Chinese Proverbs and Popular Sayings: With Observations on Culture and Language
Qin Xue Herzberg
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
"Chinese Proverbs and Popular Sayings opens a diverting and useful window on Chinese language and culture." - Asian Review of Books
This treasury of Chinese wisdom presents over five hundred proverbs while offering keys to culture and language. Here are both the familiar, earnest sayings of Confucius and Lao Zi ("The longest journey begins with a single step") and the homespun truths of every day ("Teachers open the door; you enter by yourself"). Designed both for inspirational browsing and for students of language and culture, the text is organized by subject (Learning, Patience, Money, Family, Food, etc.) and provides commentary plus Chinese characters and pinyin romanization for each entry. Includes an index.
Qin Xue Herzberg and Larry Herzberg teach Chinese at Calvin College. They live in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
profession that is not open to women. Yet in the countryside, where over half the Chinese population still lives, boys continue to be preferred to girls, just as in traditional times. A farmer’s sons who can work alongside him in the fields are seen as his security in old age. The “one-child policy” has always allowed rural families to have a second child in an effort to have a son if their first child is a girl. Almost all the sayings below are ancient ones that reflect the traditional view of
plateau in life.) Rén dào wǔshí hǎo bǐ xià shān hǔ. 人到五十好比下山虎。 Dragons The dragon who swims in shallow water becomes the sport of shrimp; the tiger who descends to level ground may be bullied by dogs. (A man who loses position or influence may find himself subjected to much indignity.) Lóng yóu qiǎn shuǐ zāo xiā xì, hǔ luò píng yáng bèi quǎn qī. 龙游浅水遭虾戏，虎落平阳被犬欺。 A dragon begets a dragon; a phoenix begets a phoenix; and a mouse’s offspring know how to dig a hole. (A child with clever and
its wings. (Any army or gang ceases to be a threat if you can dispatch its leader.) Shé wú tóu ér bùxíng, niǎo wú chì ér bùfēi. 蛇无头而不行，鸟无翅而不飞。 Once bitten by a snake in the morning, a person will fear the rope at the well for the next three years. (Once bitten, twice shy.) Yídàn zāo shé yǎo, sān nián pà jǐng shéng 一旦遭蛇咬，三年怕井绳。 The mightiest dragon can’t overcome the chief snake of the district. (Even the most powerful person sometimes has to kowtow to the local strongman or bandit
about the road he takes; one who is poor is not picky about a wife.] (Beggars can’t be choosers; when someone is in dire straits, he or she will often settle for a poor choice.) Jī bù zé shí, hán bù zé yī, huāng bù zé lù, pín bù zé qī. 饥不择食，寒不择衣，慌不择路，贫不择妻。 When eating, take care not to choke; when walking, take care you don’t fall. Chīfàn fáng yē, zǒu lù fáng diē. 吃饭防噎，走路防跌。 The raw rice has already been cooked. (The die has already been cast; what’s done cannot be undone.) Shēng mǐ zhǔ
falling down but refusing to get up. Index A bird does not sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song. A bit of fragrance clings to the hand that gives flowers. A blind cat bumping into a dead rat A boatman’s child knows how to stay afloat on the water. A book is like a garden carried in one’s pocket. About matters that don’t concern you, don’t open your mouth; when questioned, shake your head and say you know nothing about it. A [chicken] egg can’t smash a rock. A