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Expressions for "sneeze" and "use restroom" in Taiwanese Mandarin


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In Mandarin, to sneeze is 打噴嚏, while restroom is 廁所, and to use the restroom would be 廁所.


In Taiwanese, to sneeze is 拍咳啾 (https://www.moedict.tw/'拍咳啾), while restroom is 便所 (https://www.moedict.tw/'便所), and to use the restroom would be 去 (https://www.moedict.tw/'去) 便所.

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As in English, there are harsher and softer words for these, with 厕所 more akin to toilet and 卫生间 and 洗手间 more akin to restroom, at least on the Mainland.


In a restaurant, for example, you can always ask where to 洗手, but sometimes might be pointed instead to a wash basin not a toilet. Your puzzled look may then produce the loud response, "啊,你的意思是厕所!“

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Oh, I didn't realize 解手 was where the 該手 was coming from. 解 (https://www.moedict.tw/'解) in Taiwanese is pronounced similar to 蓋 (with a Mandarin fourth tone). But 解手 isn't the term to use in Taiwanese. 洗 (https://www.moedict.tw/')  (https://www.moedict.tw/'手) is probably better.

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Thanks everyone for your help.  This is where I reveal my 中文 to be a mixture of putonghua, regional dialects, and possibly antiquated terms and general malapropisms.  Upon further research as to why I have unusual expressions for rather commonplace things ...



"Use restroom" ==> :D  Mystery solved.  Say jie3shou3 in 99% of the places you go where Chinese people are, and something about bathroom will be understood.

  • My 80+ yo uncle from Hubei told me that "gai3shou3" is (or at least, was) indeed the Sichuan pronunciation of 解手.  I must've picked this up from my Sichuanese father, though he passed away when I (and he) was relatively young.  This uncle is at least 10 years younger than either of my parents.
  • It is really 解, but pronounced gai3 in some parts of China.


"Sneeze" ==>  :-? Should be solved, but leaves me unsatisfied though I will say 打喷嚏 from now on anyway

  • I knew that 打喷嚏 (da3pen1ti4) is the closest sounding expression to what I asked about:打奋起 (da3fen4qi3).  But before attributing da3fen4qi3 to a malapropism of da3pen1ti4 formed in in my youth, I can only say that I am still equivocal.  Obvious differences in pinyin leading consonants aside, mishearing the tones in these words is not something I think I could mess up -- 3,4,3 vs. 3,1,4 for decades.  
  • Also, my Taiwan born brother who has lived in the US since the mid-60's said he thought it was "da3fen4 ... something" when I asked him to say sneeze unprompted before his Taiwanese wife quickly interjected it should be da3pen1ti4.  
  • Lastly, the meaning of fen4qi3 (奋起) means to rise vigorously or bracing up with self-exertion, to rise with force and spirit which describes the action of a sneeze.  It's too much for random chance for me that an ABC kid would come up with this sort of strangely accurate malapropism.  
  • But I have zero baidu image hits for 打奋起 looking anything like a sneeze.  I have asked, family aside, two other mainland Chinese teachers (middle-aged) I've met in the US.  Neither can associate 打奋起 with sneezing.
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I just realized the links to the Taiwanese pronunciations don't show up. I think it has to do with the way moedict.tw denotes Taiwanese entries and the way web addresses are handled on the forum system. If anyone's curious, I've added the links in parenthesis after the characters, just cut and paste that into a browser; there's play button on the site to hear the pronunciation.

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I went to a party over the weekend where almost everyone was Chinese and talked to a lot of people from all over China.  Apparently, 打奋起 (da3fen4qi3) is the way people colloquially say "sneeze" in Hunan and Hubei.  

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