Hokkien, on the tongues of Tsinoys, has grown and evolved, taking on a life of its own. Sometimes words simply fail us. With some creativity, Tsinoys have strung together words to form colorful phrases that simply hit the bull’s eye.
Here are some expressions unique to Hokkien as favored by Tsinoys.
|Idioms, expressions||Hokkien pronunciation||Literal translation||Meaning|
|正月正頭||tsnia gê tsnia t’ao||start of first month of the year||new beginning|
tsue mua-gê ya |
tio tsue to-tse
|celebrate first month-old birthday, and first year-old birthday||according to custom, first month-old and first year-old birthdays are two important events in one’s life and must be celebrated|
|咬喙齒齦||ka tsui-k’i kun||biting the beak and gum||trying to suppress one’s grief or hardship|
|有七無八||uu tsit bo pwê||has seven but no eight||describing someone talking nonsense or breaking away from the topic.|
|粗腳粗手||tso k’a tso tsiu||rough feet, rough hands||describing clumsy people or those lacking in skills and finesse.|