Enhancing Learning

Exploiting cognition through Semantic Knowledge Management and writing practices

Set expressions of four characters 成语

As a child in Italy teachers forbid us to use proverbs. People without critical thinking would use proverbs.  It is a pity, because as all languages also Italian has meaningful proverbs.

Chinese pupils, on the contrary, are forced to learn proverbs. The use of proverbs is considered the highest expression of eloquence and wit. I therefore spent pretty a lot of time to find out good proverbs to use in different situations, not to show my wit, but to be enriched from new perspectives.

the use of set expressions made of four characters (成语 chéng yŭ).

If we want to say that someone has a good reputation, in Chinese we say 流芳百世 (liú fāng bǎi shì leave a good impression for hundred years). When hearing this expression, the majority of Chinese will recall its contrary (貽臭万年 yí chòu wàn niánto stink for thousand years). The second part of the chenyu contributes to create a funny image.

To achieve competence in the Chinese language, it is not enough to learn the 4.000 characters said to be necessary to get a minimum of competence. One has to develop the ability of creating bridges between words exploiting their „associative traits“, one of the basic mechanism of the Chinese language and culture.


admin123 • 20. Februar 2012

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