Learn Hokkien Words Through Hokkien Songs

hokkian song
黃一飛 Huang Yi-Fei【一百萬】Official Music Video

By Michelle Tan | Epoch Times Staff

Hokkien songs are known for being expressive and entertaining. Through catchy melodies, the happiness and sadness of ordinary people’s lives, as well as their dreams (and daydreams) are vividly told.

Listening to Hokkien songs is a fun way to learn some hokkien words while enjoying the music; and who knows, maybe you could wow your relatives during one of the family KTV sessions.

Big Dreams of 1990s Style — If I Had A Million Dollars

Although released in 2006, Freddie Huang Yi Fei’s hit song One Million Dollars (一百万) is more reminiscent of the 1990s and how happiness was typically characterised in that era—indulging in delicacies and travelling around the world.

Fans of Jack Neo’s movies may be familiar with this song, as it was the theme song of Money No Enough 2.

Here’s the song.

For those who do not understand Hokkien, the song depicts what a bachelor dreams he would do if he had a million dollars: get a house, a car, a girlfriend and travel around the world.

Here are some fun Hokkien words from the song.

Pai Seh

“Pai seh” is commonly used to express embarrassment or to apologise. The lyrics of the song reveal pai seh’s little-known Chinese characters, “歹势” .

Tua Han

“Tua han” means growing up.

During Chinese New Year, grandparents would often say to their grandchildren “ah nih tua han”, which means “you’ve grown up so much!” Among younger generations, this phrase has largely fallen out of use.

Bo Chia Bo Chu

It feels a bit sad to have to say “bo chia bo chu”, which means having neither car nor property.

Chua Bo

The ultimate dream of every bachelor — “chua bo”, meaning to marry a girl.

Seh Kai

“Seh Kai” means world — but hold on, why does it sound so similar to “Sekai”, the Japanese word of the exact same meaning?

Although Hokkien has a reputation of being a street language in Singapore, it actually has a history of over 1600 years. Both Japanese and Hokkien were greatly influenced by the Chinese language spoken during the Tang Dynasty.

Lim Ko Pi

“Lim” means to drink and “ko pi” means coffee. Put together, the phrase means to drink coffee.

In a similar vein, “lim teh” means to drink tea and “lim tsui” means to drink water.

Ji Pa Ban

Finally, the title of the song “Ji Pa Ban” means one milllion.

Full lyrics of the song with Hokkien pronunciation:

若是我有一百万

nah sih gua wu ji pa ban

一百万

ji pa ban

我有一百万

gua wu ji pa ban

一世人就轻松

jit si lang tio kin san

无讲无人知

bo kong bo lang jai

讲到真歹势

kong tio chin pai seh

彼呢大汉 

chiak kak hia nih tua han

不曾坐飞机

ko mm pat je puey kee

打拼彼多年

pah piah hua chuey ni

无车无厝搁无爱人

bo chia bo chu ko bo ai lin

看人娶某搁做生意

kua lang chua bo ko chuey sing di

有钱搁有势

wu jii ko wu seng

若是我有一百万

nah si gua wu ji pa ban

我要坐飞机

wa beh je puey kee

若是我有一百万

nah si gua wu ji pa ban

我要买车买厝

wa beh buey chia buey chu

若是我有一百万

nah si gua wu ji pa ban

我要坐飞机

wa beh je puey kee

若是我有一百万

nah si gua wu ji pa ban

我要买车买厝

wa beh buey chia buey chu

我要游世界

wa beh ew seh kai

HAWAII 晒太阳

Hawaii sai tai yang

日本吃寿司

lit pun chiak su shi

山珍甲海味

sang ting ka hai bi

啥人卡福气

siang lang ka ho kih

来乎我做某

lai hor wa cho bo

我要游世界

wa beh ew seh kai

义大利饮咖啡

ee tah li lim ko pi

路边吃 Spaghetti

loh pi chiak speh ge ti (Loh pi chiak speh ge ti)

买店来收租

buey tiam lai siu chor

闲闲免做工

eng eng bien cho kang

带狗去散步

chua kow ki san por

若是我有一百万

nah sih gua wu ji pa ban

一百万

ji pa ban

若是你有欠用钱

nah sih li wu kiam eng ji

开嘴免客气

kui chui bien keh ki

若是我有一百万

nah sih gua uh ji pa ban

一百万

ji pa ban

十千八千拿去用

chap cheng puay cheng teh ki eng

免还嘛无问题 (完全不是问题)

bien huan ma boh bun tuey

若是我有一百万

nah sih gua uh ji pa ban

一百万

ji pa ban

朋友啊,你想一百万真多啊!

peng yu eh, li siong ji pa ban, chin chuay ah?

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