True-Blue Singaporean Slangs.

I’ve written about the wonderful linguistic stew they cook up in Singapore here and here, and now (courtesy of John Emerson’s Facebook feed) I bring you Joshua Goh’s TSL Magazine post “20 Slangs Only A True Blue Singaporean Will Know.” It’s a lot of fun (if probably not safe for work); I just have one question: why is 5. 几点了 (What Time Already) not transliterated like all the rest? (If you happen to know how it’s said in Hokkienese/Singaporean, I’m all ears.)


  1. In Singlish it would be transliterated the same way as in Mandarin, i.e. “Ji Dian Le”. I’m not so sure about the Hokkien TL.

    (Singaporean here)

  2. Thanks!

  3. Whoo, trackbacks are on after all!

  4. So in Singaporean Hokkien (more or less the Amoy variant of Min) it would be /kui tiahm liao/ with unaspirated initials. (hope that’s sufficiently unambiguous, too lazy to IPA it). The site referenced is unfortunately not very dependable. For example, wah lau is really most likely the politer version (on the model of what the heck) of the extremely uncouth wah lan which is a reference to one’s membrum virile. My uncle was just bemoaning the widespread use of the phrase by e.g. young women, which would have been unimaginable when he was younger. See: www singlishdictionary com which is helpfully based on citations, OED style.

  5. John Cowan says


  1. […] Language Hat examines language among the Neanderthals and slang in Singapore. […]

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