50 Important Words in Penang Hokkien is written specially for the benefit of those who already speak Penang Hokkien as a mother tongue, and are keen to learn to write it. Rather than overwhelming yourself with thousands of words in the dictionary, you should begin your journey by learning and memorizing the spelling of the first 50 important words that you will use regularly.
These 50 Important Words in Penang Hokkien are selected based on their regular appearance in sentences. From these fifty words, you can build your vocabulary by adding more words according to your own situation. Each of the words are listed in the citation form, and if available with the sandhi form in brackets, following by example of usage.
wah4 (wah1 )
Meaning: I (me, my, mine)
Ie1 kio3 wah4. He calls me.
Wah1 kio3 ie1. I call him.
lu4 (lu1 )
Meaning: you (your)
Ee1 lai3 choay3 lu4. She comes to see you.
Lu1 co3 ha1mik1? What are you doing?
Meaning: he (him, his)
Ie1 mia3 Ah Huat. He is called Ah Huat./His name is Ah Huat.
Wah1 chua3 ie1 khee3. I took him there.
Meaning: she (her, hers)
Ee1 cu1 ciak1. She is cooking.
Wah1 beh4 cit1-leh1 mi3knia3 hor33 ee1. I bought this thing for her.
lang2 (lang3 )
Meaning: people; plural form of pronouns
Wah1lang2 tua3 cit1-peng2. We live here.
Uh33 lang3 boh3 lai2. There are people who didn't come.
eh2 (eh3 )
Meaning: possession ('s)
Ah Huat-eh3 chia1. Ah Huat's car.
Wah1-eh3 chu3. My house.
Cit1-leh1 bag cui33-cui33 lang2 eh2? Whose bag is this? (literally, this bag who person possession?)
Cit1-leh1 mi3knia3 e33 co1 ha1mik1? What can this thing do?
Ie1 be33 kong1 wa33. He cannot talk.
e33sai4 (e33sai1 )
Meaning: can, to be allowed
E33sai4 boh2? Can I?/(Am I) allowed? (literally, can or not?)
Lu1 e33sai1 ciak1 liau4. You can/are allowed to eat already.
be33sai4 (be33sai1 )
Lu1 be33sai1 jip1 lai2. You are not allowed to enter.
Meaning: there is/there are; has/have
Uh33 lang3 choay3 lu4. There's someone looking for you.
Ie1 uh33 cit3-teng1 chia1. He has a car.
boh2 (boh3 )
Meaning: not, or not
Ie1 lai2 liau4 boh2? Has he come? (literally, he came already or not?)
Ie1 boh3 lai2. He didn't come.
ai3 (ai1 )
Meaning: want, like
Lu4 ai3 tok1 cit3 leh2? Which one do you want? (literally, you want which one?)
Ee1 ai1 ciak1 liau4. She wants to eat already.
mai3 (mai1 )
Meaning: do not want, do not like
Ie1lang2 mai1 lai2 They don't want to come.
Mai1 phnai1seh3. Don't be shy./ Don't stand on ceremony.
mm33thang1 (mm33thang3 )
Mm33thang3 co1 luan3. Don't make noise.
Mm33thang3 jip1 lai2. Don't come in.
Meaning: to give, for
Ie1 hor33 lu4 ha1mik1? What does he give you?
Kong4 hor33 wah1 thnia1. Tell me. (literally, say for me to hear.)
Wah1 co3 hor3 ie1. I do it for him.
cin3 / cin3cnia1
Wah4-eh3 chu3 cin3 se1 keng1. My house is very small.
Ie1-eh3 snaeh1mia3 cin3cnia1 khan3khor4. His life is very difficult.
Meaning: a lot of, much
Ie1-eh3 lui1 cin3 ce33. He has a lot of money. (literally, his money very much)
kam1siah33 ce33-ce33. Thank you very much.
than3 (than1 )
Meaning: to get
Ie1 than3 cin3 ce33 lui1. He gets a lot of money.
Meaning: is (are, was, were); yes
Cit1-leh1 si33 ha1mik1? What is this?
Ie1 si33 lo1kun1. He is a doctor.
Ie1 si33 lo1kun1 nia2? Si33. Is he a doctor? Yes.
Meaning: at, located/situated
Ie1-eh3 pen ti1 cit1-peng2. His pen is (over) here.
Wah1-eh3 chia1 ti1 chu3. My car is at home.
Cit1-leh1 kui1 lui1? How much is this?
Meaning: one item, a piece
Cit3-leh2 kui1 lui1? How much is one?
Heh1-leh1 khah1 kui3. That is more expensive.
Tan4 cit1-peng2. Wait here.
Uh33 ha1mik1 ti1 heh1-peng2? What's there? (literally, got what at there?)
Meaning: thing, item, stuff
Wah1lang2 khee1 ciak3 mi3knia3. We go for a meal. (literally, we go to eat things)
Cit1-leh1 si33 ha1mik1 mi3knia3? What is this thing?
Lu4 co1 ha1mik1? What are you doing?
co3 (co1 )
Meaning: to do
Lu1 co1 ha1mik1 mi3knia3? What are you doing? (literally, you do what thing?)
Ie1 boh3 co1 pnua1hang3. He doesn't do anything.
Cui33-cui33 choay3 wah4? Who is looking for me?
Wah1-eh3 chaek3 ti1 ta1lok1? Where is my book?
Cui33-cui33 khah1 lau33? Who is older? (literally, more old)
ka1 (ka3 )
Wah1 khee1 ok3tng2 ka1 ie1. I go to school with him.
Wah1 ka3 lu1 kong4. Let me tell you. (literally, I with you say.)
Wah1 kah1 ie1 khee1 ok3tng2. I and he go to school.
Wah1 khee1 ban3san1 beh1 hu2 kah1 chye3. I go to market to buy fish and vegetables.
to3long2 (to3long3 )
Meaning: please, kindly; help
To3long3 lai2 cit1-peng2. Please come here.
Wah4 to3long2 ie1. I help him.
Meaning: already (to form perfect tense)
Wah1 co3 liau4. I do already./I've done it.
Wah1 co3 boh3 liau4 gok3. I haven't finished doing it.
Meaning: in the midst of (to form continuous tense)
Wah4 jip1 lai2 eh2 si2, ie1lang2 tua1 kong1 wa33. When I come in, they were talking.
tua3 (tua1 )
Meaning: to live, to stay
Lu4 tua3 ta1lok1? Where do you live?
Ie1 tua1 lau2. He is hospitalized. (literally, he stays in hospital.)
Ie1-eh3 chu3 cin3 tua33 keng1. His house is very big.
se3 (se1 )
Wah1-eh3 chu3 cin3 se1 keng1. My house is very small.
khee3 (khee1 )
Meaning: to go; away (away from speaker)
Wah1 khee1 Ipoh. I go to Ipoh.
Ie1 khee3 Bangkok tnui4 lai2 liau4. He has returned from Bangkok. (literally, he goes to Bangkok come back already.)
Ie1 knia2 khee3. He walked away.
lai2 (lai3 )
Meaning: to come; over here (towards speaker)
Lu4 ta1lok1 lai2 eh2? Where do you come from? (literally, you where come one?)
Lai3 ciak3 pnui3. Come have (your) meal.
Ie1 knia2 lai2. He walked over here.
khi4 (khi1 )
Meaning: to go up
Jit3thau2 khi4 lai2. The sun rises. (literally, the sun comes up.)
Ie1 paek3 khi1 snua1. He climbs up the hill.
beh4 (beh1 )
Meaning: to buy
Ie1 khee1 beh1 chye3. He goes to buy vegetables.
Ie1 beh4 cin3 ce3 mi3knia3 ta3pi1 chye3 ie1 be33ki1 beh4. He bought a lot of things but forgot to buy vegetables.
Meaning: to sell
Wah1 tua3 pasar malam beh33 mi3knia3. I sell things at the night market.
Wah4 choay3 cit3si1keh3 ta3pi1 choay3 boh2. I searched everywhere but couldn't find it.
Ie1 boh3 than1 tnui4 eng3-goay33 ie1-eh3 kang1 co3 be33 leow4. He cannot get to go home because his work cannot finish.
A33si33 lu1 khee1 ban3san1, beh1 bak3 hor33 wah4. If you're going to the market, buy meat for me.
Meaning: yet (in questions)
Ciak3 pa4 boey3? Have you eaten yet?
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