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Context: I know no Chinese but am writing a piece of fiction in which, incidentally, Taiwanese characters are involved in escalating arguments & I would like to have some increasingly disrespectful and aggressive ways for participants to address each other. I have done background research and am content with formal, common ways for Older Sister and Younger Brother to address each other, but have not been able to find anything other than various insults (often involving eggs!) to use in an argument

A complicating factor is that the Chinese will be given in [updated] semi-literal English translation and should ideally also sound insulting in English, thus for example bèndàn (笨蛋) meaning dummy, fool, idiot wouldn't work because "dumb egg" sounds almost endearing in English.

Question: thus I would like to know how Older Sister would address Younger Brother - and vice versa - in Taiwanese Chinese to express the following (before speaking about the topic)

  • Annoyance
  • Irritation
  • Frustration
  • Anger
  • Rage
  • Apoplectic fury

If the generation of the speaker is important, consider Older Sister to be late thirties, and younger brother thirty-ish.

Simplified or Traditional Chinese + Pinyin for the English would be appreciated (so I can also do further research).

Further insight into whether particular phrases are typically used to be deliberately provocative or are just purely expressive (or any other nuance) would of course be welcome

Sources tried so far:

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  • You’ve certainly done your homework. I would imagine you might want to try asking for some Taiwanese words/phrases as that may be more likely to come out during heated arguments.
    – Mou某
    Jul 6, 2022 at 13:58
  • @Mou某 - thanks. That's a nice suggestion and I could broaden the request here but my experience is that stronger focus gets better answers. That said, I certainly won't object if anyone is inspired to answer with a a full argument template :) Jul 6, 2022 at 14:16

2 Answers 2

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I am Taiwanese. The followings are mainly based on my interactions and observations in daily life.

Given the older sister's name is 陳美麗 (chen2 mei3 li4).

Given the younger brother's name is 陳大明 (chen2 da4 ming2).

First of all, as per your context, supposed there will be no actions or spoken parts, we often use punctuations to emphasize.

  • Annoyance
    • both:
      • 「喂,」
        • pronunciation: wei4
        • literal translation: hey,
  • Irritation
    • both:
      • 「喂!」
        • pronunciation: wei4
        • literal translation: hey!

could be used interchangably with (hei4) nowadays.

  • Frustration
    • both:
      • 「好了(啦),」
        • pronunciation: hao3 le (la4)
        • literal translation: That's enough!
      • 「夠了,」
        • pronunciation: gou4 le
        • literal translation: That's enough. or Stop!
      • 「不要再說了,」
        • pronunciation: bu2 yao4 zai4 shuo1 le
        • literal translation: Don't talk/say any more.
  • Anger
  • Rage
  • Apoplectic fury

For these three situations, since there are no more clues provided (eg. the events leading to anger/rage), we simply call each other's full name (same as in Tang Ho's answer). We do this to our siblings at any age with an age gap no more than around a decade.

Older sister to younger brother:「陳大明!」

  • pronunciation: chen2 da4 ming2

Younger brother to older sister:「陳美麗!」

  • pronunciation: chen2 da4 ming2

For all examples, (comma) could be used interchangably with under most circumstances, while is stronger than period in most cases.

Hope this answer might help you.

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  • Thank you! If you are also in a position to contribute to the communication of the stronger emotions (without using euphemisms -- I'd like to get some feel for how "strong" the lnaguage is in English -- if you can convey that) that would be wonderful, but I do appreciate these contributions. Jan 12, 2023 at 16:36
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I am Cantonese, so I can't answer this question with confidence, but I could provide my list of escalating name-calling between siblings and try to translate it into Taiwanese Mandarin

Annoyance

calling each other by full name

Irritation

喂! (唏!) HEY!

Frustration

好囉噃! (夠了!) Enough!

Anger

姊:「衰仔」(臭小子!) Brat!

弟:「衰婆」(臭三八!) Bitch!

Rage

姊:「死仔包」(該死的臭小子) Damn/ f..king brat!

弟:「死八婆」(該死的臭三八) Damn/ stupid bitch!

Apoplectic fury

姊:「你呢個人渣!」(你這個人渣!) You worthless scum!

弟:「你呢個賤人!」(你這個賤人!) You worthless scum!

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  • Thank you - that's a very nice list. Alas, I realised on reading it that I the nature of the English translation to be used was unclear; I intended (&have now updated the question accordingly) to use semi-literal translations to convey more of Chinese flavour. Your contribution is still much appreciated - but could you add the literal translations of the phrases you suggested? (I'll do the semi- part!) (It would also help establish why, in Chinese "Damn stupid bitch" ranks lower in aggression/anger than "Worthless scum", since it would be the other way around in English). Jul 7, 2022 at 10:41
  • 1
    oh, it's actually different from taiwannese
    – Clay Hsu
    Jul 20, 2022 at 12:08

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