Customer Reviews: Chinese Proverbs and Popular Sayings: With Observations on Culture and Language
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on June 18, 2012
Have you ever seen a proverb either on Twitter, in a book or in a speech and wondered, "Is that REALLY a Chinese proverb?" Or have you ever thought, "What is the Chinese version of that proverb?" Well, a great book has been created by a husband and wife team which will answer both of those questions. They both teach Chinese at Calvin College, the American husband and Chinese wife team up together to create a highly useful and networked book. I've already learned a few proverbs from this book and created a comic strip on our site using those proverbs! When I say networked it means that the book is broken into specific logical sections. When the proverb is about food, it's in the food chapter (and there are many!) It took us a while to find 3 proverbs about fathers, but I scanned through to look for them and I found 3 proverbs about fathers (to use for our Father's Day comic.)

For the Chinese learner: This is perfect since every proverb contains the Chinese characters AND Pinyin. Using these proverbs will really spice up your language ability. Plus, MX (my wife from Shanghai) knows all the ones she already read, so these proverbs are real, authentic and all Chinese know them. Put this on your list for Christmas, birthdays or before you head to China or graduation. Send this to your mom and dad so they'll buy it for you!

Anyway, my 4 year old son and I can now use a new proverb that we learned to help cheer up my wife, his mother! "A laugh can cure 100 illnessess!" My wife MX can now take the proverbs that she knows so well and can use the English proverbs or the equivalent of them. It works well for both of us!

The book is small so it packs easily in your carry-on but it's packed with great information, logic and clarity of the Chinese mind. Larry and Qin have scored a winner here!
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on June 20, 2012
One of the perks of learning a new language is gaining insight into the similarities and differences between how people from different cultures view and explain the world. Chinese Proverbs and Popular Sayings provides a refreshing vantage point for observing Chinese culture, without the heavy lifting of mastering the tones or grammar of Mandarin Chinese; its content is easily accessible to both language students and interested non-Mandarin speakers. This book uses wit and insight to shed substantial light on a culture and people group that many Westerners perceive as too enigmatic and exotic to warrant more attention than the occasional foray into Szechuan Garden to eat kong pao chicken with a plastic spork.

For those unfamiliar with Mandarin, this book remains readily accessible by providing clear English translations and explanations for common axioms of Chinese culture. For Mandarin speakers, the text also includes the phrases in both simplified Chinese characters and pinyin romanization. The proverbs are arranged topically by subject, under such headings as food, family, friends, age, and humility. I have shared this book with several native, Mandarin-speaking friends, who all have confirmed that these sayings are commonly used and understood. For language students looking to add some spice to their linguistic repertoire, or anyone who is interested in learning more about the cultural background of China's 1.3 billion people, this book readily supplies insightful cultural commentary in a medium that is both wildly entertaining and warmly authentic.
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on May 25, 2012
"There is no end of books to read, just as there is no end of roads to travel"
I give away a lot of books when I'm done reading them, but I could not resist assigning the newly published "Chinese Proverbs and Popular Sayings" a permanent spot on my shelves. It's a rare book that allows one to get inside the thinking and the imagery and even the word-play of people from another culture the way this book does. The 500 + sayings reveal not only similarities and differences with western proverbs, but also the diverse and even conflicting advice which folk wisdom in all cultures offers. With the added observations on Chinese culture and language, I found this book to be both a fun and thought-provoking read. The book is organized by topic (e.g. morality, money, food) with each saying translated both literally and idiomatically. An explanation follows with an equivalent English saying if one exists. The original Chinese writing is also included along with Pinyin transliterations so anyone who has studied the Chinese language any amount will have the added fun of being able to read the sayings out loud.
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on May 24, 2012
A single thread cannot make a cord;
a lone tree cannot make a forest.

Are you feeling alone and lost in this great big modern chaotic world?
Turn to this proverbs book for time-honored guidance.
You can simply follow the Dao: pose a question, and turn to a page at random for insight. You'll be delighted and astounded by the result!
Or take the more scholarly approach, appreciating the depth of cultural and linguistic knowledge required by Professors Herzberg to provide such a wide array of proverbs, logically categorized, and offered in original Chinese characters, transliteration, English translation, and even assistance with understanding the meaning.
Should you be seeking an aesthetic, pleasing, and thoughtful gift for your friends and family, choose this book, with its beautiful cover/inside page and easy-to-handle size.
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on May 16, 2012
Chinese Proverbs and Popular Sayings is one of those books it's fun to carry with you in order to educate people. For the first couple of days I had the book, I would visit my coworkers (suddenly and without invitation) to inform them that "A fox isn't aware its tail stinks"(People often cannot see their own shortcomings") or "A closed mouth keeps flies from flying in." ("If you keep your mouth shut, you can't get into trouble.")

As fun a read as this book is, however, it is also an informative one. Each of the proverbs in this book is translated, rendered in Chinese characters and (often) accompanied by the English version of the saying: "A fat person didn't get fat with one mouthful" is the Chinese equivalent of "Rome wasn't built in a day." The chapters, organized by themes (age, time, animal metaphors, money, etc.)are introduced with essays about Chinese culture.

Chinese Proverbs and Popular Sayings tells us that the Chinese tradition of proverbs reaches back 2,500 years and includes the sayings of both sages and common folk. It also lets us know that these proverbs are crucial the Chinese speakers even today.
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on July 16, 2014
This is the best chinese proverbs book I have seen. I've bought others, based on ratings and popularity, but I prefer this one
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on December 31, 2015
This has a nice blend of Chinese culture and language -- while trying to learn the language I find this interesting to dip into.
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on January 1, 2015
Very useful. I was able to find the quote I needed for a project.
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on October 30, 2014
It is a good collection and explanation of the popular sayings.
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on December 6, 2014
very amusing to read booklet
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