Saw a cute variant of 「胡同」 (hutongs – traditional Beijing alleys) in a news article that caught my eye:
The headline translates to:
“Beijing Hutongs are too rustic, a group of foreigners spent four years pimping out a spicy soup shop, a butcher’s and a traditional board games room… the results were amazing”
I thought the use of 「爆改」(bao4gai3) as an equivalent to “pimp” as in “pimp my ride” was interesting, as well as the use of the slang term 「666」(liu4liu4liu4), used to stand in for 「溜溜溜」(liu1liu1liu1). Although 「溜」 is conventionally used for “skating” or “slippy”, here it’s used as slang for “with great and practiced skill”.
The news article has pictures of the designs here if you’re interested.
蝦子 (Shrimp/Prawn) – Keep the body, throw away the head
A Taiwanese friend was talking to me about an upcoming pool party when all of a sudden he said something along the lines of 「會去那邊的人一定都是蝦」 “Everyone who goes there are shrimps”. I asked him what he meant and he said that in Taiwan people generally use the term 「蝦」(xia1/ㄒㄧㄚ) or 「蝦子」 (xia1zi5/ㄒㄧㄚㄗ˙) to describe a guy with a ripped body (with the ribbed abdomen of a shrimp) but a head that nobody wants, hence their eagerness to take their shirts off. I’m not sure if this term exists in English or not, but thought it was amusing, if a bit harsh.
The term seems to have some traction in Hong Kong, as I found the words 「蝦子」 written under this unfortunate guy’s picture, under the caption “Ugly version of Gregory Wong” in the popular HK Golden forum:
There was a whole conversation about the term on PTT – a bulletin board system that was (and still is) super popular in Taiwan. The original poster asked whether people would be happy or offended to be called a shrimp:
One of the funniest responses I saw was as below:
Person A: It depends on the level of shrimp head. Haha XD. And the category of shrimp is a little unclear.
Person B: If it’s at lobster level then maybe it’s no problem XD
I’m guessing “lobster level” suggests a buffer body and that if the body is that muscular then any kind of face is OK.
So this post was just a bit of fun and obviously everyone is beautiful in their own way – I just thought it was an amusing term I’d never heard before.
The phrase “melter” in Belfast slang refers to someone who prattles on endlessly without seemingly ever saying anything that means anything, hence the phrase, “I’m going to go over there now, you’re melting my head!” Taiwanese has a similar sentiment manifested in the phrase “有的沒的”, meaning “Something and nothing/nonsense/trivialities” which can be used in both Mandarin (you3de5mei2de5) and Taiwanese (ū ê bô ê – audio available here).
The handy thing about this phrase is that you can use the Taiwanese in Mandarin and in Taiwanese, or you can just use the Mandarin if you can’t recall the Taiwanese.
It can be used as a noun or an adjective and I’ve included an example below:
你不要在那邊講那些[有的沒的/ū ê bô ê], 無聊死了！
I wish you’d stop going on about all this crap, it’s so dull!
The ū ê bô ê in question can either be something trivial, or in some contexts gossip, but expresses the speaker’s opinion that they are above gossip.
These are various examples I’ve found on the internet:
有的沒的聊了幾句便睡 *Note – in this phrase 有的沒的 is used as an adverb with the 地 omitted.
Feel free to contact me with any cool Taiwanese words or phrases you hear and want featured on the blog.