When words fail, use idioms… Hokkien style (19)

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, expressionsHokkien pronunciationLiteral translationMeaning
見抹敗kian bo paievery touch failsdescribing a clumsy person
吃軟飯tsia neng pengeating soft ricehaving an easy job with a big pay
大聲小説tua sian sue seloud noisespeaking loudly
蠻木頭ban tsa t’aostubborn wooden heada very hard headed person
見生死kin seng silook for life and deathsomeone fighting for his right to the very end

First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 28, no. 22 (April 19-May 9, 2016): 13.

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