When words fail, use idioms…Hokkien style (28)

First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest | September 20-October 3, 2016 | vol. 29, No. 8 issue |

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
斤斤計較
Hokkien pronunciation
kun kun ke kao
Literal translation

to haggle over every ounce
Meaning

to be particular about small things
懊頭懊面ao t’ao ao binugly head and facefrowning
天天特特t’ian t’ian t’o t’oplayful actionsnaughty, mischievous
吞吞吐吐t’un t’un t’o t’oswallowing and spittinghesitant
雨濕水滴ho tam tsui tirain and water dropswet weather

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