Taiwanese phrase of the day: A tattletale/an informant 抓耙仔 jiàu-pê-á


As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I’ve been reading《路邊甘蔗眾人啃》(Everyone nibbles on sugar cane at the edge of the road) by Li Ang (李昂). The book has already thrown up a few interesting phrases in Taiwanese, such as 抓耙仔 jiàu-pê-á (click for link to dictionary entry with audio – the normal dictionary I use isn’t working today) – which can mean tattletale in a playground context, or informant, or just someone who gives away someone’s secrets, although it literally means a tool used to scratch one’s back).

The first sound is somewhere between a j and an r.

I’ve give the context below for those interested:

「妳以前睡過那麼多男人,都很好?」 (You’ve slept with so many men, were they all good in bed?)

林慧淑知道「黨外無袐密」,她自己也說,也有那些特務、抓把仔會通風報信好藉此羞辱他。 (Lin Hui-shu knew that there were no secrets amongst the opposition to the government, she said it herself, and there were spies and informants who would reveal the information to shame him.)