Chinese Idiom Story “破镜重圆”

alt 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

南朝的陈国将要灭亡的时候,驸马徐德言把一面铜镜破开,跟妻子各留下一半。双方约定:如果将来夫妻失散了,就把它当作信物。后来,夫妻二人真的失散了,凭借着各人留下的半面镜子,他们最终又得到团圆。

“破镜重圆”这个成语比喻夫妻失散或分离后重新团聚。

破镜重圆 (pò jìng chóng yuán)
【翻译】A Broken Mirror Made Whole Again.
【释义】比喻夫妻失散或离婚后重新团聚。
【例句】王先生和她妻子离婚多年了,前不久破镜重圆,重新踏入了婚姻的殿堂。
【近义词】和好如初、言归于好
【反义词】覆水难收、一去不返

Chinese Idiom Story “蚍蜉撼树”

alt

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.

韩愈是唐朝著名的诗人。他的一首诗中写到:“蚍蜉撼大树,可笑不自量。”(蚂蚁高估了自己的能力,竟然想推倒大树,十分可笑。) 此成语用来比喻力量很小却想撼动强大的事物,自不量力。

蚍蜉撼树 ( pí fú hàn shù )
【翻译】 An Ant Trying to Shake a Big Tree.
【释义】 蚍蜉:蚂蚁。蚂蚁想摇动大树。比喻力量很小而想动摇强大的事物,不自量力。
【例句】 石油工人拿出蚍蜉撼树的精神,不怕困难,终于一举甩掉了中国的贫油国帽子。
【近义词】 自不量力、螳臂当车
【反义词】 量力而行、力不能及

Chinese Idiom Story “披荆斩棘”

alt

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.

冯异是东汉初期一位著名的军事将领,是东汉光武帝刘秀手下的一员大将,立下不少战功,成为东汉的开国功臣之一。

公元二十五年,刘秀建立了东汉政权,做了皇帝,他派冯异大将军平定了关中。以后,刘秀封冯异为阳夏侯,任征西大将军。

公元三十年,冯异到京城洛阳,朝拜光武帝。光武帝隆重地接待了他,并向文武百官介绍说:“他是我当年起兵时的主将,为我在创夜的道路上劈开了丛生的荆棘,扫除了重重障碍,平定了关中广大地区,是个人冠军有功之臣啊!” 由于冯异,谦虚好学,所以深得人们敬仰。
披荆斩棘 (pī jīng zhǎn jí)
【翻译】break through brambles and thorns.
【释义】拨开、砍断荆棘。比喻在创业道路上或前进道路上清除障碍,克服困难。
【例句】王强在创业过程中不怕困难,披荆斩棘,终于取得了令人羡慕的成就。
【近义词】乘风破浪、一往无前
【反义词】畏首畏尾、瞻前顾后

Chinese idiom story 言过其实

 

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, yán means “talk”, 过 guò means “too much, over”; 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.

设计部门认为我们提出的产品包装上的问题是言过其实了.

The design department thought that the packaging issue that we raised was overstated.

nǐ zhèyàng kuājiǎng mèimei yǒudiǎn yánguòqíshí le ba?

你这样夸奖妹妹有点言过其实了吧?

Don’t you think you over praised my sister for what she had done?

 

 

Chinese idiom story 脱颖而出

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 脱颖而出 tuō yǐng’ér chū became a well-known Chinese idiom to be handed down the history. Literally,  means “come out, become loose”, means “the handle”, means “come out”. The whole idiom literally means “the sharp end sticks out”. It is used to describe the phenomenon that outstanding people stand out from the crowd.

 

If you are persistent and pay enough effort on your Chinese language, one day you’ll 脱颖而出 tuō yǐng’ér chū as well.

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.

进入学校后, 表演才能脱颖而出, 各种文艺活动成为大家关注焦点.

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.

这个精英组成部门里, 脱颖而出不是容易事.

In this elite department, it’s not an easy thing to stand out.

Chinese idiom story 借花献佛

A frequently used Chinese idiom 借花献佛 jiè huā xiàn fó might have bewiddled you if you didn’t understand it’s meaning. Judging from it’s literal translation, it’s not that easy to guess out what exactly it means. 花 jiè huā, to borrow flowers, 佛 xiàn fó, to present to the Buddha. To borrow flowers to present to Buddha, does it make much sense to you?!

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.

既然不想去, 别人电影票送给姐姐, 开心的. 借花献佛.

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.

商业交往学会借花献佛一种本事.

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 借花献佛 before? It could be as simple as resend a gift you received to others as a gift from yourself. If you did, then try to describe what happened by using this Chinese idiom.

Learn Chinese-How to express generalized things and people

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 “一个人 yīgèrén” to explain “one”. Then the above example can be translated into “一个人炫耀,显出掩盖空虚。(yīgèrén yuè xuànyào, yuè xiǎnchū tā xiǎng yǎngài de kōngxū。)”

Generally speaking, an English noun that starts with “a” or “an” can be translated into “个”. Based on the noun, “个” can be replaced with more appropriate quantifiers, such as “只(for animals)”, “辆(for vehicles)” etc.

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 “某mǒu”, “天(someday)”,"个人(someone)","事(something)"etc.

Now, let’s read through the following examples together and make a sentence of your own in the end:

坚持成功。

yī gè huì jiānchí de rén jiù huì chénggōng。

One that persists succeeds.

 

 

只要心中爱,一定刻,等到读懂人。

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.

Spoken mandarin: where to pause, where to connect

 

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, “我们学习中文吧!” should be spoken with proper pauses as below:

我们 学习 中文吧!”

我们, 学习, 中文 are words that should be spoken with connecting sound. We only pause between each word of them.

 

Rule No. Two: Character with light tone (fifth tone) needs to be spoken together with its previous word. Such as 的,了,吗,吧 etc.

你 不要 生气了(light),吗(light)?

我们 吧(light)!

 

Rule No. Three: While you speak, connect verb and single-character object.

离开家 时,请 先 灯,再 关门!

 

Rule No. Four: If you want to emphasize a word in a sentence, just say that word slower and louder.

的 父母(slower and louder) 哪里?

 

Rule No. Five: Single-character transition word is spokenfast and light.

慢慢来,着(light) 自己。

出去 一(light)走。

Chinese mini story – 推销员 The Salesman. Part 5-The end

推销员

 

户主想,这种清洁剂包装确实漂亮。如果证明质量不会差。亲戚朋友其实好。于是问,"哟,涨价呢?如果你们自己买,优惠吗?"
我们自己倒是可以呢。"矮个儿自豪说。
折?吗?"户主恳切问。
这样,户主痛痛快快瓶。
推销员下午之前,卖光了清洁剂。
个儿没有急着高兴,回家上,开车矮个儿,"师傅,这些买家大多数没有真正试用我们产品,他们使用会不会退货呢?"
矮个儿个儿背,"放心吧!从来不推销劣质产品。世上挑剔客户试用这个产品,评价呢!所以才能放心大胆推销。"
噢?吗?啊?"个儿好奇问。
老婆。"

 

[pinyin]

tuīxiāoyuán

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。"

 

[vocabulary]

ChineseTrad.PinyinEnglish Definition
确实確實què shíindeed; really
huǒhot (popular)
亲戚親戚qīn qia relative (i.e. family relation)
优惠優惠yōu huìdiscount
恳切懇切kěn qièearnest; sincere
痛痛快快tòng tong kuài kuàiimmediately; without a moment’s hesitation
劣质劣質liè zhìof poor quality
挑剔tiāo tipicky; fussy

 

[English]

The Salesman

The two salesmen sold out their full carload of product before two o’clock in the afternoon.
Money made, the tall guy did not get happy too soon. He asked the short guy while driving the car home,”Sir, most buyers today haven’t actually tried out our product, do you think they will return the product once they start to use?”
The short one patted the tall one’s back and said,”Just relax! I never sell poor quality stuff. I’ve had the most picky customer in the world try it out before, and the feedback was really good! Because of that, I was able to go out there and sell them with full confidence.”
“Oh? Reall y? Who was that?” The tall one asked curiously.

“My wife.”

– The End –

Chinese mini story – 推销员 The Salesman. Part 4

 

推销员  4

 

星期后,他们户主门。主见他们,里,速度测试单,出来交给他们。
我们产品满意吗?"矮个儿满面春风问。
满意啊, 好用的。"户主装出满意样子。其实,根本打开盖。
太好了! 我们第五评估人。评估我们收集多数评估一样,非常好。"
着,一旁个儿晃动一下手里评估单。"既然满意,我们赠送瓶,感谢!"
户主高兴接过赠品。
顺便告诉消息。由于顾客对本产品反馈特别好,这种清洁剂已经断货了,价位已经上调百分之二十。幸运,免费用。"矮个儿热情说。

 

[pinyin]

tuīxiāoyuán 4

 

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。

 

[vocabulary]

ChineseTrad.PinyinEnglish Definition
满面春风滿面春風mǎn miàn chūn fēngbeaming; radiant with happiness
顾客顧客 client; customer
反馈反饋fǎn kuìfeedback
价位價位jià wèiprice level
热情熱情 qíngenthusiastic; passionately

 

[English]

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.