Ep05: What is that? | He sī siánn-mih 彼是啥物?

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Bite-size Taiwanese | Newbie
Ep05: What is that? | He sī siánn-mih 彼是啥物?

In this episode, we’ve learned how to say “what is this?” and “what is that?”.

(These show notes use tables and rich formatting. Please visit the episode webpage for an optimal viewing experience.)

He siánn(-mih)? What is that?
Tse siánn(-mih)? What is this?
He That
Tse This
To be (is/am/are, was/were); it is
siánn what
siánn-mih what
tshài-tshī-á traditional market
Tsetāu-ki” This is “tāu-ki” (a sweet, orange or reddish condiment made out of wheat gluten)
ô-á-tsian oyster omelette
tshang-á-piánn scallion pancake
muê rice porridge, congee

*Syllables that require tone changes are greyed out.


Tone 1 is a High Flat tone. It starts high in your voice and then is held flat over the length of the syllable. Think of a doctor telling you to open your mouth and say “Ahhhhhhh”.

Tone 1 syllables are written without any tone mark and do not end in -p, -t, -k, or -h.

We’ve learned a few words that are Tone 1:

tse” (this)

he” (that)

tsin” (really, truly)

sing” (first)

We encourage you to relisten and pay special attention to the high flat melody of “tse” and “he”. You can also check out our workbook for some exercises on Tone 1.

If you want to know what tones the other syllables have changed to, we’ve marked them for you in our downloadable workbook. You'll also find additional vocabulary with characters, pronunciation notes, grammar explanations, culture tips, and fun exercises to help your practice. Go check it out!

Music Credit: TeknoAXE

2 replies on “ Ep05: What is that? | He sī siánn-mih 彼是啥物? ”
  1. Hey, I got a question: You greyed out ‘Tse sī’ and ‘He sī’ but when you said these words they maintained their original tone. Shouldn’t they be written in black then? I love your work but it’s just a little confusing because I want to be able to remember the correct tones and tone changes but not always have to listen to the episode again.

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