In this episode, we’ve learned how to show thanks and respond.
These show notes use tables and rich formatting. Please visit the episode webpage for an optimal viewing experience.
|To-siā!||Thanks! / Thanks a lot!|
|Kám-siā!||Thanks! / I appreciate it.|
|Bē (--lah!) / Buē (--lah!)||No worries! / Not at all!|
|Bián kheh-khì!||My pleasure! / You’re welcome!|
*Syllables that require tone changes have been greyed out.
|bē / buē||not, isn’t, won’t, can’t|
|bián||no need, need not|
|tsin||really, truly, very|
|kheh-khì||polite, courteous, reserved|
The most common way to show thanks in Taiwanese is to say “to-siā!”. You can use it when receiving a gift, help from a friend, or simply as a polite gesture after you’ve been served by a store clerk or waiter. “Kám-siā” is very similar to “to-siā”, except that it has a slight emphasis on feeling grateful for what someone else has done for you.
If you want to stress a bit more how thankful you are, you can add a “tsin”, which means “really, truly”:
Thanks so much!
Thanks, I really appreciate it!
To reply, you can say “bē” or “bē--lah”, both meaning “not at all”, “no worries”, “not a problem”. The difference is that the sentence final particle “--lah” adds a friendly tone here, as if you are insisting: “No, no, no, not at all! Come on, it’s nothing!”
Sometimes people may also say “bián kheh-khì”. It literally means “you don’t have to be so polite or courteous”. You can understand it as: feel free, don’t hesitate to ask for my help, it’s my pleasure, you’re welcome. Similarly, to sound more friendly you may also add a “--lah” and say “Bián kheh-khì--lah!”
If you listen closely to Taiwanese daily conversation, you will notice many little particles like “--ah”, “--lah”, “--neh”, “--ooh” are used at the end of a sentence. Each of them adds a certain mood and nuance. We won’t get into the details here but try to listen for those particles and pay attention to the context in which they appear. Mastering them will make you sound very Taiwanese!
As we see in this lesson, to-siā, kám-siā and bē all have a flat diacritic mark on the last syllable. They actually sound flat, too. This Mid Level Tone is conventionally categorized as Tone 7.
We encourage you to relisten to the audio and pay special attention to “tsin to-siā”. All of the syllables in this phrase are Mid Level Tone because the first two syllables also change to Tone 7. The three consecutive flat tones sound just like when you’re singing “jingle bells, jingle bells”.
Try humming the tune a couple of times, and you will get Tone 7. Just remember to start your key at the middle range of your normal speech, which is usually quite low, because the pitch range we use when speaking is normally narrower and lower than when we sing.
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