All set for your Singapore trip? Got your Singapore visa? Booked your flight tickets? Sorted your accommodations?
Looks like you are all set to fly away and start exploring everything that the beautiful country has to offer!
But what about communicating with locals? Or bargaining with the shopkeepers? Or asking for directions incase you are lost? Or even enquiring about the next bus or train or just a cab to reach your next destination?
Speaking a local language would definitely be an added advantage for your Singapore trip.
Singapore has four major languages – English, Malay, Tamil and Mandarin, apart from this, the locals also speak “Singlish” which is a very peculiar language spoken by mixing English with various local dialects and not bound by rules of grammar.
As a lot of people in Singapore speak and understand English, you don’t have to worry about facing the language barrier, but if you come across someone who does not, you can use the below mentioned phrases in the other official languages of Singapore.
Some Common Phrases in Malay with translations:
- To-long! – Help!
- Apa kabar – Hello
- Se la mat jalan – Good bye
- Terima kasih – Thank you
- Ya – Yes
- Teedak – No
- Ta-hoo-kah ber -da ha sa Ingris? – Do you speak English?
- Sa-ya tee dak fa-ham – I don’t understand
- Sama sama – Same
Some Common Phrases in Mandarin with translations:
- Ni hao (Nee how) – Hello
- Duì bú qi (dweì bú chi) – Excuse me
- Ni huì jiang Yingyu ma? (Nee hueijeeang Ying you ma) – Do you speak English
- Wo demingzi shi… (Wuo duh mingzuhshih…) – My name is…
- Péngyou (pung yo) – Friends
- Xiè xiè (shièh shièh) – Thank you
- Qing (ching) – Please
- Wo ting bù dong – I don’t understand
- Ni hao ma? (Nee how ma) – How are you?
- Hen hao (hun hao) – Very good
- Zaìjiàn (dsaì jiàn) – Good bye
- Weí xiàn (way shien) – Danger
Some Common Phrases in Tamil with translations:
- Alo! – Hi!
- Eppadi irukkinga?/Nalamaa? – How are you?
- Nienga? – And you?
- Nallaa irukéan!/Nalam!/Nandri! – I’m fine, thanks!
- Sari – Good
- Enakku udhavi seivienkala? – Can you help me?
- Romba Nandri – Thank you
- Paravaa illa – You’re welcome! (in response to Thank you)
- Mannikanum/ Alo! – Excuse me!
- Vaazhga! – Welcome! (to greet someone)
- Oru nimidam! – One moment please!
- Kaalai Vanakkam – Good morning!
- Maalai Vanakkam – Good evening!
- Iravu vanakkam – Good night!
- Poittu varén! – Goodbye!
Some Common Phrases in Singlish with translations:
- Ok lah – Ok
- Alamak! – What!/Oh, my gosh!
- Kopi Oh – Black Coffee
- Kopi Ais – Iced Coffee
- One Chicken Rice da bao – One chicken rice to take away
- Where bas? – Where is the bus stop?
- Wah liao so expensive lah – Good grief this is expensive
- Not good one lah – Not good
- Corright – Correct
- Repeat again or Ha? – I can’t hear you/ Can you repeat?
- How can lah? – How is that possible?
- Dun lai dat lah – Don’t be like that
- He so blur lah – He doesn’t know what he is doing
- Don’t be so kiasu lah – Don’t be so aggressive/hard/difficult
- I fly SQ lah – I am flying Singapore Airlines
We hope the above commonly used phrases come in handy during your trip.
Knowing these basic phrases will definitely help you communicate more clearly with the locals who are not fluent in English These phrases can come in handy incase you require some help or want to initiate conversation or just want to establish new friendships.
If you would like to add any more Singlish phrases which we may have missed, please feel free to comment below.
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