sik
青色 chhiⁿ-sik
柑仔色 kam-á-sik : ("mandarin orange color")
茄仔色 kiô-á-sik : ("eggplant color")
土色 thó·-sik : ("dirt color")
dark __colour 
深__色 tshim ___ sik


錢 tsînn
現金 hiān-kim
Cash Notes 
(Southern Fujian, Mainland China : 紙字 tsuá-lī), (Taiwan : 銀票 gîn/gûn-phiò)
(Southern Fujian, Mainland China : 銅錢 tâng-tsînn, 鈍囝 tun-kiánn) ; (Taiwan : 銀角仔 gîn/gûn-kak-á)
Debit card 
借記卡 tsioh-kì-kha̍h
Credit card 
信用卡 sìn-iōng-kha̍h


車輛 tshia-lióng
汽車 khì-tshia
公共汽車 kong-kiōng khì-tshia (Southern Fujian, Mainland China), 公車 kong-tshia (Taiwan)
出租車 tshut-tsoo-tshia (Southern Fujian, Mainland China), 計程車 kè-thîng-tshia (Taiwan)
摩托車 môo-thok-tshia (Southern Fujian, Mainland China), "Autobike" (Taiwan;Japanese Loanword)
麵包車 mī-pau-tshia
火車 hué/hé-tshia
地鐵 tē-thih
High Speed Train 
高鐵 ko-thih
跤踏車 kha-ta̍h-tshia
Electric Scooter 
電動滑板車 tiān-tōng-ku̍t-pán-tshia
渡船 tōo-tsûn
飛機 pue-ki/hue-ki
One (Road Vehicle) 
One Boat/Plane 
一隻船/飛機 tsi̍t tsiah tsûn/ pue-ki/hue-ki
Bus Stop, Train station 
車站 tshia-tsām.
Taxi Stand 
(Southern Fujian, Mainland China : 出租車停靠站 tshut-tsoo-tshia-thîng-khò-tsām) ; (Taiwan : 計程車停靠站 thîng-khò-tsām-thîng-khò-tsām)
Bus Terminal 
(Southern Fujian, Mainland China : 公共汽車終點站 kong-kiōng khì-tshia tsiong-tiám-tsām) ; (Taiwan : 公車終點站 kong-tshia-tsiong-tiám-tsām)
Ferry Terminal 
輪渡碼頭 lûn-tōo-bé-thâu
Service staff 
服務員 ho̍k-bū-uân
I want to book ticket 
我愛訂票 goá-ài-tīng-phiò
I want to reserve seat 
我愛預訂坐位 goá-ài-ī/ū-tīng-tsē-uī
Which date and what time do you prefer? 
汝愛底時佮幾點 goá-ài-tī-sî-kah-kuí-tiám
Which seat do you prefer? 
汝愛坐佗一位? lí-ài-tsē-tó-tsi̍t-uī
I want the seat positioned at the second row and third column 
Ticket counter 
賣票口 bē/bué-phiò-kháu
Ticket Machine 
賣票機 bē/bué-phiò-ki
Buy Transport Ticket 
買車票 bé-tshia-phiò/bué-tshia-phiò
Transport Card 
交通卡 kau-thong-khah
Pay deposit 
付定金/押金 hù-tiānn-kim/hù-ah-kim
Collect Refund (for deposit) 
領退款 niá-thè-khuán
Top-Up/Recharge Transport Card 
充卡 tshiong-ka/共交通卡提去充錢 kah-kau-thong-khah-the̍h-khì-tshiong-tsînn
Scan Transport Card on card reader 
佇讀卡器掃描交通卡 tī-tha̍k-khah-ki-sàu-biâu-kau-thong-khah
Scan QR code on code reader 
佇代碼讀數器掃描二維碼 tī-tāi-bé-tha̍k-sòo-ki-sàu-biâu-jī/lī-uî-bé
I am unable to move through the ticket barrier 
我袂使通过檢票口 goá-bē/buē-sái-thong-kuè/kè-kiám-phiò-kháu
How many passengers? 
Two passengers 
One Transport ticket 
一張車票 tsi̍t-tiunn-tshia-phiò
How much is one ticket? 
What is the total cost? 
Which place are you going to? 
(Southern Fujian, Mainland China : 汝欲去倒落? lí-beh/bueh-khì-tó-lo̍h?) ; (Taiwan : 汝欲去佗位? lí-beh/bueh-khì-tó-uī?) ; 汝欲去佗一个所在? lí-beh/bueh-khì-tó-tsi̍t-ê-sóo-tsāi
How long does it take for the bus/train to reach the destination? 
(Southern Fujian, Mainland China : 車愛坐偌久才會到目的地?tshia-ài-tsē-guā-kú-tsiah-ē-kàu-bo̍k-tik-tuē); (Taiwan : 車愛坐偌久才會到位?tshia-ài-tsē-guā-kú-tsiah-ē-kàu-uī)
It takes approximately about 1 hour 45 minutes. 
量約一點鐘四十五分鐘 liōng-iok-tsi̍t-tiám-tsing-sì-tsa̍p-gōo-hun-tsing
Where does this bus/train go to? 
(Southern Fujian, Mainland China : 這幫車去倒落? tsit-pang-tshia-khì-tó-lo̍h?) ; (Taiwan : 這幫車去佗位? tsit-pang-tshia-khì-tó-uī?) ; 這幫車去佗一个所在? tsit-ê-tshia-khì-tó-tsi̍t-ê-sóo-tsāi
Does this bus/train go to this place ? 
What time does this bus/train leave? 
What time will this bus/train arrive? 
Driver Please stop! 
司機 拜託,等我!我欲上車 su-ki pài thok,tán-goá!goá-beh/bueh-tsiūnn-tshia.


How do I get to ____? 
[?] 按怎去 (mbay ahndswah kee ____?)
...the train station? 
火車站 hué-chhia-chām / (whey chiah dyoo?)
...the bus station? 
(kay-wun dyoo?)
...the airport? 
(whey-deng-gee dyoo?)
(chee dyong sheemg?)
...the hotel? 
旅館 lú-kuán (*lee-guang?)
...the restaurant? 
飯店 pn̄g-tiàm (bung-diam?)
Where are there a lot of ____? 
(Dway oo jote-tsay ____?)
Do you have a map? 
(*lee gah-oo day-doh?)
路 lō͘/lo̍h (*loh)
倒 tò (duh) / 左 chó
正 chiàⁿ (jyah)
turn left 
倒[?] (duh wah)
straight ahead 
直直去 tı̍t-tı̍t khı̀ (dee-deet kee) / 直直行 ti̍t-ti̍t kiâⁿ (dee-deet gyah)


計程車 kè-thîng-tshia(gay-dyen chiah)
Drive me to ____ 
[?]我去 ____。 (dzai wah kee ____)
How much to go ____ 
欲去 ____幾箍? beh khì ____ kuí khoo?(mbay kee ____ gwee koh)?


Do you have any rooms available? 
有房間無 ū pâng-king bô? (Oo bahn-gyun mbo?)
How much for one room? 
一間[?]? (Jeet gyun, wah-tsay gyee?)
One person 
一個人 chı̍t-ê-lâng (dzeday lahng)
Two persons 
兩個人 n̄ng-ê-lâng (nungay lahng)
Does it have ____? 
敢有____? kám-ū ____ ? (Gah oo ____ ?)
a bathroom 
便所 piān-só͘? (beng soh?)
a telephone 
電話 tiān-ōe (dyung way?)
a TV 
電視 tiān-sī
May I see it first? 
[?]先看?(Gah-ay-dahng shung kwah?)
Do you have something more ____? 

kám-ū kah|khah (Gah oo kah)

大的 tōa-ê (dwah-ay)
俗的 sio̍k-ê (shohg-ay)
OK, I'll sleep here for ____ nights. 
好,[?]暗 Huh, mbay-kuhng ____ ahm.
Is there another hotel? 
[?]有[?] 旅館 (Gah oo bahg-ay *lee-guang?)
What time is breakfast? 
早頓幾點? (Dzah-dun gwee-diam?)
Please clean my room 
拜託 我的 房間 (Pbai toh kyeng wah-ay bahn-gyun)
Can you wake me at ... ? 
,好無?... gah-way gyuh kiah, huhbuh?


Have some tea 
飲茶 lim tê
Make tea 
泡茶 phàu tê
早頓 chá-tǹg (dzah-dun)
中頓 tiong-tǹg
暗頓 àm-tǹg
點心 tiám-sim
I want... 
我欲 góa beh (gwah beh)
茶 tê (teh)
咖啡 ka-pi (kopi)
Chicken Meat
雞肉 ke-bah/koe-bah (bah = meat)
Beef Meat
牛肉 gû-bah
雞卵 ke-nn̄g/koe-nn̄g
水果 chúi-kó, 果子 kóe-chí/ké-chí
菜 chhài
魚仔 hî-á (hee-ah) / 魚 hî/hû (hhu2/hhw2; sounds like a long 'huh' without the vowel)
pahng (from Portugese) / (bin taw) / 麵包 mī-pau (mee-bao)
麵 mı̄ (mee)
Rice (uncooked) 
米 bı́ (bee)
Rice (cooked) 
飯 pn̄g (buhng)
啤酒 (bee chiu)
鹽 iâm (yahm)
hyahm / 胡椒粉 hô͘-chio-hún (hhoh chjio hun)
Done eating 
食飽了 chia̍h-pá-liáu (jyah pah lyow)
Good to eat 
好食 hó-chia̍h (huh jyah)
Good to drink 
好啉 hó-lim (huh lim)


Basic Necessities[edit]

Basic Necessities 
生活用品 sing-ua̍h-iōng-phín
Mineral Water 
礦泉水 khòng-tsuânn-tsuí
齒抿 khí-bín
齒膏 khí-ko
洗衫粉 sé/sué-sann-hún
茶箍 tê-kho͘
洗頭液 sé/sué-thâu-i̍k
clothes hanger 
衫仔弓 sann-á-king/ 衫架仔 sann-kè-á
巾仔 kin/kun-á
紙巾 tsuá-kin/kun
Toilet Paper 
衛生紙 uē-sing-tsuá


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