Nov 28, 2017

50 Essential Chengyu - Chinese Idioms Made Simple


Early on, Chinese learners are sure to encounter 成语(chéng yǔ), 4 character idiomatic expressions carrying great cultural context and historical wealth. Mastery of chengyu is seen as a sign of intelligence and sophistication, and a strong grasp of them is necessary for true fluency. Because many are derived from historical folklore, studying chengyu can also help increase knowledge and appreciation of Chinese culture.
In addition, there is no beating the “wow factor” of being able to use the right chengyu at precisely the right time.
Amassing a sizable collection of useful chengyu is anything but simple. There are upwards of 20,000 chengyu, and learners can quickly find themselves overwhelmed. Picking the right chengyu to study can feel like a game of Russian roulette - nothing is more discouraging than spending time to learn a chengyu, only to discover that it is overly archaic, obscure, and nobody understands. Current resources tend to be heavy on esoteric history but light on what learners really need: how exactly the chengyu can be used, and when and where to use it.

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