“Lah” has been spotted in Liverpool and Tibet


“Scouse is noted for a fast, highly accented manner of speech, with a range of rising and falling tones not typical of most of Northern England.”

That sounds like the definition of Singlish! 🙂

The word “lah” is common in Northern England specifically in Merseyside, Liverpool. It is based on the word “lad” and a common greeting would be “orite lah”. It mainly means “mate” “friend” and so on.

“Eh la, dont be cockin one off on me right or ill av you down the ozzie, la”

Singaporean & Malaysian ‘Lah’

It may originate from the Hokkien character (啦, POJ: lah), and of course its usage in Singapore is also influenced by its occurrence in Malay. It is used to give feeling to the sentence being said, and perhaps has as many as nine tonal variants.

Here are some uses:

  • Stressed to signal power
  • Unstressed to entice solidarity
  • Used occasionally after a comma for clarity
  • Occurs frequently with “Yah” and “No” to give a less-brusque declaration
  • When used with a low tone might indicate impatience: “Eh, hurry up lah.”
  • It is often used with brusque, short, negative responses: I dun have lah! (I just don’t have any of that!
  • Used for reassurance: Okay lah. (It’s all right. Don’t worry about it)
  • Sometimes used to curse people: Go and Die lah
  • Can also be used to emphasise items in a spoken list, appearing after each item in the list.

Monks from Tibet Find Singaporeans Very Respectful

The young monks were a little anxious on their first visit outside of Tibet. However, after visiting Singapore they found everyone to be very respectful to them and each other, all of the time. They were truly happy!


As it turns out, in Tibet the suffix “lah” is a term of respect.

Tibetan Buddhism

la: The suffix “la” is a term of respect which can be affixed to the end of a title, as in “Ani-la,” or “Geshe-la,” or can be affixed to the end of a personal name, as in “Mindrol-la,” or “Tenzin-la.”


Three versions of “lah” which have independently evolved.

Leave a Reply

Scroll to top