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|
|添腳添手||t‘in k’a t’in tsiu||add legs and hands||adding true and untrue stories to an original story|
|人來客去||lang lai k’e k’i||visitors come and go||describing many people coming to a place|
|離頭散仙||di t’ao sam sian||hair not in order||describing someone whose hair is not combed|
|水流破布||tsui lao p’oa po||water flows thru a broken cloth||describing someone making several stops before going to his destination|
|無影無跡||bo yan bo tsiâ||no shadow no image||something imaginary and untrue|
First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 28, no. 6 (August 18-September 7, 2015): 12.