Ep09: Knock, knock, knock... | Kho̍k, kho̍k, kho̍k 硞,硞,硞 ...

Ep09: Knock, knock, knock... | Kho̍k, kho̍k, kho̍k 硞,硞,硞 ...
Elementary

 
 
00:00 / 00:14:45
 
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In this episode, we’ve learned some customs that some Taiwanese do when they stay in hotels, and how to construct sentences with “kā”.

These show notes use tables and rich formatting. Please visit the episode webpage for an optimal viewing experience.)

TAIWANESE

ENGLISH

Sī án-tsuánn beh mn̄g tse?

Why do you ask?

tuà pn̄g-tiàm

to stay in a hotel

pn̄g-tiàm

hotel

hó-hiann-

ghosts or spirits (literally: “good brothers”)

Pháinn-sè, kā lín kiáu-jiáu.

Sorry to disturb you.

Usage note: often used when you visit someone.

Sing kho̍k mn̂g, kho̍k sann ē.

First, knock on the door 3 times (before entering).

kho̍k mn̂g / khà mn̂g

To knock on the door

Kā tiān-hué tiám hōo kng.

Turn on the lights.

Kā kha-tián giú--khui.

Pull open the curtains.

Cultural Note: the Taiwanese word for curtains, kha-tián, comes from the Japanese word “カーテン” (kāten), originally from the English “curtains”.

Kā bé-tháng tshiâng-tshiâng--leh.

Flush the toilet.

Kā ê-á pâi hōo hiòng-guā, m̄ hó hiòng bîn-tshn̂g.

Place your shoes in a direction facing away from the bed.

ê-á

shoes

tshián-thua-á

slippers, flip-flops

Kā bô-īng ê tsím-thâu the̍h-tsáu.

Remove any extra pillows you’re not using.

Beh khùn, mài kā sóo-ū ê tiān-hué lóng tshiat-hua.

Don’t put off all the lights when you sleep.

iông-khì

positive yang energy

im-khì

negative yin energy

Mài kā sann-khòo khǹg tī sann-á-

Don’t put your clothes in the closet.

*Syllables requiring tone changes have been greyed out.

To learn more about giving instructions using kā in Taiwanese, check out our workbook. It also gives you some additional vocabulary, culture and grammar explanations, and great exercises to reinforce what you’ve learned in this episode.

NOTE: We are working through some production issues with our workbooks, so we apologize for the delay. We hope to have this workbook chapter available online by next week. 

GRAMMAR: KĀ + OBJECT + VERB + COMPLEMENT

In this episode, you might notice Phil and Alan used “kā” frequently when bringing up instructions or what to do. For instance:

Kā tiān-hué tiám hōo kng.

Turn on the lights.

If we break the sentence down, it will be as follows:

OBJECT (NOUN) 

VERB

COMPLEMENT

tiān-hué

tiám

hōo kng.

(to take)

lights

turn on

on or make-bright

("hōo" here means to let/make/cause + result)

There is no equivalent usage of “” in English, however, you can think of it as “take something to...” With “kā”, you move the object of the sentence to the front of the verb and, at the same time, emphasize what is done (or going to be done) to the object.

Moving the object to the front is not so common in the English, while such grammar is fairly typical in Taiwanese. This sentence pattern allows you to make yourself more clear when constructing longer sentences, especially when the verb comes with a complement that describes the result, placement or disposal of the object.

ONE BITE CHALLENGE: HIRING A GHOST TO BUY MEDICINE?

In this episode, we’ve talked about quite a few dos and don'ts if you want to have a hó-hiann-tī-free stay in a hotel. Our One Bite Challenge this week is also related to spirits.

It’s a Taiwanese saying about getting oneself into trouble:

Tshiànn kuí thiah io̍h-tuann.

Literally, it’s something like “You're hiring a ghost to help you buy medicine”.

It’s used to describe a situation where “someone has found the wrong person to do something, and it’s actually had the exact opposite effect of what was intended.” That is, the decision made did more harm than good.

Let’s break down the sentence:

TAIWANESE

ENGLISH

tshiànn + sb

to hire someone

kuí

ghosts or spirits

thiah

to buy; to tear apart, to break down

Usage note:

“thiah” is the action of tearing something apart or break something down. Thus “thiah” is only used when paying for things that take the shape of paper, such as train tickets, or a prescription of traditional medicine, as it often contains several items of herbs and medicine of different dosages/weights, and you “break them down” at a pharmacy. A more common word for buying is “bé.”

io̍h-tuann

prescription

(literally: medicine-paper sheet)


Music Credit: TeknoAXE

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