In the Northern and Southern Dynasties (nán běi cháo 南北朝,420-589AD) when the State of Chen (chén guó 陈国) was facing its demise, Xu Deyan (xú dé yán 徐德言), husband of the princess, broke a bronze mirror into halves. Each of them kept a half as tokens in case they were separated. Soon afterwards, they did lose touch with each other, but the two halves of the mirror enabled them to be reunited.
This idiom is used to refer to the reunion of a couple after they lose touch or break up.
破镜重圆 (pò jìng chóng yuán)
Han Yu (hàn yù 韩愈)was a famous poet of the Tang Dynasty ( tàng chào 唐朝,618-907). In one of his poems he wrote, “An ant tries to topple a giant tree, ridiculously overrating its ability.”This idiom later was used to indicate overestimating one’s power and trying to overthrow someone much stronger.
蚍蜉撼树 ( pí fú hàn shù )
【翻译】 An Ant Trying to Shake a Big Tree.
In the early stage of Eastern Han Dynasty (dōng hàn 东汉,25—220AD),Feng Yi (féng yì 冯异)established himself as a prestigious general,who risked his own life to fight hard for his leader—Liu Xiu (liú xiù 刘秀),the man who later became the ruler of Eastern Han Dynasty. Through a great many of wars,big or small,Feng Yi gained his fame and the trust from the leader step by step.
During the year of 25 AD,with the great dedication and help of Feng Yi,Liu Xiu eventually lived up to his dream—found the Eastern Han Dynasty,himself then became the king of the country,Luo Yang (luò yáng 洛阳) as the capital of the state. However,he didn’t take all of this for granted,in fact,in the very depth of his heart,he never forget the tremendous contributions from his royal partner—Feng Yi. Before long,in order to pay a tribute to him,the king appointed Fengyi as the vassal of one region,where he was free to exercise power.
Time flied quickly,five year later,Feng Yi went to Luo Yang to pilgrimage the king. Undoubtedly,Liu Xiu gave him a very warm welcome as soon as he arriving. After the dinner,he introduced Feng Yi to other officials around in a grateful tone:”You see,the guy standing there is the one who broke through brambles and thorns for me during the harsh revulutionary times,who wiped out the enemies,who paved the way for the foundation of our thriving country. It’s safe to say that ,without his heart and soul sacrifice,I would be nobody now. He is a real hero of the country!”
Afterwards,“break through brambles and thorns” was used as an idiom describing the individual who exert himself to get htrough the bad situation in the road of pursuing his dream.
披荆斩棘 (pī jīng zhǎn jí)
【翻译】break through brambles and thorns.
Some Chinese idioms are very easy to understand and remember. They’re also very practical to use. This kind of idioms are must-to-learn if you’re learning Chinese and trying hard to improve your way of talking to be more engaging and charming. At the same time the vocabulary you use should be easy for people to understand with no ambiguity.
Chinese idiom 言过其实 yán guò qí shí is such a word that you should train your brain to memorize and recall whenever you need it. Literally, 言 yán means “talk”, 过 guò means “too much, over”; 其 qí means “it”; 实 shí means “the fact, the actual way it is”. By piecing together the four characters, the meaning of the idiom is almost obvious : exaggerate, overstate.
This idiom can be used to point out that something is being overstated. Or it can be used to accept people’s compliment on you in a modest way – a way of 客气 kèqi.
Now let’s have a look at how it is used in different context:
shèjì bùmén rènwéi wǒmen tíchū de chǎnpǐn bāozhuāng shàng de wèntí shì yánguòqíshí le.
The design department thought that the packaging issue that we raised was overstated.
nǐ zhèyàng kuājiǎng mèimei yǒudiǎn yánguòqíshí le ba?
Don’t you think you over praised my sister for what she had done?
In Warring States period (about 1500 years ago), Zhao kingdom was under beseiged by Qing kingdom. The King of Zhao assigned Duke Ping Yuan Jun to bring the best 20 of his staff to to their allies Chu kingdom to ask for assistance. Ping yuan Jun picked 19 people but still have one vacancy. At that time, a guy named Mao Sui volunteered to go. Ping Yuan Jun didn’t approve, he said:” Of all the three years you stayed with my staff, I’ve never heard anything special about you. Sorry I can’t pick you. Talented people should be like a sharp tool in your pocket, it’s sharp end is bound to stick out.”
Mao Sui answered, “If I didn’t stick out that’s because I haven’t let you to put me into your pocket. If you give me a chance, you will see my very sharp end. ” Ping Yuan Jun thought about his words and decided to give him a chance.
After they arrived in Chu kingdom, none of the 19 people were able to persuade the King of Chu, only Mao Sui was able to manage an intimidating negotiation with King of Chu and persuaded him to send force to help Chu in the war with Qing.
Since then this story of
If you are persistent and pay enough effort on your Chinese language, one day you’ll
Now let’s learn how to use it from the following examples:
jìnrù xīn xuéxiào hòu, tā de biǎoyǎn cáinéng hěn kuài jiù tuōyǐng’érchū, zài gèzhǒng wényì huódòngzhōng chéngwéi dàjiā guānzhù de jiāodiǎn.
After she entered the new school, her performance talent stood out soon. It helped her to become the focus in all kinds of shows.
zài zhège yóu jīngyīng zǔchéng de bùmén lǐ, yào xiǎng tuōyǐng’érchū zhēn bùshì yī jiàn róngyì de shì.
In this elite department, it’s not an easy thing to stand out.
A frequently used Chinese idiom
If not, I’ll help you out here. The original story was about a poor man. He wanted to thank Buddha who helped bring rain to his village in drought (people were superstitious in ancient China). However he was too poor to buy anything to present to Buddha. So he borrowed some money from others and bought flowers to present to Buddha.
Today this idiom just means to use other people’s stuff to do your own favor. Is it a negative idiom? Not necessarily. As a matter of fact, it is used positively in lots of cases.
Let’s see some examples :
jìrán bùxiǎng qù, jiù bǎ biéren sòng de diànyǐngpiào sònggěi nǐ jiějie, tā huì hěn kāixīn de. zhè jiào jièhuāxiàn Fó.
Since you don’t want to go, you can give the ticket that others gave you to your sister, she’ll be really happy. This is called “using other people’s stuff to do your own favor”.
zài shāngyè jiāowǎng zhōng xuéhuì jièhuāxiàn Fó yě shì yīzhǒng běnshi.
In socializing with your business partners, learn to reuse the benefit or favor you received is also a strategy of a kind.
Have you ever done
When great thinkers express their wisdoms they love to use generalized nouns and pronouns. Therefore whoever reads it can relate the wisdom to his or her own life.
For example, “The more one shows off, the more one tries to cover up.”
In Chinese, we can use “
Generally speaking, an English noun that starts with “a” or “an” can be translated into “
People also like to say “some day”, “some one” or “something” when referring to people or thing that could happen randomly. Or, in the situation that naming the exact people or thing is not necessary. For these kind of words, you do need the magic character of “
Now, let’s read through the following examples together and make a sentence of your own in the end:
一 个 会 坚持 的 人 就 会 成功。
yī gè huì jiānchí de rén jiù huì chénggōng。
One that persists succeeds.
只要 心中 有 爱， 你 一定 会 在 某 一 天 的 某 一 刻， 等到 某 一 个 能 读懂 你 的 爱 的 人。
zhǐyào xīnzhōng yǒu ài， nǐ yīdìng huì zài mǒu yī tiān de mǒu yī kè， děngdào mǒu yī gè néng dúdǒng nǐ de ài de rén。
As long as you have love, surely you will meet the one that can understand your love at a special moment one day.
Now it’s your turn to make a sentence with generalized pronoun. You can either try translating the following sentence or making up your own:
One day he will wake up and understand.
The most exciting moment of learningmandarin is probably when you can orally express yourself in fluent and pleasant mandarin. To make yourself understood and sound right, other than getting the tone right, please make sure you pause and connect at the right position within sentence.
Giving the same pause between characters can only make you sound like a “machine”. In mandarin, speaking sentence with the right rhyme does make a big difference.
Let me give you some explanation on “pause” and “connect” first. “Pause” is a very short instant between two independent word or phrase within one sentence. The sound of the previous “independent word or phrase” has been completed and you can give a full pause before you speak the next “independent word or phrase”.
On the other hand, “connect” means you have to speak the whole word or phrase together with no “full pause”. People might even skip the full sound of some characters to make the word or phrase sound as a whole. Otherwise, your conversation partner will have difficulty understanding the exact meaning you want to express through the word and phrase. During a conversation, to pause while you shouldconnect will make your sentence sound alien and easily confuse people.
The question is how would you know when to pause and when to connect? Well, all in all, you can only tell for sure after you’ve listened to enough native communications. Meanwhile, I’d like to share some tips on “Where to pause, where to connect?”. In the examples below, space represents “pause”.
Rule No. One: Don’t pause between characters that belong to the same word or phrase.
For example, “
Rule No. Two: Character with light tone (fifth tone) needs to be spoken together with its previous word. Such as
Rule No. Three: While you speak, connect verb and single-character object.
Rule No. Four: If you want to emphasize a word in a sentence, just say that word slower and louder.
Rule No. Five: Single-character transition word is spokenfast and light.
nǚ hùzhǔ yī xiǎng， zhèzhǒng qīngjiéjì de bāozhuāng quèshí piàoliang。 rúguǒ mài dé huǒ zhèngmíng zhìliàng yě bùhuì chà。 mǎi jǐ píng sòng sòng qīnqi péngyou qíshí yě mán hǎo。 yúshì tā wèn，＂ yo， hái zhǎngjià ne？ rúguǒ nǐmen zìjǐ mǎi， néng yǒu yōuhuì ma？＂
＂ wǒmen zìjǐ mǎi dàoshi kěyǐ ná dào qī zhé ne。＂ ǎigèr zìháo dì shuō。
” qī zhé？ nà nǐ bāng wǒ mǎi jǐ píng xíng ma？＂ nǚ hùzhǔ kěnqiè dì wèn。
jiù zhèyàng， nǚ hùzhǔ tòngtongkuàikuài de mǎi le shí píng。
liǎng gè tuīxiāoyuán zài xiàwǔ liǎng diǎn zhīqián， màiguāngle zhěng chē de qīngjiéjì。
zhèng dào qián hòu de gāo gèr bìng méiyǒu jízhe gāoxìng， tā zuò zài huíjiā de chē shàng， wèn kāichē de ǎigèr，＂ shīfu， zhèxiē mǎijiā de dàduōshù dōu méiyǒu zhēnzhèng shìyòng guò wǒmen de chǎnpǐn， nà tāmen shǐyòng hòu huìbùhuì yòu tuìhuò ne？＂
ǎigèr yòng yī zhǐ shǒu pāi pāi gāo gèr de bèi，＂ fàngxīn ba！ wǒ cóngláibù tuīxiāo lièzhì chǎnpǐn。 wǒ zhǎo guò shìshàng zuì tiāoti de kèhù shìyòng guò zhège chǎnpǐn， píngjià hěn gāo ne！ suǒyǐ wǒ cáinéng fàngxīn dàdǎn dì qù tuīxiāo。＂
＂ ō？ shì ma？ nǐ zhǎo de shì shéi ā？＂ gāo gèr hàoqí de wèn。
＂ wǒ lǎopó。＂
|què shí||indeed; really|
|qīn qi||a relative (i.e. family relation)|
|kěn qiè||earnest; sincere|
|tòng tong kuài kuài||immediately; without a moment’s hesitation|
|liè zhì||of poor quality|
|tiāo ti||picky; fussy|
– The End –
yī xīngqī hòu， tāmen yòu qiāo kāi le nǚ hùzhǔ de mén。 nǚ hù zhǔjiàn shì tāmen，máng pǎo jìn fáng lǐ， yǐ zuì kuài de sùdù tián wán cèshì dān， chūlái jiāogěi tāmen。
” nǐ duì wǒmen de chǎnpǐn mǎnyì ma？＂ ǎigèr mǎnmiànchūnfēng dì wèn。
” mǎnyì ā, tǐng hǎoyòng de。＂ nǚ hùzhǔ zhuāngchū yī fú mǎnyì de yàngzi。 qíshí， tāgēnběn hái méi dǎkāi guò píng gài。
＂ nà tàihǎole! nín shì wǒmen dìwǔ qiān líng bā gè pínggū rén。 nǐ de pínggū hé wǒmenshōují dào de duōshù pínggū yīyàng， fēicháng hǎo。＂
shuō zhe， yīpáng de gāo gèr huàngdòng le yīxià tā shǒulǐ hòu hòu de pínggū dān。＂jìrán nǐ duì tā mǎnyì， wǒmen jiù zài zèngsòng nǐ yī píng， yǐ biǎo gǎnxiè！＂
nǚ hùzhǔ gāoxìng dì jiēguò zèngpǐn。
＂ shùnbiàn gàosu nín yī gè hǎo xiāoxi。 yóuyú gùkè duìběn chǎnpǐn de fǎnkuì tèbié hǎo，zhèzhǒng qīngjiéjì yǐjīng mài dào kuài duàn huò le， tā de jiàwèi yǐjīng shàngtiáo lebǎifēnzhī èrshí。 nín hěn xìngyùn， hái néng yǒu miǎnfèi de yòng。＂ ǎigèr rèqíng dìshuō。
|mǎn miàn chūn fēng||beaming; radiant with happiness|
|gù kè||client; customer|
|jià wèi||price level|
|rè qíng||enthusiastic; passionately|
The Salesman 4
One week later, they knocked on the woman’s door again. She recognized them and ran back inside. She filled out the survey in a flash manner and ran back to give it to them.
“Are you happy with our product?” The short one asked with a beaming smile.
“Of course I do, it’s a very good product.” She pretended to be very pleased. As a matter of fact, she hadn’t have a chance to open it.
“Excellent! You’re the fifth thousand and eight customer who took part in our survey. Your report is as positive as most others that we collected.”
While he was talking, the tall one who was standing by waved a thick pile of reports he was holding. “Since you’re very satisfied with our product, we’ll give you another free sample to show our appreciation!”
The lady accepted it in a happy manner.
“Just want to tell you some good news. Based on the wonderful feedback we have, this cleansing product has been sold out in many places. Its price has gone up 20%. You’re lucky to still use free ones.” The short one said with a smile.