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在日常用語中看見殖民政權下的台灣生命力|Common Loanwords Found in Taiwan

Updated: Jun 27



你知道嗎?我們每天在台灣使用的許多常見用語,竟然都是外國傳進來的!


台灣近代史的每一章節都飽受不同殖民政權的洗禮,在地居民也因此鍛鍊出適應各種統治的強大生存力。而我們日常生活中的字詞,就像是這段歷史的每一筆痕跡,揭示著過去幾百年中不同政權的更迭與來龍去脈。


今天,遇上福爾摩沙將帶你探索這些隱藏在平凡用語中的歷史故事,教你如何用英語介紹台灣的常見外來用語,並深入了解它們背後所代表的政權更迭與殖民歷史!

Did you know that many common words we use daily in Taiwan actually originated from foreign languages?


Every chapter of Taiwan’s modern history has been marked by different colonial regimes, and the local residents have developed a strong resilience to adapt to various forms of governance. The words we use in our daily lives are like traces of this history, revealing the rise and fall of different regimes over the past few centuries.


Today, Meet Up Formosa will take you on a journey to explore the historical stories hidden in these everyday words, teaching you how to introduce common Taiwanese loanwords in English and providing a deeper understanding of the political shifts and colonial history they represent!


|與國際接軌就從歐洲殖民開始!Taiwanese words originated in Europe


想要瞭解台灣的外來語?那就從日常台語用語開始吧!


你知道嗎?台語中的「sap-bûn」(肥皂),可能源自葡萄牙語的sabão,並與「福爾摩沙」一詞一樣,透過海洋貿易輾轉之下傳入台灣!再來,台灣人超愛吃的香脆「芭樂」,這種水果可以猜測是西班牙人從中南美洲帶來的guayaba!還有那聽起來超華麗的「富貴角」,則極有可能是透過荷蘭殖民時期從荷蘭語hoek(岬角)音譯而來的。


Want to learn about Taiwan's loanwords? Let's start with everyday Taiwanese terms!


Did you know that the Taiwanese word "sap-bûn" (soap) actually comes from the Portuguese word "sabão", along with “Formosa”, and was possibly brought to Taiwan through international sea trade? Next, the crispy "pua̍t-á" (guava) that Taiwanese people love so much is likely brought by the Spanish from Central and South America as "guayaba"! And that fancy-sounding "Hù-kuì-kak" (literally "prosperous angle") probably originated from the Dutch word "hoek" (cape) during the Dutch colonial period.


|日不落帝國無遠弗屆! 源自英語的外來語 English is everywhere, even in Taiwan!


雖然英國人從未統治過台灣,但你知道嗎?台灣卻有不少由英語傳入的詞語,為我們的日常生活增添了意想不到的色彩!


舉個例子,台語中的盤子「phiat-á」,據說是英語plate透過南洋和廈門傳入台灣的。而在台灣料理中常見、隨便炒都美味的四季豆「bín-tāu」,可能是由馬偕醫師從故鄉加拿大帶來的bean,隨著他的足跡在台灣落地生根。每一個詞彙背後,都有著獨特的故事,所以之後要記得帶著尊敬的心情享用每一盤四季豆喔!


Although the British never ruled Taiwan, did you know that many words in Taiwanese actually come from English, adding unexpected flavor to our daily lives?


For example, the Taiwanese word for plate, "phiat-á," is said to have come from the English word "plate" via Southeast Asia and Xiamen. Another example is "bín-tāu," the green beans commonly found in Taiwanese cuisine that are delicious in any stir-fry. This term possibly originated from the word "bean," brought over by Dr. Mackay from his homeland, Canada, and taking root in Taiwan along with him. Each word has a unique story behind it, so remember to enjoy your plate of green beans with a touch of respect!


|那些本土化完全的日本詞語 Japanese words found in Taiwan


在台語中,最多的外來語要屬來自日本的了!


例如,日常生活中無處不在的「廁所」稱作「便所」,與日語相同。而在台灣四處駕車的司機被稱為「運將」,也是直接借用日語中的詞彙。此外,形容混亂不堪的「阿薩布魯」更是充滿爭議,最常見的解釋是,它源自日語中的「朝風呂」,意指早上洗澡的人,原本用來形容特殊行業的人士。


這些日語借詞不僅豐富了台語的表達,也展現了兩種文化的交融和互動。是不是很有趣,也充滿了歷史感呢?


In Taiwanese, the majority of loanwords come from Japanese!


For example, the word for "toilet" in everyday life is "便所" (piān-só), the same as in Japanese. Drivers in Taiwan are called "運將" (ùn-chiàng), directly borrowed from Japanese as well. Additionally, the term "阿薩布魯" (a-sa-puh-luh), used to describe chaos or anything improper, is quite controversial. The most common explanation is that it comes from the Japanese "朝風呂" (asa-buro), meaning a person who bathes in the morning, originally referring to those in certain professions.


These Japanese loanwords not only enrich Taiwanese expressions but also highlight the cultural exchange and interaction between the two languages.


Do you also find it fascinating and full of historical significance?


|二手外來語也收!Second-hand loanwords are welcomed too!


在台灣,我們不僅有直接音譯的外來語,還有許多間接傳入的有趣例子!


例如,童年時期常喝的「La-mú-né」(彈珠汽水),在日語中是「ラムネ」,而這個詞源於英文的「lemonade」。還有,若你在台灣聽到有人被罵為「秀斗」,形容行為怪異,這個詞來自日語的「ショート」,源於英文的「short circuit」。這些例子顯示出台灣如何創造性地接受全球文化影響,使得日常語言更加豐富多彩、充滿驚喜!


In Taiwan, we not only have directly loaned foreign words but also many intriguing examples of indirectly adopted terms!


Take for instance everyone’s childhood favorite drink "La-mú-né" (marble soda), which in Japanese is "ラムネ" (ramune), originating from the English word "lemonade". Moreover, if you hear someone in Taiwan being called "秀斗" (xiù dòu), describing odd behavior, this term comes from the Japanese "ショート" (shōto), derived from the English word "short circuit". These examples illustrate how Taiwan creatively embraces global cultural influences, making everyday language richer, more colorful, and full of surprises!


從荷蘭和西班牙的歐洲殖民時代,到透過國際貿易傳入的英語詞彙,再到日治時期引進的日文術語,這些語言的互動混合,塑造了獨特的台灣語言生態。外來詞不僅豐富了台灣的詞彙,也反映了台灣與世界的密切聯繫。


未來,隨著全球化的進一步發展,我們相信台灣的語言形態會繼續演變,展現出更多元、更豐富的面貌!


From the European colonial era of the Dutch and Spanish to the English terms brought in through international trade, and the vocabulary from the Japanese colonial period, the interplay of these languages has created a unique linguistic landscape in Taiwan. Foreign words have not only enriched Taiwan’s vocabulary but also reflected its close connections with the world.


In the future, with the continued advancement of globalization, we believe that Taiwan’s linguistic patterns will continue to evolve, showcasing an even more diverse and rich character!


|Vocabulary list


Advancement 進步

Enrich 使...豐富

Improper 隨便的、不得體的

Loanwords 外來用語

Pattern 型態、模式

Regime 政權

Short circuit 短路


|參考資料


故事,〈香港人的臺灣手記:芭樂 vs. 番石榴,原來臺語曾受西班牙文影響?〉,原文連結:https://muf.pse.is/63f9hd

華視CTS,〈【台語珍輾轉】啥物!原來這些台語詞都是外來語?〉,原文連結:https://muf.pse.is/63fbrm


你也在雙語國家政策的趨勢下,希望讓年輕學子更認識家鄉,學習以英語介紹自己生活的地方嗎?你也想設計出從外國旅客視角出發的英語導覽內容,提升志工或解說員的導覽技巧軟實力嗎?


培育你的學生或志工,向世界說自己的故事!



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