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

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 ma 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?

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