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|
|三八||sam pat||three-eight||silly gesture|
|慢燦燦||ban tsan tsan||slow motion||slow-footed person|
|莫哭莫爹||bo k’ao bo pe||not crying for no father||a very silent person|
|優面優孔||yiu bin yiu k’ang||worried face||worried face|
|偷吃莫插嘴||t’ao tsia bo tsit tsui||didn’t wipe his mouth after eating||doing something wrong yet leaving traces|
First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 29, no. 3 (July 5-18, 2016): 13.