My Island Penang

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Penang Hokkiens

A sprinkling of Hokkien will light up your day, put a smile on us locals when we hear foreigners making an effort to talk

Penang Hokkiens, this language is commonly spoken and loved by many as you can see when you visit us.

Don't be surprised when you hear our local Indians speaking Hokien or Chinese speaking Tamil, or Malays speaking in fluent Hokkien to their Chinese friends.

It won't be surprising at all too, if you see the 3 races speaking Penang Hokkiens together. Most locals could speak a minimum of 3 to 4 languages or dialects.

They don't go to learn the Hokkien language in center. But if you do want to learn, there is private tuition given. Penang Hokkiens dialect is easy, you can listen and pick up when the locals talk.

Bahasa Malaysia is the national language. English, our second language is widely used in business, education and the tourism industry.

As Penang was (and still is) a meeting point of many cultures, other languages and dialects are also spoken and understood here. Penang Hokkiens is widely spoken.

These include the various Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka, Hokkien, Taochiew) and Indian (Bengali, Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, Punjabi and Telegu) dialects, as well as several dashes of Thai, Myammar, Nepalese and some European languages.

You may want to impress our people with a few phrases of Malay, Mandarin or Hokkien now and then. It might be useful to learn a few Chinese phrases too. Please have fun learning to speak like us.

Refer to the table below. Listed below are our local languages or dialects: Mandarin, Hokkien, Bahasa Melayu.

English Spoken Malay Penang Hokkiens Mandarin
Good morning Selamat pagi Gau Cha Zao An
Good afternoon Selamat tengahari n/a Wu an
Good evening Selamat petang n/a Wu an
Good night Selamat malam n/a Wan an
Goodbye Selamat jalan Ban Ban Kiea Zai jian
Thank You Terima Kasih Kam Sia Xie Xie
Hello Hai or Ello Lu Hoe Bor Ni Hao
No Tidak Mm Ci Bu shi
Yes Ya Ci Shi
My name is Nama saya Gua Mia Ci Wo ming jiao
How are you? Apa khabar? Lu Hoe Bor? Ni hao ma?
I am fine Khabar baik Gua Hoe Hen hao
How much? Berapa harga? Kui Looi Duo sao qian?
What is this? Apa ini? Har Me Lai? Ze shi shen me?
Me Saya Gua Wo
You Awak Lu Ni
He/she Dia Ee Ta
We Kami Gua lang Wo men
They Mereka Ee Lang Ta men
Where Di mana Ta Lok Zai nali
I don't understand Saya tidak faham Gua bor beng pek Wo bu ming bai
Excuse me Minta Maaf n/a n/a
Do you speak English? Tau ka kamu cakap Bahasa Inggeris? Eh heow kong Ang Moo Wah bor? n/a
Help Tolong Kiew mia n/a
Please bring the menu Tolong bawa saya mennu Gia har gua men nu n/a
Please bring me the bill To ong bawa saya bil Gia bill lai n/a

For serious learners or if you like our Hokkien rhymes and Ditties, here are one food for thought:

Nyonya Hokkien Sayings

Mm chai, ai chai, bo phai say mooi, toe chai
Mm chai, ai chai, bo ai mooi, kooi si lang gong tai

Not to know and to ask is but a moment's shame
Not to know and not to ask is a life time of fools mind

A teaser and advise to people
Ask if you need information, or forever be doom.

One we tease our Grandparents: :)

Urm mong mong

Niau choo kong

Ah Mah choey Ah Kong

Ah Kong pek khi chang

Ah Mah choey bo lang

Total darkness
Big Rat King
Grandma searches for Grandpa
Grandpa climbs up a tree
Grandma can't find anyone


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