笨鸟先飞 – A stupid bird flies first

The chengyu 笨鸟先飞 (bèn niǎo xiān fēi) breaks down to stupid (笨 – bèn) bird (鸟 – niǎo) first (先 – xiān) flies (飞 – fēi). Simply translated in English: a ‘stupid bird flies first’ or ‘the clumsy bird flies early’. These refers to those that have to work hard to compensates for limited ability. Read more about 笨鸟先飞 – A stupid bird flies first[…]

TutorMandarin Google Play Android App Launch

TutorMandarin Launches Android APP on Google Play!

“Mandarin Goes Mobile” w/ new APP, TutorMandarin 1-on-1 online Chinese classes taught by certified Mandarin tutors through a state-of-the-art Android app that features a virtual classroom, full in-app courses, interactive daily content, and more. TutorMandarin is available now on Google Play.    TutorMandarin has officially launched its Android app today on the Google Play Store, Read more about TutorMandarin Launches Android APP on Google Play![…]

如虎添翼 – Like adding wings to a tiger

What is it? The chengyu 如虎添翼 (rú hǔ tiān yì) breaks down into the words: like (如Rú) tiger (虎hǔ) add (添tiān) wings (翼yì). This translates nicely to “like adding wings to a tiger” in English. Now, what does it mean to add wings to a tiger? As you can tell from other chengyus, the tiger Read more about 如虎添翼 – Like adding wings to a tiger[…]

Chinese swear words

Speaking vulgarly is so common for all, regardless of nationalities, even in a furious mood or some certain situation. Knowing different versions of cursing words is somehow like building a “lingua franca” among friends. So today, let’s learn some 粗話 (cūhuà – bad words) in Chinese for fun. Before we start, we would seriously warn Read more about Chinese swear words[…]

Chinese Food Slang

  There is a Chinese proverb “吃饭皇帝大” (chī fàn huáng dì dà), which literally means “Food is bigger than the emperor”. It shares a similar meaning with the English slang “someone’s bread and butter”, which is “Nothing is more important than eating”. You can see how essential food is in Chinese life from this notion. Read more about Chinese Food Slang[…]

Chengyu Chinese recruit soldiers buy horses

招兵买马 – Recruit soldiers, buy horses

What’s it? The chéngyǔ 招兵买马 (zhāo bīng mǎi mǎ) breaks down to into recruit (招zhāo ) soldiers (兵bīng) buy (买mǎi) horses (马 mǎ). This is translated into  English as ‘recruit soldiers, buy horses.” You can take this chéngyǔ at face value, since the meaning is essentially “to raise a large army” or “to raise a Read more about 招兵买马 – Recruit soldiers, buy horses[…]

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成语 – What is a chéngyǔ?

Chéng yǔ (成语) is a type of traditional Chinese idiomatic expression, or simply ‘Chinese idioms’, typically consisting of four characters. It is widely used in Classical Chinese and are still common in vernacular Chinese writing and in the spoken language today. Today, there are between 5,000 and 20,000 chéng yǔ (成语). Made out of four Read more about 成语 – What is a chéngyǔ?[…]

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狼多肉少 – Many wolves, little meat

The chéngyǔ 狼多肉少 (láng duō ròu shǎo) literally translates to wolf (狼 láng) many (多 duō) meat (肉 ròu), little (少 shǎo). Or, in more standard English, ‘many wolves, little meat.’ This is one of the more direct chéngyǔ, that doesn’t require a huge background story to understand the meaning. It describes a situation where Read more about 狼多肉少 – Many wolves, little meat[…]

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狗急跳墙 – A nervous dog jumps over the wall

The chéngyǔ 狗急跳墙 (gǒu jí tiào qiáng) breaks down to dog (狗 gǒu) nervous (急 jí) jumps (跳 tiào) wall (墙 qiáng) Or, in more standard English, ‘A nervous dog jumps over the wall.’ While it may make sense on the surface, the true meaning of this chengyu may not perfectly match your first impression. Read more about 狗急跳墙 – A nervous dog jumps over the wall[…]

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画蛇添足 – Drawing a snake and adding legs to it

The chéngyǔ 画蛇添足 (huà shé tiān zú ) breaks down to drawing (画 huà ) snake (蛇shé) add (添tiān) legs/feet (足 zú). In English, we would say “drawing the snake and adding legs to it” or simply “adding legs to a snake.” This chéngyǔ comes from a famous Chinese story from the Warring States (战国 Zhànguó) Read more about 画蛇添足 – Drawing a snake and adding legs to it[…]