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How to Say 'Want' and 'Don't Want' in Hokkien

Published by The LingoNomad

Āi = Want

Use ai to express the idea of wanting something. Examples:

  • Goalang ai khi Singapo. 
    'We want to go to Singapore.'

  • Ako:ng ai cu tampok png, liau i ai khoa tiensi. 
    'Grandpa wants to cook some rice, then he wants to watch TV.'

Māi = Do Not Want

To express the idea of not wanting something, use mai. Examples:

  • I mai ciak ama be e phengko:.
    'He/She does not want to eat the apple grandma bought.'

  • Thai joak liau, goa mai kap phoitoa.
    'It's too hot, I don't want to use the blanket.'

Āi (...) Māi? = Do You Want (...) ?

To ask someone whether they want something, use ai mai consecutively at the end of a sentence. Examples:

  • Thama goalang u be phengko, li ai mai? 
    'We bought apples earlier, do you want some?

  • Ch-peng thai ce png liau, ilang ai mai? 
    'There's too much rice on this side, do they want some?

You can also insert a verb between ai and mai to ask whether they want to do something. Examples:

  • Goa ai khi khoa hi, li ai toi mai? 
    'I want to go watch a movie, do you want to come along?'

  • Ch-le tiennau ho: hakseng cin ho iong, li ai be mai? 
    'This computer is great to use for students, do you want to buy it?

Learn Also

This article was last updated on Monday, 20 January 2020, SGT (UTC+8).

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