Author: holly666

C-E: how to say "女大十八变"? [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2007-6-22 11:25:54 |Display all floors
Originally posted by 1st_resp at 2007-6-22 10:51
Hi Holly - I have a question about the Chinese language - Is this a saying, or common phrase? Something a mother would say to her child? I ask because the literal translation lacks poetry in Englis ...

The "big" in the Chinese sentence means " growing into, reaching the age of", and so, 18  is her age. The "change" generally refers to her physical appearance, the looks, body, etc. It's just like your next-door girl, formerly an inconspicuous, ordinary-looking slip of girl, suddenly turning into a beautiful, suave, urbane lady just on another ordinary day. The day she hits 18 or so and the day you notice the changes.
If winter comes, can spring be frozen ahead?

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Post time 2007-6-22 11:33:04 |Display all floors

To 1st: A girl growing up is a new girl every day.


女 a girl
大 growing up (mainly for the period from adolescent to young adult)
十八 18 (just means some large number)
变 changes (metamorphism?)

A girl growing up undergoes innumerable changes -- usually favorable changes (remember the ugly duckling?), but it can be used in a negative sense also.  Also, applies to changes in both physical appearance and in personality (temperament, maturity, etc.).


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Post time 2007-6-22 11:47:06 |Display all floors
Those are wonderful answers. Thank you everyone. It is very important to compliment a young woman especially to her family. We do the same thing. I can see the poetry in the saying now that I know about the gods metamorphosis. Great explanations. Thank you.
Husband, father, farmer, logger, woodcutter, and rancher

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