Chinese Resources

Monday, May 28, 2012

A wealth of English phrases (in Chinese)

I'm a huge fan of idiomatic phrases, a topic I've covered quite extensively on the Skritter blog last year, I find they are such a rich way to express your ideas, especially in Chinese; a language that has thousands of years of history. And yet, familiarizing yourself with all of these phrases is never easy. Yet, growing up as a native English speaker, there are already hundreds of idiomatic phrases that I do know and understand. Phrases like: "Don't put all your eggs in one basket," or "early bird gets the worm." 

I would love to use these expressions in Chinese, but I'm not a translator. Although I can usually explain my way around these phrase, my lack of confidence has left these linguistic gems out of my speeches and reports... at least until I came across THIS website. The blogger, who goes by the net-handle 阿靖 (ajing), has complied a list of hundreds of English idiomatic phrases complete with their Chinese counterparts; some of them are pretty literal, while others are simply Chinese phrases that hold very a very similar meaning.   

The key, however, is that instead of using Chinese to figure out the English phrase, we can attack the problem the other way around, using our background knowledge of English to learn similar Chinese expressions. Let's take the above expressions as an example:

Don't put all your eggs in one basket- 別把雞蛋擺在同一籃子裡。不要孤注一擲。
Early bird gets the worm- 早起的鳥兒有蟲吃。

Awesome right!

The site is great for intermediate and advanced learners who have a good feel for how these types of phrases can be used in reports or speeches, and I would highly recommend that everyone add it to their Chinese idioms bookmark folder (surely I'm not the only one who has one of these.)

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