Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Groping, drugged up Taiwanese

The title is just a joke. Since it seems that the two most popular English words in Taiwanese media seem to be "touch" and "high", I thought I'd take them to the extreme of envisioning a groping, drugged up Taiwanese person! Again, just a joke.

"Touch" is used again and again in all sorts of adds and campaigns and songs. For example, the Cartoon Network is promoting a new cartoon (some soft of Powerpuff Girls take-off) with a song in which the repeated English words are "touch" and "high". Here it is for your viewing and listening pleasure. In terms of touch, HTC has its popular iPhone-like touch handset,the Touch. Another salient example is Taiwan's tourism campaign, Taiwan: Touch Your Heart. OK, these are just three examples of the over-use of the word "touch" in Formosa.

Now that I have burned the image of a groping hand all over Taiwan, let's move onto the word "high". In English, using "high" as an adjective is often used in conjunction with the taking of illicit drugs and the resultant high one feels. However, in Taiwan, "high" is used to mean generally exuberant and happy. Often, you will hear phrases such as "這裡非常熱鬧,大家都很HIGH ("This place is hopping! Everyone is high!"). Or "台北最High跨年晚會" ("The Best / Highest New Years Party in Taipei!"). A final example is description of a Coco Lee concert as the "most high" (最High).

So, if you are coming to Taiwan, be prepared to get "high" and do a lot of "touching"! Or at least understand how these English words have been incorporated into Taiwanese Mandarin.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

mebbe taiwanese are more sentimental and touchy feely than americans. their use of the word high seems to make sense. mebbe americans are too into body language. but thanks for explaining anyway. dunno if i will ever go to formosa, but who knows.