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|
|添蔥添菜||t’in tsang t’i n tsai||add onion and vegetable||embellishing or adding something to a story|
|抬脚抬手||ka k’a ka tsiu||gesture with foot and hand||disagree; doing the opposite|
|媽媽叫||ma ma kio||calling mother||complaining|
|山猴||suan kao||mountain monkey||ignorant; crude|
|肉菜||ma tsai||meat and vegetable||describing someone as chubby|
First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 28, no. 24 (May 24-June 20, 2016): 12