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|
|吐血吐土||t’o hui t’o to||spitting blood and soil||talking nonsense.|
|添木添火||teen tsa teen he||adding wood and fire||adding something to one’s story; exaggerating|
|嘴無圍巾||tsui bo wue kun||mouth not covered||talking too much without thinking|
|無聲無說||bo xian bo se||no sound, no talk||someone approaching stealthily|
|假死假活||ke si ke wua||playing dead and playing alive||an untruthful act|
First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 28, no. 19 (March 1-14, 2016): 15.