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Axioms and Proverbs (成语) Posted by on Dec 22, 2010 in Uncategorized, Vocabulary

Here are some very…lets say…unique Chinese proverbs or 成语 (chéng ). See if you can figure them out before you read the English transliteration/translation:

熊瞎子摘苞米,摘一个丢一个 pinyin: xióng xiā zi zhāi bāo mǐ, zhāi yí gè diū yí gè
variant: 狗熊掰苞米 (pinyin: gǒu xióng ba bāo mǐ)
Literally: Blind bear picks corn, picks one and drops one.
Meaning: You will lose what you already have if you keep seeking for more.
Note: (Story) A bear (a bear, in Chinese culture, frequently symbolizes someone with little common sense) was picking corn and sticking the corn in his armpit. As he puts the next corn cob into his armpit, opening his arm, he drops the one he already had.
Compare: A bird in hand is worth two in the bush. (Benjamin Franklin – Poor Richard’s Almanac)
有志者,事竟成 (pinyin: yǒu zhì zhe, shì jìng chéng)
Literally: If a person has ambition, things will be accomplished.
Moral: Where there is a will, there is a way (English equivalent).

虎父无犬子 (pinyin: hǔ fù wú quǎn zǐ)
Literally: A tiger father has no canine sons.
Moral: People who are closely related are similar
English Equivalent: A chip off the old block.
English Equivilant 2: An apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

虎父无犬子 (pinyin: hǔ fù wú quǎn zǐ)
Literally: A tiger father has no canine sons.
Moral: People who are closely related are similar
English Equivalent: A chip off the old block.
English Equivilant 2: An apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

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About the Author: Stephen

Writer and blogger for all things China related. Follow me on twitter: @seeitbelieveit -- My Background: Fluent Mandarin speaker with 3+ years working, living, studying and teaching throughout the mainland. Student of Kung Fu and avid photographer and documentarian.


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