I'm corrected to pronounce WAH instead of "wǒ."

Is it the same and I just hear it wrong in my head? Or is there a difference in dialect?

  • 5
    Who corrects you? Or where do you hear 我 being pronounced as "wah"? Can you add more context and details? Thank you. :)
    – Alenanno
    Commented Dec 19, 2011 at 23:31
  • 6
    It could potentially be a different dialect - 我 in Taiwanese is pronounced "wah"
    – pyko
    Commented Dec 19, 2011 at 23:36
  • 1
    @pyko exactly what I was coming here to say. Although when I first started learning Mandarin, I always heard things differently than how people were saying them - so it could just as easily be that as well.
    – Ciaocibai
    Commented Dec 20, 2011 at 0:33
  • By the way, on the same note, I noticed that in an audio file I have 好 (hăo) is pronounced "hău", but I guess it's just a matter of that pronunciation, maybe very exaggerated.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Dec 21, 2011 at 9:40
  • When I first started learning, my Taiwan friend would correct my pronunciation, after a while I realised I should ignore him, and follow standard Mandarin. Commented Dec 23, 2011 at 0:06

5 Answers 5


I made a little search in forvo.com, a worldwide database that hosts user-provided audios for words, characters and expressions in every language.

Making a quick search for 我, the results reveal several entries. The obvious ones Chinese and Japanese and others; among the others we have Min nan (Simpl: 闽南语; Trad: 閩南語; pinyin: Mǐnnán Yǔ), which is a family of Chinese language spoken in: China (PRC and ROC areas), Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, United States (New York City), and other areas of Southern Min and Hoklo settlement.1

If you go to the "results" link, and scroll down until you find "min nan", you'll see it's pronounced "wah". It's unambiguous, it's pronounced very open so you can't be mistaken when you find it. I checked the others and no-one else seems to say "wah".

1: definition, chinese version and locations are taken from Wikipedia.


I'm a native speaker. It is "wǒ" in Mandarin. When my parents speak in Taiwanese, it sounds more like "wah".


Don't rely on English phonetics. Pinyin shouldn't be read as if it were English. In a sense, especially with regard to vowels, Pinyin is more like Spanish or other Romance languages.


I think this is the question for me, since I'm from Malaysia :p

So, "wah" is not really a 闽南语
but Hokkien 福建話, it carry the meaning of me

In Taiwan 闽南语, me = 阮 (pronunce similar to wound, without the d)

  • 福建话属于闽南语。台语也属于闽南语。 Commented Jun 20, 2012 at 14:12
  • not really, both languages are very similar
    – ajreal
    Commented Jun 20, 2012 at 14:32
  • 闽南语 is a language group that includes several distinct dialects (or languages--I'm not qualified to say). Wikipedia lists 泉州话、漳州话、台湾话、潮州话、厦门话. I'm not claiming that both Taiwanese and whatever variety you speak are the same. Commented Jun 20, 2012 at 16:25
  • "I" is pronounced as "wah" in Teochew (Chaozhou) dialect
    – velut luna
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 12:24

The standard pronunciation in Mandarin should be wǒ. "Wah" could be from some dialect in southern China.

  • 2
    Can you be more specific and provide a source for your claim that 'Wah' comes from a southern dialect. It is important to provide facts.
    – going
    Commented Dec 21, 2011 at 4:57

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