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You can’t judge a book by its cover

A fun-filled book to lean Chinese proverbs

03·11·2014

As books go 280 Chinese proverbs & English equivalents does exactly what it says on the tin, or book, rather. And if you are in the process of learning Chinese idioms, and there are lots of good ones, then this just might be the book for you. Where Google translate is not able to help, this book probably can.

Chinese proverbs are marked in characters, pinyin, and English translation, and, if there is still any confusion, they give you an English equivalent idiom too. For good measure English proverbs are also marked with a literal Chinese translation. As an added bonus each Chinese proverb is illustrated by series of delightful and fun cartoon illustrations that are, quite genuinely, very neat indeed, arguably serving as the most entertaining part of the book. Proverbs are very important in Chinese culture, as in the Western world too, and cultural gaps that were once hard to understand can be made smaller by this fun-packed little reference book.

This book can be used as a text book and a dictionary to learn and query proverbs by foreign and Chinese readers, as well as reading material to appreciate Chinese culture, promoting cultural exchange through empathy.

The English proverb “No man is wise at all times” has a funny and down-to-the-earth Chinese equivalent “聪明一世,糊涂一时”, that has the literal translation  “Even smart people can have stupid moments”. And here is a funny illustration that goes with it:

proverbs

 

 

In another example “One rotten apple spoils the barrel” changes into “一粒老鼠屎,坏了一锅汤” which literally means “One bit of rat’s dung in the soup spoils the whole pot”. Do check out the awesome illustration:

rats

 

Some of the proverbs are very similar to the translation. For example the Chinese proverb: 百闻不如一见, “Seeing once is better than hearing a hundred times” becomes, simply ” Seeing is believing”.

 

BOOK-REVIEW

Some Chinese proverbs are, let’s say,  very literal: 丑媳妇早晚要见公婆 – “The ugly bride will be presented to her parents-in-law sooner or later” becomes “The truth will come out ”

Some proverbs that are not that interesting by themselves are given such funny illustrations that you can’t but help want to learn the proverb in question, such as 树倒猢狲散 – ‘When the tree falls, the monkeys scatter”.

book-monkey

 

Some proverbs just make you laugh, and you make you want to use this proverbs in your daily life. Imagine walking in your office or your classroom and saying something like: 天网恢恢,疏而不漏 – “Large thought its meshes may be, the wide net of justice lets no criminal through”. Compare this to the less colorful English version: “Justice has long arms”.

 

justice

All in all if you are keen on picking up some Chinese idioms in a fun way this is a great little book to do it. Order your own copy in our online store now!

 

 

 

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