Chinese Idioms in English – Chinegyu “笨鳥先飛”

Chinese Idioms in English

The Chinese idiom in English or 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. It is the slow need to start earlier than others when attempting to complete a task.

Unfortunately, this phrase is usually used self-deprecatingly. When someone comments on how my Mandarin study seems to be paying off, I would say:

我就是笨鸟先飞

Wǒ jiù shì bèn niǎo xiān fēi

I’m just a stupid bird flying early

i.e. I need to put in a lot of effort because I’m not naturally talented.

Vocabulary

Chinese Pinyin English translation
bèn to be stupid
niǎo bird
xiān first
fēi to fly
笨鸟先飞 bèn niǎo xiān fēi To work hard to compensates for limited ability

Are you already smart enough, or you are in the same situation as the “stupid bird that flies first”? It’s always worth to give your best! How about learning Chinese, or getting better in speaking Chinese? TutorMandarin has recently launched it’s brand new Chinese App, offering 1-on-1 professional Mandarin Courses to learn Mandarin online wherever, whenever.

Download the App at your Google Play Store and Sign Up for a Free Trial incl. Free Chinese language learning material!

Want to learn more about Chinese Phrases? 

Sign up our free trial to learn Mandarin and download the Chinese App for more Chinese language materials and to learn Mandarin online and check out our other posts like “如虎添翼 – Like adding wings to a tiger” – Never heard of it? Sounds like it’s time to boost your knowledge about Chinese phrases!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *