01 July, 2007:
Expressions: Chengyu and Suyu
Chengyu are four-character fixed-phrases that provide the Chinese with a concise method of expressing certain ideas or axioms. They are idiomatic expressions that can be used in everyday speech, generally as adjectives 形容词 Xingrongci or adverbs 副词 fuci. When used properly, they can contribute immensely to the lucidity of a piece of writing or to the quality of a conversation, as they are evidence of a person’s advanced command of the language. Chengyu are similar to English idiomatic expressions, and in many cases there are common expressions in one language that can also be conveyed by an expression in the other. For example, in English we often talk about "killing two birds with one stone" Chinese has the Chengyu "一箭双雕 yi jian shuang diao" which means "one arrow two birds." Unlike English expressions, Chengyu are fun to learn because behind every expression a story is the source of meaning.