When words fail, use idioms… Hokkien style (31)

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
花吧泥貓hu-e pa ni niaoflowers not arrangedcolorful but mixed up and uncoordinated
應嘴應舌in tsui in tsianswering with mouth and tongueanswering back impolitely
三心兩意san sim neng eethree hearts, two ideasindecisive
誠心sing simtrue heartreligious, devoted, sincere
理尾婆di beh polady who incessantly butts inannoying, intrusive, unladylike person

First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 29, no. 11 (November 1-14, 2016): 13.

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