In this episode, we’ve learned how to say “Do you speak Taiwanese?” and some responses to this question.
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|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-gí 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-bô||to not understand|
|thiann||to listen to|
|ū||to have, to exist|
|bô||to not have, to not exist|
|Tâi-gí / Tâi-uân-uē||Taiwanese language or spoken language
Usage Note: “Tâi-gí” and “Tâi-uân-uē” are interchangeable. You can hear people say both though maybe “Tâi-gí” slightly more often.
|Tâi-bûn||Taiwanese written language or literature|
|Ing-gí||English language or spoken language|
|Ing-bûn||English written language or English in general|
|Ji̍t-gí / Ji̍t-pún-uē||Japanese|
|Tik-gí / Tik-kok-uē||German|
|Huat-gí / Huat-kok-uē||French|
|Se-pan-gâ-gí / Se-pan-gâ-uē||Spanish|
|Huâ-gí / Tiong-kok-uē||Mandarin|
|Tiong-bûn||Chinese written language, or sometimes Mandarin|
|Kok-gí||the national language(s)
Usage Note: you might also hear people refer to Mandarin as “Kok-gí”. In Dec. 2018, the National Languages Development Act came into effect and officially recognized local languages including Taiwanese. So the term “Kok-gí” does not exclusively refer to Mandarin any more and has become a controversial term for many.
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Music Credit: TeknoAXE