Tag Archives: Chinese folk speech


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 »

“Even cold water will get in your teeth” (喝凉水也塞牙)

Original Script : 喝凉水也塞牙 Phonetic (Roman) Script : Hē liángshuǐ yě sāi yá Transliteration : Even cold water will get in your teeth Full Translation : If you are meant to be unlucky, you will be unlucky no matter what you do Context :  My informant is a high school student who was born in… Continue Reading »

“Finding a needle in the sea” (大海捞针)

Original Script : 大海捞针 Phonetic (Roman) Script : dà hǎi lāo zhēn Transliteration : Finding a needle in the sea Full Translation : It is as hard as finding a needle in the sea Context :  My informant is a high school student who was born in Denver, Colorado. His family moved to the United… Continue Reading »

“Do not rest under a bad three and do not drink bad water” (恶木盗泉)

Original Script : 恶木盗泉 Phonetic (Roman) Script : È mù dào quán Transliteration : Do Not Rest Under a Bad Tree and Do Not Drink Bad Water Full Translation : Do not do anything bad that you will be shameful in the future regardless of the situation you are in Context :  My informant is… Continue Reading »

“3 Cobblers are better than Zhuge Liang” (三臭皮匠葛亮)

Original Script : 三臭皮匠葛亮 Phonetic (Roman) Script : Sān chòu píjiàng gé liàng Transliteration : 3 Cobblers Are Better Than Zhuge Liang Full Translation : Two heads are better than one  Context :  My informant is a high school student who was born in Denver, Colorado. His family moved to the United States before he… Continue Reading »