chinese idioms in english

chinese idioms in english

Ancient Chinese scholars loved their idioms and therefore most of these sayings that we take for granted in English have their roots in ancient Chinese literature. 学如登山 hè lì jī qún  Welcome back everyone to this new Chinese idiom animation lesson from Tales from China! dōng chī luó bo xià chī jiāng, bú yòng yī shēng kaī yào fāng If they were dissatisfied, the same people could easily overthrow the leader. Oh dear. Chinese version: Speak of Cao Cao, and Cao Cao arrives. ex. 鸡毛蒜皮. They come up all the time in both written and spoken English. Stop thinking about food. This actually means hear and see a lot, get influenced easily, which is why there are an ear and an eye in the idiom. Thank God this one is really easy, and I’m quite sure many of you already know this. In this video, we take a look at some of the more common ones and see how they can be used in context. The term sān sī (三思) means to mull it over or to think again in Chinese, but the plea includes a specific number as the literal definition is “think three times.”. This Chinese idiom is so well known that Hong Kongers sometimes just use the English literal translation, just as English speakers the world over do for “long time no see”, saying “Wow, it was so packed last night… people mountain, people sea.” See, Chinese idioms aren’t that difficult at all. Fish for a needle on the bottom of the ocean. That is apparently how the Chinese smile: with their goddamn eyebrows. English Translation: He built a car behind closed doors, building a car that could not move. Chinese version: One look and deep in love. shuō cáo cāo, cáo cāo dào Chinese Insults: How to Name-Call Like a Pro (Part 1). Light bright, right, big. This Chinese idiom is used … #shorts. Which is exactly how you use this. I take what I said earlier back. Idioms is a special culture which is shaped in the daily lives of the local people, particularly the idioms of diet has a close relation with various elements, such as the eating custom , history, fairy tales, geographic situations. in. The Mandarin word for idiom is 成语 and the most common types are four-character idioms. And no, I’m not old. However, it's one thing to learn to understand these expressions in Chinese text, but a completely different thing to learn to actively use them in your own phrases. So when someone shows up to your potluck dinner party with a small plate of nothing, you’ll know what to say about this. You can use this any time someone is trying, in vain, to teach someone else (or you) something significant to them that the listener doesn’t really care about. Who’s ‘no cure’ now?? the Sources of Chinese and English Idioms. English Translation: Because of his farsightedness, he managed to build a great career. It aims to help them understand and use the common Chinese idioms correctly. Finding the familiar in the foreign is a great reminder that no matter where you go, people are, at their core, just people. To "have bitten off more than you can chew " is an idiom that means you have tried to do something which is too difficult for you. While ghosts and demons abound in Buddhist tradition and Chinese superstition, cáo cāo (曹操) was the historical figure chosen to represent the devil in this idiom. You can also click on the chengyu to get a stroke order for the chengyu. High as a kite 嗨到飞起 (hāi dào fēi qǐ) The idiom high as a kite was first used in the 19th century in … 水能载舟,亦能覆舟. The present 30 000 idioms are provided with explanations in English, pinyin, illustrative sentences, simple instructions of usage, synonyms and antonyms. This one actually means to do things blindly, outside of reality. When you wear masks and apply lipstick at the same time (wait for it) #shorts, When you thought the boss is not in (watch to the end) #shorts, (Wait for it…) When You ‘加饭’ to Fried Rice #shorts, Anyone old enough to remember this ad? Just be careful not to get swept away, as both English and Chinese speakers recognize the dangers of infatuation when you fall in love at first sight. English Translation: If you want people to respect you, you must one sentence nine pots. Don’t worry, you’re reading this article; your Chinese confirm got cure. Most idioms come from the ordinary people’s daily life. These idioms are not only But even in language, there are some cool coincidences. Do you know of any other idioms we should add to this list? ài rén rú jĭ  不可得兼 (bù kě dé jiān): “you can’t have both at the same time”. Hm. How many people do you need to make a mountain and a sea? This must be very familiar to many of you, amirite? There is currently no English chengyu explanation. She used to teach English in Beijing, and hopes to visit again soon to see friends and family and to eat all the food twice. High and far what now? In English, the phrase is “buying a pig in poke,” but English speakers do also “let the cat out of the bag,” which means to reveal something that’s supposed to be secret. By giving a problem three thoughts, you can often come up with a solution crafty enough to take care of two birds at once. To highlight the insignificance of an action or an event, Westerners might use the term "small potatoes.". English Translation: To read Shakespeare to people who don’t understand English is to play piano at the cow. This means every house and family knows, referring to something being very well known. Feel free to browse our complementary resources! In the alternative saying, the birds are somewhat bigger and the act of shooting an arrow somewhat harder. Why Motivation is Overrated When Learning a New Language. Additionally, chicken feathers and garlic peels can be used to discuss any trifling matter or superficial conversation. Now we’re back at the simpler words. Who’s ‘useless’ now? 1. Its usage today, however, does not necessarily have religious ties. They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but guess what, there is in Chinese (this idiom, not actual food. Click any Card for More Information. 一石二鸟, Chinese version 2: One arrow two hawks After the list of chengyu is generated, if you click on them you can see more information and the explanation (in Chinese). To be honest though, why would you build a car with your door open? These idioms are not only 不得其法 (bù dé qí fǎ): “not knowing the right way”. have bitten off more than you can chew 是一句成語,意思是試圖承擔力所不及的事。 [ C or U ] formal Other languages this idiom exists in: We hear from translators that this is an idiom in Swedish, Polish, Latvian and Norwegian. © 2020 Yoyo Chinese Inc. All Rights Reserved. Chinese version: When the sun rises from the west. English Translation: When your grandma heard you had a girlfriend, she eyebrows open eyes smile. Congratulations! Then he went back to Guangzhou and continued his English teaching in Zhongshan University, and afterwards in the Guangzhou Foreign Languages Institute until he retired in 1977. Chinese idioms often appear to be written with a special type of compressed grammar, and may therefore be difficult to interpret. Then again, some problems aren’t problems at all. Chinese version: Love people as if they were yourself Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Now you should probably buy us lunch or something. Download now and stand a chance to win $50 weekly!iOS: https://goo.gl/a0FZdyAndroid: https://goo.gl/WlJzV8, This article was first published on goodyfeed.com. (Watch till the end!) ), here are 15 Chinese idioms, also known as 成语, and how to use them in your daily life. First, you say thank you, and then you ask, “Did the sun rise from the west today?”, Chinese version: Water can carry the boat and also overturn the boat. You now know 15 Chinese idioms! This idiom means it is useless to explain something to someone who doesn’t understand. You can view the chengyu and the explanation in either simplified or traditional Chinese. That’ll show you, Chinese teacher! However, there is only scant research regarding the teaching of English idioms among Chinese students and translation strategies between English and Chinese idioms. watch a fire from a safe haven. I mean it does, but it has nothing to do with the steamboat. During the 漢 Han Dynasty, there was a student named 匡衡 Kuang Heng. Chinese idioms are one of four types of formulaic expressions (熟语, shuyu), which also include collocations (惯用语), two-part allegorical sayings (歇后语), and proverbs (谚语). 乌 is a crow and鸟 is a bird. it works with chinese, pinyin and english. Another rather simple idiom, but quite ridiculous if you think about it. Study of Chinese and English Idioms in Sources Similarities. If you meet an old friend at the dinner party but only have time for small talk, you can say that you only spoke of 鸡毛蒜皮 (jī máo suàn pí) things. This one means “people mountain people sea”. 除非太阳从西边出来. Regardless of all the chickens in the world, you’re bound to meet your crane one day. Now go out there and wow your friends and family with your dedication to Chinese culture. The answer is yes. Here’s a much deeper kind of love to focus on. Chinese Idioms and Proverbs In Chinese they are called “chéngyǔ“ — a 4 character idiomatic expression often revealing a truth or perspective whose origins are based on stories or historical quotations. Was there seriously a guy who played piano for some cows? The English translation of this Chinese Idiom is to give up halfway. 乌[wū] is not 鸟 [niǎo] even though they look alike. Don't omit the second half of it like you would in English. 笑里藏刀: Hide a dagger behind a smile. The example is literally about a desert, what the heck, Chinese? House know… house know. The idiom "哪壶不开提哪壶 (nǎ hú bù kāi tí nǎ hú)" literally means "to pick the kettle that is not boiling." Stop thinking about food!). The working people have created many idioms in their work and life. In this Chinese chéng yŭ (成语), the language is cut down to the barest images. Chengyu (成語/成语 chéngyǔ) : chinese idiomatic phrases and proverbial expressions usually consisting of four characters. 23 Chinese Idioms To Sound Like a Fluent Speaker. 说曹操,曹操到. #shorts, Fried Rice, Correct What? Usually, you'll often hear people say, "Speak of the devil.". such idioms in the Chinese language. Learn more in the Cambridge English-Chinese traditional Dictionary. The first two Chinese words 半途 [bàn tú] means half way in English. Translating Chinese idioms is not easy at all. Study of Chinese and English Idioms in Sources Similarities. Eyebrows open eyes smile. Type tone numbers after each pinyin syllable then click the convert button to change them in tone marks. jī máo suàn pí  watch a fire from a safe haven. This is why it’s important, as a learner, to try and learn a bit more about Chinese slang and idioms . 九牛一毛 (jiǔ niú yì máo) Meaning: nine cows and one strand of cow hair. This one may be very familiar with some of you, when your Chinese teacher used this on you when you refused to do your Chinese homework. That’s right, a lot. the Sources of Chinese and English Idioms. HOME. Ah. Audio Chinese dictionary searchable in Chinese (simplified or traditional), pronunciation (Pinyin or Zhuyin - bopomofo) or English. Very obvious. 一箭双雕. Recently, Thailand has opened up its borders to leisure travellers provided they are able to meet the stringent requirements. yí jiàn shuāng diāo  Okay, so let’s be … Because idioms don't always make sense literally, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the meaning and usage of each idiom. "practice makes perfect" or "shun4 feng1" Search 1 Hit the sack. The purpose of this article is not, however, to delve into the etymology of each saying. Ear… what now? 10 Facts About Cell-Cultured Chicken That Doesn’t Need Any Animal to Die to Produce... 2 COVID-19 Cases Today (2 Dec) & Both Are Imported Cases. No work, get free stuff. Chinese Idioms and Proverbs In Chinese they are called “chéngyǔ“ — a 4 character idiomatic expression often revealing a truth or perspective whose origins are based on stories or historical quotations. This Chinese idiom is used the same as the English equivalents. They are often referred to as Chinese idioms or four-character idioms; however, they are not the only idioms in Chinese. 冬吃萝卜夏吃姜, 不用医生开药方. Chinese Idiom Dictionary free download - Talking Dictionary, Dictionary, iFinger Collins English Dictionary, and many more programs Used in a sentence: 给不懂英语的人朗诵莎士比亚,实在是对牛弹琴。. DIANA XIN writes fiction and teaches writing in Seattle, Washington. You can view the chengyu and the explanation in either simplified or traditional Chinese. But don’t let that stop you from trying to be as Chinese as possible like you’ve been doing for CNY. English Translation: You’ll often see mirages while walking in the desert. Just like the first idiom, the literal meaning of this would be physically hitting or beating … English Translation: There is no such thing as no work, get free stuff. Come on! English Translation: If you don’t know his address, looking for him in Singapore is like fishing for a needle on the bottom of the ocean. (Watch till the end!) HOME. An additional note: This expression can also be used as a question to express your surprise at an uncommon incident. This work is the result of his many years' collection of and comparison between Chinese and English phrases, idioms … (Of course, you can also remind the team that “all press is good press.”), Chinese version: Carrots in winter and ginger in summer, then the doctor won’t have to write a prescription. Chinese set expression, typically of 4 characters, often alluding to a story or historical quotation / idiom / proverb / saying / adage / CL: 條|条, 本, 句 成 語 HSK 5 That’s another one of those ancient Chinese pots. This proverb originated from a Q and A with Confucius. in. Idioms is a special culture which is shaped in the daily lives of the local people, particularly the idioms of diet has a close relation with various elements, such as the eating custom , history, fairy tales, geographic situations. The working people have created many idioms in their work and life. There is currently no English chengyu explanation. 4. Which one best applies to your situation? ", It's also interesting to note that the second half of the idiom is often omitted in English. Oh my God, what is that word? Apparently the Chinese see mirages more on the oceans than the deserts, but that’s a discussion for another time. Unfortunately, there’s nine of them now. English Translation: The story of Newton and the apple is well known. Type something in the field below, to find great chinese idioms. English: Give a man a fish and you feed him for one day. 3. Yes, someone played piano for some cows. This Chinese Idiom refers to someone who has the spirit of perseverance in the face of adversity. Click any Card for More Information. Did You Know You Can Use Yoyo Chinese Like a Mobile App? This portrayal carried on into the literary epic, Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The implied meaning here is actually to profit from others’ efforts, so really, nothing’s free. Tip: Open our free video-based pinyin chart to check your pronunciation of these words. 乌[wū] is not 鸟 [niǎo] even though they look alike. 500 Common Chinese Idioms is the ideal tool for all intermediate to advanced learners of Chinese. Originally, it was a reminder that leaders were kept afloat by the populous that supported them. “Sailors”, for example, invented a lot of vivid phrases, which related to the ocean. 2. That just invites thieves to come along and steal your car. Good thing we were prepared for this from the previous one. Read this article in the Goody Feed App now! You can also click on the chengyu to get a stroke order for the chengyu. Click here to Log in. Language is often the most alienating and isolating cultural barrier, preventing us from communicating and connecting with the world around us. What do you mean that was 10 years ago!? Rather, the Chinese word 乌 is mentioned. How did this idiom even come about? Used in a sentence: 从小在父母的耳濡目染下,我决定当一名医生。. 6 Awesome Authentic Chinese Foods You Need to Know About. I can already see you recoiling in fear. 一见钟情. It may not be romantic love, but both cultures celebrate the importance of the Golden Rule. But most of them aren’t fit for use in everyday speech…. Chinese version: A crane standing among a flock of chickens. In Chinese, no one will ever say "shuō cáo cāo (说曹操)" and leave it at that. Chinese Idiom Story 3: 凿壁偷光 Dig a Hole in the Wall. yí jiàn zhōng qíng So the CNY holidays have ended for most of you, and your routine obligations like work and school have begun again. yì shí èr niăo  Drink water think of the source. You just … Seriously, Chinese, couldn’t you use simpler words for the same meaning? Type something in the field below, to find great chinese idioms. English Translation: From the influence of my parents when I was young, I decided to become a doctor. ENGLISH EQUAL: Wolf in sheep’s clothing. it works with chinese, pinyin and english. This looks like a mish-mash of generic good descriptions. You just translate them simply and the meaning is obvious. ex. Also, different ways of translation on different diet idioms in English and Chinese will be analyzed in this article. Both cultures focus on nutrition as a way to avoid seeing or bothering the doctor, but the Chinese idiom includes a seasonal caveat as well as a focus on prescriptions and medications—which can be both costly and foul tasting. They are derived from ancient literature and most of which consist of four characters. How sad. Most idioms come from the ordinary people’s daily life. This all goes to show that even for languages as different as English and Chinese, there are common ideas we all feel the need to express. Each Chinese idiom carries profound meaning, and knowing how to use them will help you sound just like a native Chinese speaker. But what’s funny in English may not be quite as funny in Mandarin Chinese and vice versa. See, Chinese idioms aren’t that difficult at all. It's used to indicate that someone is saying or doing something that shouldn't be mentioned in front of others, or that someone is bringing up a sensitive subject. Saving one of my favourite Chinese idioms for last. No, this does not say 海底捞. This Chinese Idiom translated into English means “love me, love my dog”, although the Chinese character for dog “狗” is not mentioned in the Chengyu. This Chinese Idiom translated into English means “love me, love my dog”, although the Chinese character for dog “狗” is not mentioned in the Chengyu. 爱人如己. We just taught you how to use 15 Chinese idioms, for free. Those two words both mean see. When You Exercise & Eat at the Same Time #shorts. Anytime you are enjoying some gossip and suddenly the subject of your conversation texts, calls, or announces her presence, you can verbalize this coincidence by saying, "shuō cáo cāo, cáo cāo dào (说曹操,曹操到)! 鹤立鸡群. Oh. In the Chinese version, kitchen scraps like chicken feathers and garlic peels are used. Ok, these complicated Chinese words need to stop. Yeah, that’s it. These days, both expressions are used more generally to point out how our tools can either help or harm, depending on how we use them. You say you smile with your eyes, I give it to you, but your eyebrows? Actually, though, this means you’ll see further when you’re high up, or to be farsighted. English Translation: He is as huge and heavy as a giant ancient Chinese pot. Chú feī … 成语 Chéngyǔ are a type of traditional Chinese idioms typically made up of four characters.. There’s over 5000 (!) This is a good way to remind people to eat more nutritiously and mind their health. Everyone knows you’re not going to touch Chinese stuff until the next holidays. Who in the right mind would play piano for cows? When talking about an event that is impossible, Westerners turn to flights of fancy, and the Chinese to astronomical upheaval. Based on large corpora of authentic language data, it presents the 500 most commonly used Chinese idioms or chengyu, along with a variety of synonyms, antonyms and the most common structures, enabling the reader to make educated guesses about the meanings of hundreds of unfamiliar idioms. In recent years, much attention has been paid to how translation can benefit English idiom learning for English language learners. shuǐ néng zài zhōu, yì néng fù zhōu Ok, this one is a little scarier. The chart has video explanations for difficult sounds and audio demonstrations for all 400+ Mandarin sounds! There are two of them scary Chinese words now (Why do you even need two?). You had to be careful when speaking ill about him. Interestingly enough, the origin for this phrase in Chinese also comes from a translation of the Bible. English Translation: During CNY, Chinatown people mountain people sea. 三思而后行. Perhaps we can assume that bigger problems must be expressed through bigger fowl? Often called “Chinese idioms” in English, the term 成语 (chéngyǔ) can be directly translated as “already made words” or “formed words.” Woven together over thousands of years out of ancient myths, fairy tales, philosophical musings, poetry and folktales, Chinese idioms are a testament to the longevity and continuity of the Chinese language.

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