Hokkien - What Do These Idioms Mean?



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Hokkien is rich with idiomatic expressions if you care to know and treasure them.

Here are some examples:

1. Phai1 teik1 chut1 hoh1 soon4
(Literally bad bamboo produce good shoots)
(Bad family produce good generation)

2. Phah4 chao4 kia1 chuah2
(Literally beat grass to scare snakes)
(Indirectly affect your target throught your actions)

3. Chan2 boh2 khao1, chui4 boh2 lao2
(Literally not plough field, water not flow)
(No more dealings)

4. Chit1 suah1 oo chit1 suah kuan2
(Literally for each hill there is one higher)
(Avoid pride and boastfulness - there are always those who are more capable)

5. Cham1 chao4 tooi3 kin1
(Literally cut grass must sever roots also)
(Get rid of everything with nothing left)

6. Choh1 hoh4 sar3 ni1, choh1 phai1 sar3 jit1
( Literally do good takes three years, do bad takes 3 days)
(It is easier to be bad than to do good)

7. Iam3 chui4 kay1 bay1 chiah1 hoh1 bi4
(Literally a hen with a cut beak wants to eat good rice)
(Desire luxuries and good things though from a humble background)

8. Kiah2 chit1 por3, sng4 chit1 por3.
(Literally, walk one step, count one step)
(Deal with a matter when we come to it)



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