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Chinese, literally

February 22, 2010
Gaining Knowledge/Intellectual Pursuits

51. Write 30 essays or articles about something I’m interested in and post it online (5/30)

For those of you who study mandarin/cantonese (I’m just going to collectively say ‘Chinese‘) or speak it at home, you probably already know what a strange language it is ! Chinese is CHOCK FULL of imagery and history in its characters  (on closer inspection) and is a very metaphorical language. My Chinese is actually pretty shocking but I have grown up listening to it and understanding it without questioning its literal meaning. However, I still do come across heaps of interesting and useful proverbs that I ask my mum and staff at the bank to translate for me !

There are TONNES but here are a few of the amusing ones ! X-D

Literal translation: ‘What kind of cat doesn’t like fish ?

This basically means, no man can resist temptation. Apparently it’s always used in reference to a man. Interesting .. !

Literal translation: ‘You do one, I do fifteen !

Meaning, I can play at that game too ! E.g. partner leaving their spouse for another person.

Literal translation: ‘You want to be pretty, but you don’t want life

= You want beauty at any price. Even those 7-inch heels you that kill you, you masochists !

Literal translation: ‘Open the door, see the moutain’

You say this when you’re speaking frankly.

Literal translation: ‘Pearl is round, flesh is soft’

This phrase is used to describe women who are attractive to men.

Literal translation: ‘You can coax the bird in the tree to come down’

This basically means you’re a sweet talker !

That’s all for now. Maybe more later !

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Nicole permalink
    February 24, 2010 11:39 pm

    really cool entry! loved this one :) – pearl is round, flesh is soft :P

  2. mookxi permalink*
    February 25, 2010 9:59 am

    Danke ;-) I’m going to bug the staff for more muwahhaha.

  3. jasmine permalink
    March 14, 2010 3:31 am

    omg, my mother always uses the phrase “what kind of cat doesn’t like fish?” when refering to promiscuous women who throw themselves at men &wonder why no one wants to marry them (ie she uses it in the “why buy the cow if u get the milk for free” sense).i recognise some of the other phrases too,must be cos we have malaysian roots haha

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