Chinese Proverbs

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 723
  • Published : May 29, 2011
Open Document
Text Preview
Chinese proverbs

oLiterally: A drop of water shall be returned with a burst of spring. oMeaning: Even if it was just a little help from others, you should return the favor with all you can when others are in need.


oLiterally: If one person is not hungry, the whole family is not hungry. oMeaning: Families will make sacrifices for individual members of the family. oCommon Misunderstanding: If one person in the family is happy, the whole family is happy.

,
oLiterally:
oMeaning:
,(ice+freeze+three+units(~feet),not+one+day's(7th and 8th)+chill) oLiterally: A single day of sub-zero temperature is not enough to create three feet of ice. oMoral: Great things cannot be accomplished in a short period of time. oCompare: Rome was not built in a day (Roma non fu fatta in un giorno, Italian proverb).

(big+water+poured over+finish+dragon+king+temple)
oLiterally: The Dragon-King's temple is flooded.
oMoral: You can be harmed by the things you control.
oExplanation: The Dragon-King is a mystical creature that lives underwater and controls the natural bodies of water. People visit the dragon-king temple to placate him and prevent floods, thus this proverb is ironic situationally (Sometimes this proverb is used as '大水冲了龙王庙,一家人不认一家人' (...yi1 jia1 ren2 bu4 ren4 yi1 jia1 ren2 ...one+home+person+not+know+one+home+person), or, One family member doesn't recognize another family member. The idiom might be used to resolve an embarrassing situation. For example, someone has a conflict with a stranger, only to find the stranger was a neighbor, or a sister's boyfriend, or any other person with some relation. The two might use this idiom to save face and make peace with each other, comparing the conflict to that of the flooded dragon-king's temple (dragon-king: rain god in some sense).

(empty+cave+come+wind+not+surely+not+cause)
oLiterally: If the wind comes from an empty cave, it's not without a reason. oMoral: There is no smoke without fire.

, (old+thoroughbred+hidden+stable,determined+be+thousand+distance (unit)) oLiterally: The old horse in the stable still yearns to run 1000 li 1. oMoral: Everybody, no matter the inexperience, yearns to achieve great deeds. Another one is "The older the ginger the hotter the spice". oNote: "stable" and "li" rhyme in Mandarin

1 li: a Chinese unit of linear measure, corresponds to about 500 meters.

,
oLiterally: Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know what's in a person's heart. oMoral: Character can be revealed by time.
oUsage: This can be used positively to praise a true friend, or negatively to criticize friends who could not stand a test.

,
oLiterally: a person needs a face; a tree needs bark.
oMeaning: Reputation is extremely important.
oNote: Face here is used metaphorically as the face (social custom). The Chinese, especially in ancient times, valued reputation highly, thus creating this proverb. oUsage: when someone behaves dishonorably (once or repeatedly), it can be said directly to that person as admonishment (as parents to a child).

(meat+bun(2nd and 3rd)+hit+dog)
oLiterally: To hit a dog with a meat-bun.
oInterpretation: Punishment with a reward never works.
oMoral: Don't use the wrong method to approach a problem.

世上无难事,只怕有心人 (pinyin: shì shàng wú nán shì, zhǐ pà yǒu xīn rén) (world+on+without+difficult+circumstances, only+fear+have+heart+people) oLiterally: You must persevere to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks. oMoral: Everything can be done with enough perseverance.

oCompare: Where there's a will, there's a way.

树倒猢狲散 (pinyin: shù dǎo hú sūn sàn)
oLiterally: When the tree falls, the monkeys scatter.
oUsage: When a leader loses power, his followers become disorganized. This proverb is often used to describe fair-weather friends.

死马当活马医 (si ma dang huo ma yi)
oLiterally: Try to save the dead horse...
tracking img