Date
18 December 2017
Spaniard Jesus Sandoval has become very popular in Taiwan due to his linguistic skills. Photo: Youtube
Spaniard Jesus Sandoval has become very popular in Taiwan due to his linguistic skills. Photo: Youtube

How to speak like a Taiwanese? Just ask Jesus!

Formal Mandarin may not always be useful for foreigners trying to make themselves at home in Taiwan, but some common pet phrases will surely come in handy.

Jesus Sandoval, a young Spanish man, has pointed out he found it a bit embarrassing to take the usual approach of “ni hao (你好)” (hello) to strike up conversations with close friends, prompting him to seek out popular everyday phrases in Taiwan.

After following his Taiwanese friends closely, he found that it is not very difficult to speak Taiwanese pet phrases. What’s more, these phrases can be used in multiple situations, allowing a foreigner to speak like a local.

Mastering the art, the Spaniard has shown off his linguistic skills on his YouTube channel, describing himself as an “adoga (阿兜仔)” (nickname for foreigners in Taiwan, just like “gweilo (鬼佬)” in Hong Kong or “lao wai (老外)” in mainland China). 

Here is a list of phrases that he has used in the clip.  

(1:03 – 1:08) “Bu hao yi si (不好意思).” (Excuse me / sorry)

(1:09 – 1:12) “Zhen de jia de (真的假的)?” (Seriously?)

(1:13 – 1:21) “Hao kua zhang (好誇張).” (Unbelievable.)

(1:22 – 1:30 ) “En (嗯).” (Yes.)

(1:31 – 1:41) “Wo hen mang e (我很忙啊).” (I am so busy.)

(1:41 – 1:47) “Wo gen ni shuo (我跟你說)…” (Let me tell you…)

(1:50 – 2:06) “O-bu-okay (O-不-okay)?” (Okay or not?)

(2:07 – 2:14) “Ni hao ji che (你好機車)!” (You are so nosy.)  ["Ji che" literally means "motobike".]

(2:15 – 2:21) “Pi (屁)!” (Bullshit!)

(2:24 – 2:38) “Jooo~” (No way~)

(2:39 – 2:44) “Hao hao chi (好好吃)!” (Yummy!)

(2:45 – 2:57) “Hao ke ai yo (好可愛唷)!” (So cute!)

(2:58 – 3:05) “Hao you qu (好有趣).” (Impressive.)

(3:07 – 3:13) “Ni hao tao yan (你很討厭).” (You are infuriating.)  [A common scolding by Taiwanese ladies to men who tease them. It is mostly used between girl friend and boy friend.] 

Jesus has now become very popular in Taiwan, with his “one person, two roles” online video clip so far generating more than 420,000 hits.

Inspired by a “foreign Chinese teacher”, netizens have added their own list of pet phrases such as “dou ke yi a (都可以啊)” (it’s up to you) and “hao fan e (好煩啊)” (so annoying).

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MY/JP/RC

EJ Insight reporter

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