How to Say Grandma in Hokkien: Formal and Informal Ways, Tips, and Examples

Are you curious about how to say “grandma” in Hokkien? The Hokkien language, also known as Min Nan, is widely spoken by the Hoklo people in southern Fujian province in China, Taiwan, and various other regions with significant Hokkien communities. In this guide, we will explore both formal and informal ways to address your grandma in Hokkien, offering helpful tips and examples along the way.

Formal Ways of Calling Grandma in Hokkien

When speaking formally, you can refer to your grandma as “Ah-ma.” This term shows respect for your grandmother and is widely used across various Hokkien communities. Let’s take a closer look at how to pronounce and write “Ah-ma” in Hokkien using the Romanization system known as Pe̍h-ōe-jī:

  • Pronunciation: Ah-ma
  • Pe̍h-ōe-jī: A-má

The term “Ah-ma” carries a sense of endearment and acknowledges the role of a grandmother in the family. When addressing your grandma formally, it is essential to speak with a gentle tone and show reverence for her wisdom and experience.

Informal Ways of Calling Grandma in Hokkien

If you share a close bond with your grandma and want to use a more affectionate or casual term when calling her, you can use “A-ma-ma.” This term adds an additional syllable to the formal term “Ah-ma” and is often used in a loving and endearing manner.

  • Pronunciation: Ah-ma-ma
  • Pe̍h-ōe-jī: A-má-má

“A-ma-ma” conveys a sense of familiarity, warmth, and affection, making it a great choice for informal situations. It’s important to note that the appropriateness of using this term may vary depending on your relationship with your grandma and the cultural norms within your Hokkien community.

Tips for Pronouncing Hokkien

Pronouncing Hokkien phrases correctly can be a delightful learning experience. To help you master the pronunciation of “Ah-ma” and “A-ma-ma,” here are a few tips:

  1. Pay attention to tones: Hokkien is a tonal language, which means that the pitch or tone of a word can change its meaning. When pronouncing “Ah-ma” or “A-ma-ma,” be attentive to the tone markers, denoted by diacritical marks such as ̄ for “low level tone” and ̌ for “high level tone.”
  2. Practice speaking with native speakers: One of the best ways to improve your Hokkien pronunciation is by conversing with native speakers. Seek opportunities to engage in conversations with your grandma or other Hokkien-speaking relatives to refine your pronunciation.
  3. Listen to audio recordings: Listening to audio recordings or watching videos featuring Hokkien speakers can help train your ear to recognize the unique sounds and tonal patterns of the language. You can find resources online or at your local library.

Examples of Usage

Now, let’s explore some examples of how to use these terms in everyday conversations:

“Ah-ma, how have you been?”

“A-ma-ma, can I sit next to you?”

As you can see from these examples, “Ah-ma” and “A-ma-ma” can be incorporated into everyday conversations to address your grandma warmly and lovingly.

Remember, the key is to use these terms with respect and adapt them based on the nature of your relationship and the cultural context you find yourself in.


Learning how to say “grandma” in Hokkien showcases your appreciation for the language and its rich cultural heritage. By using the formal term “Ah-ma” or the more affectionate “A-ma-ma,” you can express your love and respect for your grandma in a meaningful way.

Remember, pronunciation is important in Hokkien, so pay attention to tones, practice with native speakers, and use audio resources to improve your spoken proficiency. Whether you choose to address your grandma formally or informally, the warmth and respect you show will undoubtedly be appreciated.

So go ahead, impress your family and friends with your newfound knowledge of Hokkien, and savor the joy of connecting with your grandma in her mother tongue!

Leave comment