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Favorite Taiwanese Words

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Favorite Taiwanese Words

Postby dahsiung » 10 May 2012, 21:57

Having lived in Tainan for 8 years now, I've grown quite fond of the Taiwanese (or Hoklo, if you will) language. Even though my Mandarin is much better, I still prefer to hear Taiwanese and I try to converse in it as much as possible. I know the language is not as popular among other non-native speakers, but I'd like to hear from those of you out there that like to speak Taiwanese.
What are your favorite Taiwanese words?

The first that comes to my mind (though a bit vulgar) is "chhua sai" meaning literally to shit in one's pants, but generally meaning that you messed up.
Another, slightly vulgar, is "iao siu" which started out as cursing another to a shortened life, but more typically is used to mean "Damn it!"
Also, "U ia, bo?" which is used to mean "Really?" but literally means "Does it have a shadow (is is therefore not a ghost)?"
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** And enjoy your life **
*** Oh, and drink some tea ***
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Re: Favorite Taiwanese Words

Postby dahsiung » 10 May 2012, 22:13

Thought of two more phrases that I love:

"chhia mng, u sia-mih kui su?" Which is a very formal way of saying (usually on the phone) "Excuse me, what do you want?" It always makes my in-laws laugh when I say it.
And, lastly, "Daddy ka gua pho!" Which means 'pick me up, Daddy.' My son used to say it all the time to me before his English came along. Still warms my heart.
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Re: Favorite Taiwanese Words

Postby Battery9 » 10 May 2012, 22:17

thanks to that old Vitali drink ad....Ni gong xia?
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Re: Favorite Taiwanese Words

Postby tommy525 » 10 May 2012, 23:16

and of course the old saw "gun"
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Re: Favorite Taiwanese Words

Postby E04teacherlin » 11 May 2012, 02:03

G8
as in the G8 nations.
Bunch of cunts.
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Re: Favorite Taiwanese Words

Postby grandfeller » 11 May 2012, 03:06

Haha! I didn't know the shit it my pants one. I'll have to try it out. The phrase, I mean.

I like "bei mbak", which means - best I can tell - idiotic. But it sounds a lot like "bei bai", i.e. "not bad" or Mandarin's "bang" (awesome). So, of course, I feign flattered when my wife uses it on me. "But you're very bei mbak, too, Dear."

Mai gong wa e pai wei - Lit: Don't speak my bad words. Don't talk smack about me.
Kua sa xiao - What the hell you looking at? I've been warned this can be explosive.
Li mai ga wa po lan pa - Don't pat my testicles. Or something like that, meaning don't try to use flattery with me, or don't be patronizing. Very crude, obviously, and can get a good laugh or negative reaction, depending on the audience.

You might notice I'm not using proper romanization here. I like this website's http://weber.ucsd.edu/~dkjordan/resources/PronouncingTaiwanese.html guide to pronunciation and spelling, though I haven't taken the time to really learn it.
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Re: Favorite Taiwanese Words

Postby dahsiung » 11 May 2012, 07:54

grandfeller wrote:I like "bei mbak", which means - best I can tell - idiotic. But it sounds a lot like "bei bai", i.e. "not bad" or Mandarin's "bang" (awesome). So, of course, I feign flattered when my wife uses it on me. "But you're very bei mbak, too, Dear."


"bei bak" could probably best be translated as "naughty" when said about children, and perhaps "cheeky" or "wicked/mischievous" when applied to adults.

Another similar word would be "ji zu" which is much less well-known, but suggests more of playful naughtiness as found in young boys.
** Try to Laugh **
** Try to Smile **
** Try not to Cry **
** And enjoy your life **
*** Oh, and drink some tea ***
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Re: Favorite Taiwanese Words

Postby shengou » 11 May 2012, 12:45

I like chiah kah pa - chi dao bao. No reason other than it's fun to say.

I also like pho lan-chiau which I believe literally means lifting someone's sack (yes, that sack), but I can't find the original character for pho anymore. I read that a while ago. This is used for when someone speaks bad behind someone else's back and then acts nice when that person is around.
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Re: Favorite Taiwanese Words

Postby Tempo Gain » 11 May 2012, 12:59

I like m-mian. The extra "m" makes it more satisfying.
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