Category Archives: Folk speech


Deceiving Yourself 掩耳盗铃

Background: My friend and I were talking about how different countries cope with the pandemic. We found that a few politicians around the world didn’t take the coronavirus seriously enough at first and pretended that it was only a small problem. My friend described them as “掩耳盗铃”. Main piece: 掩耳盗铃 Pinyin: yan er dao ling… Continue Reading »

Slurs and Insults in a Coastal City

Background and context: The interviewer and the informant are both residents of Qingdao, a Northeastern coastal city in China. The city is known for its beaches, ports, and seafood. A big portion of the city’s economy relies on tourism.  The informant talks in Mandarin, but with the Qingdao dialect. The interviewer and the informant talk… Continue Reading »

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 »

Chinese High School Military Training

Context: All across China students join a mandatory military training for two weeks to a month before officially entering a public high school. The training usually takes place in the school. Students live in their dormitories together, and parents are not allowed to visit. Trainings are conducted by soldiers and head teachers. 30 to 50… Continue Reading »

“Mountains do not meet but people do”

The original language and script: Munte cu munte nu se-ntâlnește, dar om cu om se-ntâlnește. The original is represented in Roman form as a Romanian proverb The transliterated proverb: Mountain with mountain does not meet, but man with man meets The fully translated proverb: A mountain doesn’t meet a mountain, but a man meets a… Continue Reading »