Ep07: Forever 25 | Guá jī-tsa̍p-gōo huè 我二十五歲

Ep07: Forever 25 | Guá jī-tsa̍p-gōo huè 我二十五歲
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In this episode, we’ve learned how to count from 11-99 in Taiwanese and talked about some cultural differences on thinking about numbers, counting age and using the calendar.

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

tsa̍p-it

tsa̍p-

tsa̍p-sann

tsa̍p-

tsa̍p-gōo

11

12

13

14

15

tsa̍p-la̍k

tsa̍p-tshit

tsa̍p-peh

tsa̍p-káu

jī-tsa̍p

16

17

18

19

20

*Syllables that require tone changes are greyed out.

Note that the “one” and “two” are different from the form we’ve learned in the previous episode. For 11, 21, 31, 41, and so on, we use “it”, and for 12, 20, 22, 32, and so on, we use “”.

jī-tsa̍p-it

jī-tsa̍p-

jī-tsa̍p-sann

jī-tsa̍p-

jī-tsa̍p-gōo

21

22

23

24

25

jī-tsa̍p-la̍k

jī-tsa̍p-tshit

jī-tsa̍p-peh

jī-tsa̍p-káu

sann-tsa̍p

26

27

28

29

30

From 30 onwards, the numbers are quite regular:

sì-tsa̍p

gōo-tsa̍p

la̍k-tsa̍p

tshit-tsa̍p

peh-tsa̍p

káu-tsa̍p

40

50

60

70

80

90

Numbers are a great place where you can practice hearing the tone changes. You can also check out our Pronounce it Like a Pro series where we have an episode focused just on tone changes.

SENTENCES AND VOCABULARY

TAIWANESE

ENGLISH

--gue̍h

-month (as a suffix)

Pronunciation note: when you are talking about a specific month, “--gue̍h” is in the neutral tone unless followed by a date. This means the last syllable of the numbered month keeps its original tone, and then “--gue̍h” loses its original tone and is “neutralized” to a shorter and lighter syllable that often sounds similar to a third or fourth tone.

It--gue̍h / Tsiann--gue̍h

January; the 1st month of the (lunar) calendar

--gue̍h

February; the 2nd month of the (lunar) calendar

Tsa̍p-it--gue̍h

November; the 11th month of the (lunar) calendar

Lí kuí huè?

How old are you?

huè

year(s) old

tsi̍t huè

1 year old

nn̄g huè

2 years old

jī-tsa̍p-gōo huè

25 years old

tsa̍p-jī senn-siùnn

the 12 animal zodiac

Culture note: in Taiwan, every year is assigned an animal sign as part of the zodiac. There are a total of 12 symbolic animals associated with a 12-year cycle. It is also used in India and Vietnam but some animals are different from the ones used in Taiwan.

CULTURAL POINTS ON AGE IN TAIWAN

1. “Tâi-uân huè” The Taiwanese way of counting age

Traditionally, when a baby is born, Taiwanese people start counting the age from one, not zero. Everyone ages one more year together during the Lunar New Year, which is usually late-January or in February. Nowadays, the western way of calculating age is used for official purposes.

2. “Tsa̍p-jī senn-siùnn” The 12-animal zodiac

Another interesting thing about the calendar year and talking about age in Taiwan is that every year is assigned an animal sign as part of the zodiac. There are a total of 12 symbolic animals associated with a 12-year cycle.

When talking about age, instead of asking or saying how many years old someone is, some Taiwanese people would just use their zodiac sign.

3. Avoiding the number 9

In Taiwan, some people believe that any age ending in 9 will be a year where there’s a high risk of a major accident or disaster. So, they avoid celebrating a birthday when they’re 19, 29, 39 years old and so on.

For example at the age of 39, some people will say something like “38 + 1” years old. It’s just like at the restaurant, when the host wants to avoid saying 4 guests/people (“sì ê lâng” which sounds like “dead people” in Taiwanese), they will say “3 + 1” guests. Some others would just skip that year, and say they are already 40 years old.

TONE 8 - WU̍T?! (Shock!)

Tone 8 is a High Stop tone. It starts in the high part of your voice, and then abruptly stops. You can think of it like in English, if someone tells you something shocking, and you can’t believe it, you might say, “Wut?!” (Shock!).

We’ve learned a few words that are Tone 8:

la̍k” (six)

tsa̍p” (ten)

We encourage you to re-listen and pay special attention to “la̍k” and “tsa̍p” in this and the previous episode. You can also check out our workbook for some exercises on Tone 8.

Also, try to listen carefully to the numbers 16 “tsa̍p-la̍k” and 60 “la̍k-tsa̍p”, and see if you can hear the tone changes. Since the first Tone 8 syllable changes to a Tone 4, it should sound lower than the second syllable, which is in the original Tone 8.

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!

PLEASE NOTE: Audio for this week's workbook will be available on 11/4. Our sincere apologies for the delay.


Visit the Taiwanese Cultural Expo - November 2019 - Kaohsiung, Taiwan


Music Credit: TeknoAXE

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