When words fail, use idioms… Hokkien style (21)

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
添蔥添菜t’in tsang t’i n tsaiadd onion and vegetableembellishing or adding something to a story
抬脚抬手ka k’a ka tsiugesture with foot and handdisagree; doing the opposite
媽媽叫ma ma kiocalling mothercomplaining
山猴suan kaomountain monkey ignorant; crude
肉菜ma tsaimeat and vegetabledescribing someone as chubby

First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 28, no. 24 (May 24-June 20, 2016): 12