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When words fail, use idioms… Hokkien style (1)

Hokkien, on the tongues of Tsinoys, has grown and evolved, taking 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
三足花跳sa kha hue thiaothree feet hoppingdescribes someone walking and skipping as if dancing
輕聲小說khin sia sueh sespeak softlyto talk softly with good manners
有頭無尾wu tao bo behave a head but no tailto start doing things but does not complete the tasks
五腳出現go kha chut hianfifth foot revealedsecret or evil is revealed
姑生死ko seng siselfishdescribes someone who is very selfish

First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 28, no. 3 (July 7-20, 2015): 13.