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|
|大粒頭||tua diap t’ao||big head||a famous person; VIP|
|花紅柳綠||hue ang diu diak||red and green flower||very colorful|
|含眠含沓||ham bin ham tak||sleepy||woozy from sleep|
|雞嘴变鴨嘴||kue tsui pian ah tsui||chicken mouth turned into duck mouth||lost in an argument|
|畫瘋貓||uwe siao niao||drawing silly cat||improper writing or drawing|
First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 29, nos. 1-2 (June 21-July 4, 2016): 25.