In this episode we’ve talked about the traditions and food that are associated with the end-of-year party held by most workplaces in Taiwan.
(These show notes use tables and rich formatting. Please visit the episode webpage for an optimal viewing experience.)
|bué-gê||end-of-year party for workplaces; also refers to the last offering of the year to the land god|
|tsia̍h bué-gê||To celebrate the end-of-year party|
|thiu-tsióng||a raffle or lottery for prizes|
|kuè-nî||Lunar New Year holiday|
|sing-lí-lâng||merchants or business people|
|Thóo-tī-kong||the land god (Lord of the Soil and the Ground)|
|tsò-gê||a ritual offering to the land god every 2nd and 16th of each month in the lunar calendar|
|thâu-gê||the first offering of the year to the land god|
|lūn-piánn / lūn-piánn-kauh||a fresh spring roll filled with cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts, shredded pork, firm tofu, cilantro, and peanut powder|
|âng-tshài-thâu / li̋n-jín||carrot|
|pak-pōo||the northern region|
|tiong-pōo||the central region|
|lâm-pōo||the southern region|
|Tshing-bîng||Tomb-Sweeping or Ancestor’s Day|
|kuah-pau||A half-moon-shaped steamed bun filled with pork belly, pickled mustard greens, cilantro, and peanut powder, also known as a “pork belly bun” or “Taiwanese Hamburger”.
It is also sometimes referred to as hóo-kā-ti “tiger bites pig” because the bun resembles a mouth biting the piece of pork.
|sam-tsân-bah||a thick slice of pork belly|
|kiâm-tshài||pickled mustard greens|
|pe̍h-sa̍h-ke / pe̍h-tsām-kue||a dish of chopped boiled chicken
Culture note: Traditionally, a dish of chopped boiled chicken was served with the head of the chicken pointing to a specific employee meaning that the employee would be fired. It was an indirect tactic to show that the employer is unhappy with the performance of the employee but doesn’t want to say it directly.
|nî-té siúnn-kim||year-end bonus|
|sî thâu-lōo||to resign, to quit|
|khì hōo lâng sî thâu-lōo||to be fired|
|sing-kuann||to be promoted|
|thiann-kóng… / thiann lâng kóng...||I’ve heard…. / I’ve heard people say...|
|siūnn kóng…||to think that...|
|siá kóng…||to write/read that...|
|Ū lâng kā guá kóng…||Somebody told me that...|
*Syllables that have been greyed out require a tone change
To learn more about the end-of-year party and related words in Taiwan, check out our workbook. It gives you some additional vocabulary, culture and grammar explanations, and great exercises to reinforce what you’ve learned in this episode.
When reporting what others (or yourself) have said, you can use direct or indirect speech. Direct speech uses the exact words of what someone has said. For example,
My brother said, “Taking the subway after 11pm is dangerous”.
On the other hand, indirect speech paraphrases and focuses on communicating the gist of what has been said. For example,
My brother told me that the subway is dangerous late at night.
Note for indirect speech, we can use “that” to set off what has been said, but this can also be left out when talking informally. For example,
My brother told me the subway is dangerous late at night.
Here are 3 ways to use indirect speech to report what has been said:
1. USE A SLIGHT PAUSE WITH THE VERB KÓNG “TO SAY”
In Taiwanese, for the verb kóng (to say), there’s no need to use a word like “that” to set off the reported speech. Instead, a slight pause is given between kóng and the reported speech. Note that the tone of the verb kóng changes to the first tone.
“I kóng... in kong-si nî-té siúnn-kim sī sann kò gue̍h.”
“She said the year-end bonus of her company is 3 months’ salary”
2. USE THE EXPRESSION THIANN-KÓNG “I’VE HEARD…”
Another way to report indirect speech is to not specify whom you’ve heard it from. You can use the expression, thiann-kóng..., or thiann-lâng-kóng, basically “I’ve heard…” or “I’ve heard people say”...
“Guá thiann-kóng i āu kò gue̍h ē khì hōo lâng sî thâu-lōo.”
“I’ve heard that he will be fired next month.”
3. USE THE PHRASE Ū LÂNG KĀ GUÁ KÓNG... “SOMEBODY TOLD ME…”
Here’s another common phrase used to report indirect speech that leaves out who exactly told you the information: Ū lâng kā guá kóng... “Somebody told me…”
“Ū lâng kā guá kóng lí kin-nî ē sing-kuann.”
“Someone told me that you will be promoted this year.”
To learn more about this grammar point, 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.
Our One Bite Challenge this week is a saying about employees at their end-of-year party:
“Tsia̍h thâu-gê, lián tshuì-tshiu; tsia̍h bué-gê, bīn iu-iu.”
Literally, it means “Eating at the year’s opening party you’ll be playing with your beard, but eating at the end-of-year party and your face will look worried. ” Let’s break down the sentence:
|lián||to roll or twist sth. with fingers; to play/to fiddle around with|
|tshuì-tshiu||beard, moustache, facial hair around the mouth|
This saying basically describes anxiety and worry that employees have at the end-of-year party because of a fear of getting fired.
Some people also say it in the opposite order:
“Tsia̍h bué-gê, bīn iu-iu; tsia̍h thâu-gê, lián tshuì-tshiu.”
While layoff, resignation and other personnel changes have already been determined at year end, at the year’s opening party the employees are usually more relaxed and positive.
Music Credit: TeknoAXE