Ep11: Do you speak Taiwanese? | Lí kám ē-hiáu kóng Tâi-gí 你敢會曉講台語?

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Ep11: Do you speak Taiwanese? | Lí kám ē-hiáu kóng Tâi-gí 你敢會曉講台語?

In this episode, we’ve learned how to say “Do you speak Taiwanese?” and some responses to this question.

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

a-sa-puh-luh vulgar, indecent, messy, disorderly

Culture note: the phrase comes from the Japanese word 朝風呂 (asa-buro), 朝 (asa) means “morning” and 風呂 (furo) means “bath”. People thought it was strange to take baths in the morning since they always took their baths at night after a long day’s work. It came to mean “indecent” and also “disorderly”, “lousy” or “a mess” in Taiwanese.

Lí teh kóng siánn? What did you say? What are you saying?
kóng to speak, to say
Lí kám ē-hiáu kóng Tâi-gí? Can you speak Taiwanese?
kám (Kám is a question word that turns a sentence into a yes-no question. You can think of it as “can it be possible that…”, “is it true that...”)
ē-hiáu can, to know how to

Usage note: usually referring to something that must be learned

bē-hiáu can’t, to not know how to
Guá bē-hiáu kóng Tâi-gí. I can’t speak Taiwanese.
Guá ē-hiáu kóng tām-po̍h-á Tâi-gí. I only speak a little bit of Taiwanese.
tām-po̍h-á a little, slightly
Tâi-guá ē-hiáu thiann, bē-hiáu kóng. I understand but can’t really speak Taiwanese.
Guá thiann-ū. I understand (it).
Guá thiann-bô. I don’t understand (it).
thiann-ū to understand
thiann- to not understand
thiann to listen to
ū to have, to exist
to not have, to not exist
Below are some names of languages we’ve mentioned in this episode.
Tâi-gí / Tâi-uân- Taiwanese language or spoken language

Usage Note:Tâi-” and “Tâi-uân-” are interchangeable. You can hear people say both though maybe “Tâi-” slightly more often.

Tâi-bûn Taiwanese written language or literature
Ing- English language or spoken language
Ing-bûn English written language or English in general
Ji̍t-gí / Ji̍t-pún- Japanese
Tik-gí / Tik-kok- German
Hân-kok- Korean
Huat-gí / Huat-kok- French
Se-pan-gâ-gí / Se-pan-gâ- Spanish
Huâ-gí / Tiong-kok- Mandarin
Tiong-bûn Chinese written language, or sometimes Mandarin
Kok- the national language(s)

Usage Note: you might also hear people refer to Mandarin as “Kok-”. In Dec. 2018, the National Languages Development Act came into effect and officially recognized local languages including Taiwanese. So the term “Kok-” does not exclusively refer to Mandarin any more and has become a controversial term for many.

For more language names and how to talk about your language skills, go check out our downloadable workbook! It also gives you additional vocabulary with characters, pronunciation notes, grammar explanations, culture tips, and fun exercises to help your practice.

Music Credit: TeknoAXE

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