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jinmingchen 2018-1-16 19:18
Talking about Idioms (20)
In cold winter of the north, we can still see the pine and the cypress have green leaves even though they are covered snows and ice. They are so remarkable to be noticed in the cold weather that makes people to praise them. One Chinese idiom which is often used to express such a feeling is called “岁寒知松柏 (suì hán zhī sōng bǎi)”, meaning only when the year grows cold do we see the qualities of the pine and the cypress. The idiom is often been used to describe a person ...
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jinmingchen 2018-1-7 21:52
Talking about Idioms (19)
It is snowing heavily these days in many place , so I’d like to talk about an idiom related to snow, that is “瑞雪兆丰年ruì xuě zhào fēng nián”. The idiom means a timely snow promises a good harvest. The idiom’s origin can be trace back to an article " On Drought and Hungry" written by 韩愈(Han Yu),an famous ancient prose writer in the Tang Dynasty. In this article we read the sentence: “今瑞雪频降,来年必丰”,(these days auspicious snow falls frequently , so next year will be a ...
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jinmingchen 2018-1-1 17:12
Talking about Idioms (18)
Happy New Year! Today is the first day of 2018 and the new year begins. We all expect the new year will bring us a good luck. So I introduce a Chinese idiom about New Year’s Day to express such a desire. The idiom is “万象更新”, mandarin pronunciation wàn xiàng gēng xīn. It means things or surroundings are changing and a new look is appearing. Let me explain the meaning of each word in the idiom: “万” , a number unit for ten thousand, here broadly means everyt ...
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jinmingchen 2017-12-26 21:05
Talking about Idioms (17)
In our life we sometimes find ourselves in a bad plight and we feel despair. However, just like light shines the darkness, we suddenly see a way out .The situation is totally changed. Describing such experience, the Chinese people use the idiom “ 柳暗花明(liǔ àn huā míng).” The Chinese character “柳“is willows , “暗” dim, “花”flowers, and “明‘’bright, so the idiom literal meaning is willow trees are dim and flowers are bright. The idiom comes from a poem called 《游山西村》( ...
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jinmingchen 2017-12-11 20:51
Talking about Idioms (16)
The Chinese idiom “业精于勤”,mandarin pronunciation yè jīng yú qín, means excellence in one’s studies is from diligence. The idiom comes from Han Yu’s essay Advice on Learning (《进学解》), which says “业精于勤,荒于嬉;行成于思,毁于随”. (Excellence in one’s studies is from diligence while indulging in much fun desolates one’s learning; success is achieved through deliberate thought but ruined by casual attitude ). The author Han Yu ( 韩愈)(768-824)was a great writer, ...
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jinmingchen 2017-12-5 10:36
Talking about Idioms (15)
People often praise those who are diligent. The Chinese idiom “勤能补拙qín néng bǔ zhuō” is used to indicate such persons. The idiom “勤能补拙”comes from the ancient poem entitled Chanting Pen (弄笔吟),written by Sao Yiong (邵雍),a philosopher in the Song Dynasty. We read in the poem: “弄假像真终是假,将勤补拙总轮勤” ( Pretending to be true is eventually not true; a clumsy person with diligence will finally win.) People later use the words “ 勤能补拙” as an idi ...
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jinmingchen 2017-11-29 16:52
Talking about Idioms (14)
Lin Zexu (1785-1850), a statesman, thinker and poet in the Qing Dynasty, had a reputation of national hero in China for his strictly banning opium in 1840 ( see the movie Opium War). When he was the governor of Guangdong Province, he wrote down an antithetical couplet“海纳百川有容乃大 ;壁立千仞无欲则刚 ”(the sea is big as it is willing to accommodate every river; cliffs rise thousands feet as it is unwilling to lean against.) The couplet has since been used to describe the noble charact ...
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jinmingchen 2017-11-26 18:04
Talking about Idioms (13)
Zheng Banqiao(郑板桥), a famous painter and calligrapher in the Qing Dynasty, inscribed the words "难得糊涂( nán dé hú tu)”on a tablet, which has become a very popular idiom afterward. Consulting a Chinese - English dictionary, I find “难得糊涂” has been translated as “ Where ignorance is a bliss, it's folly to be wise”, while I think, its literal meaning may be “it is not easy to appear foolish”. It is said that Zhen Banqiao wrote the tablet of "难得 ...
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jinmingchen 2017-11-22 20:05
Talking about Idioms (12)
If a friend of you does not satisfy with his situation, say, his work earnings, his job tittle , or his living conditions, and he often complains about these to you, what would you say to him? Show your sympathetic and compassion to him or give him some advice or some words of encouragement? For me, I would like to suggest him to stop complaints and to take an attitude of self- contentment. There is a idiom which Chinese people often use to describe one’s self satisfaction, that is ...
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jinmingchen 2017-11-19 16:46
In my previous blogs, I introduced a couple of Chinese idioms which often be seen on the calligraphy banners. I think the Chinese idioms have some differences from English idioms in the following aspects: 1.The form of Chinese idioms is more strict than that of English idioms. A Chinese idiom has a fixed form with four Chinese characters (very few three or more than four), and the word used in the idiom cannot be replaced with its synonym , and the words sequence also cannot be changed. &nb ...
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