Category Archives: folk metaphor


Chinese Enigmatic Folk Similes

Background: A friend and I were talking about the COVID-19 situation in the US. She mentioned that at late February, when COVID started to spread in the US, some people bought masks and sent them to Wuhan, China to support the medical workers there. She brought up this common saying: Main piece:  泥菩萨过河——自身难保 Pinyin: ni… Continue Reading »

守株待兔 – Guarding the tree to wait for a rabbit

“In Chinese, we have 成语, “cheng yu,” which are four word idioms that can refer to stories or just general lessons, or any bit of common wisdom” Original script: 守株待兔 Phonetic (Roman) script: Shǒuzhūdàitù Transliteration: guard tree wait rabbit Full translation:  The following is from a conversation with the informant, talking about the story behind… Continue Reading »

井底之蛙 – The frog at the bottom of the well

“In Chinese, we have 成语 which are four word idioms that can refer to stories or just general lessons, or any bit of common wisdom” Original script:  井底之蛙 Phonetic (Roman) script: Jǐngdǐzhīwā Transliteration: frog at the bottom of the well Full translation:  The following is from a conversation with the informant, talking about the story… Continue Reading »

“When the tiger used to smoke” (호랑이 담배피던 시절)

Main Piece :  “호랑이 담배피던 시절” Original Script : 호랑이 담배피던 시절 Phonetic (Roman) Script : Horangee dambae pidun shijul Transliteration : When the tiger used to smoke Full Translation : Long, long time ago…  Context : My informant is an adult male who was born in the Gangwon Area of Korea, which is located… Continue Reading »

Mexican saying

Main piece: “Calladita te ves más bonita”  Transliteration:  Quiet you look more pretty Full translation:  You look prettier quiet  Background: My informant was my mom and this proverb was something I collected while she was scolding my sister. I asked her later about the proverb (what it meant exactly even though I knew). She gave… Continue Reading »