Useful phrases for the visitor to Singapore

Useful phrases for the visitor to Singapore

Useful phrases for the visitor to Singapore

People from all over the world visit Singapore, for the beautiful sunshine, the charming culture and the calm, tranquillity of the lifestyle. If you are planning a trip to Singapore, you'll be happy to know that English is widely spoken across the majestic island. Yet it is but one of four recognised by the government, the other three being Malay, Chinese and Tamil. So, before you jet off, you would be best advised to at least pick up a few choice phrases from those three. Here are a few suggestions, rendered phonetically and a few words the languages themselves.


13% of Singaporeans speak Malayan as their main language and is a huge part of the state's tradition. In fact, the national anthem is sung in Malay.

Yes: Ya

No: Teedak

Do you speak English?: Ta hook ah ber da ha sa Ingris?

I do not understand: Sa ya tee dak fa ham

Help: To long


Spoken as the main language by most of the Chinese population, it has been popular in the island since the 20s. Though, in the past, many other Chinese languages were spoken on the island, since the 70s there has been a drive to unite the Chinese populations by encouraging them all to speak Mandarin.

Hello - Nee how

Please – Ching

Thank you - Shieh shieh

Do you speak English - Nee huei jeeang Ying you ma

I don't understand - Wo ting bu don


Tamil is spoken by 2/3 of the Indian population of Singapore. Indians make up about 9.2% of the entire population.

Hello: Vanakkam I

don't understand: Puriyavillai

How much is this?: Idhu Evvalavu?

Thank you: Miga Nandri