Colloquial Teochew 《潮州口语》- A Book for Learning Teochew Phrases

If you are keen on learning to understand, speak, or perhaps even write in the Teochew language, you will find here at The Teochew Store no lack of resources to support your goal. Besides a range of dictionaries (including English-Teochew ones) and self-learning guides available from our online store (many are free to download!), we have reviewed and recommended on our blog of a range of useful apps and even a book on Teochew grammar. How many of these resources focus in helping either our knowledge of words or conversational fluency, but less on another important building block in speech, that is phrases.  This is where you may find useful the recently published Colloquial Teochew  (《潮州口语》).

Colloquial Teochew is the result of four years of dedicated work by a Singaporean Teochew Goh Eng Choon (吴英俊), who is also a retired language teacher. It compiles more than 6,000 common Teochew sayings and proverbs, each expressed in Chinese characters accompanied by brief explanations of their meanings in Mandarin and English. If you grew up in a Teochew-speaking environment, particularly in Singapore or Malaysia, you'd find not just a few familiar-sounding expressions that were once part of daily conversations around you!  

For ease of reference, the author has arranged the entries in alphabetical order, according to the Teochew peng'im transliteration of their initial word.








If you are a new learner of Teochew language, you will find useful introductions to the Teochew spelling system and unique eight peng'im tones contained in the book.

Interestingly the book also features separately lists of frequently-used loan words, mostly from Malay or English, and rather amazingly, 37 expressions for different ways to cook. A slight disappointment though, is that the terms in these two lists are not explained in English.  


For its record and preservation of an extensive collection of phrases alone, Colloquial Teochew has to be recognised as an important piece of work. At the same time, it can be of much practical value to those of us wishing to expand our Teochew vocabulary. The book might be more useful to a learner if the author had included full peng'im transliterations for all the listed phrases. But on the other hand, by not having them, we have more reasons to start a conversation with the Teochew speaker at home.  

Colloquial Teochew 《潮州口语》 may be purchased on The Teochew Store from USD15.94 (inclusive of shipping costs) for orders in Singapore; for orders elsewhere price varies with shipping destination. 


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