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Chinese allegories Lesson 7
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Chinese allegories

Two-part allegorical saying (of which the first part, always stated, is descriptive, while the second part, often unstated, carries the message)

shí wŭ ge diào tŏng dă shuǐ – qī shàng bā xià
十五个吊桶打水 – 七上八下
Have one's heart clang like fifteen buckets in one well, seven going up and eight going down – have one's heart pound with uncertainty, fear or turmoil

niú tóu bù duì mă zuĭ – hú lā luàn chĕ
牛头不对马嘴 – 胡拉乱扯
Horses' jaws don't match cows' heads – incongruous; irrelevant

zhàng èr hé shang – mō bu zháo tóu năo
丈二和尚 – 摸不着头脑
You cannot touch the head of a ten-foot monk. – can't make head or tail of something; completely fail to understand

yī ge bā zhang pāi bu xiăng – gū zhăng nán míng
一个巴掌拍不响 – 孤掌难鸣
You can't clap with one hand; it takes two to make a quarrel; it takes two to tango. – It's difficult to achieve anything without support.

zhēn jiān duì mài máng – zhēn fēng xiāng duì
针尖对麦芒 – 针锋相对
A pin against an awn – be diametrically opposed

wén zi zhăo zhī zhū – zì tóu luó wăng
蚊子找蜘蛛 – 自投罗网
A mosquito looks for a spider – throw oneself into a trap; bite the hook

chū shēng de niú dú – bù pà hŭ
初生的牛犊 – 不怕虎
New born calves are not afraid of tigers. – Young people dare do anything and fear nothing.

tiān xià wū yā – yī bān hēi
天下乌鸦 – 一般黑
All crows are black. – Evil people are the same all over the world; in every country dogs bite.

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