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01 July, 2007:
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Chengyu 成语

Learn more about Chinese figures of speech by reading the stories behind them. The history of each every Chengyu reveals a piece of the culture behind language in China. These sayings are not only great ways to add color to everyday speech, they also reveal familiarity with history and tradition. Select one of the links below to start learning more about Chinese linguistic culture:

Form of the Dragon

Great artists have the ability to make their subjects "come to life." Read on to see why you should never draw the eyes of a dragon...

To Rise like a Phoenix

Very few people can claim that they never fell; what is important is that we get back up everytime we fall. Read on to see how one famous Chinese general took failure...


There are times when we know the end is near. It seems as if the world has turned against us: our allies have deserted us, our resources are running low, and our enemies seem to be endless. Read on to see how Xiangyu faced incredible odds...and survived.

Win or Die

When in dire straits, individuals need a steely determination to survive. Read on to see how Xiangyu created ample incentive for his troops to fight for their lives...

Bitter Reminder

Success is sweet, and defeat is bitter. Read on to see how a king became a slave, how he reminded himself daily to avenge this shame...and became a king again.

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