Phrase of the Day – Duck hears thunder 鴨仔聽雷

 鴨仔聽雷 ah-á thiaⁿ lûi

A very apt description for the way some people have looked at me when I try to speak Taiwanese to them, somewhat equivalent to “like a deer in the headlights”, but in reference to hearing something that you can make neither head nor tail of. It’s nice that it conjures up a very specific image in your head. Suggested use – if you can get it out and be understood – is to use it to break the ice after a Taiwanese friend looks at you like a duck hearing thunder.

I will update the google doc soon. Feel free to contribute phrases you’ve heard, songs you can sing in Taiwanese, or recordings of you speaking Taiwanese.

(No ducks were harmed in the making of this post)

3 thoughts on “Phrase of the Day – Duck hears thunder 鴨仔聽雷

  1. Being a LKK polyglot, I just discovered a unique Taiwanese etymology in Hanji (漢字) “罔弃 !” [bong-khih !]. In English ” leave it or take it !” . I believe I “am” an original “miner” in this ancient expression. In ancient Chinese (before, say 700AD) 罔means “no”. Use this word to your TW friends !!


  2. Pingback: An Overbearing Duck? 「鴨霸」 | Translating Taiwanese Literature

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