Chinese idioms are priceless legacies deeply rooted in traditional culture, making Chinese language more powerful, more functional and thus, more fascinating. Like Chinese language, English language also has its own treasure—English idioms are vivid,terse and profoundly connotative. Although, there are many differences between the Chinese language and the English language, some Chinese idioms and English idioms are equivalent in either meaning or form. Let’s share the origins of some of these equivalent idioms to appreciate the quintessence of both languages.
chatter without stop
喋喋不休(diédié bù xiū) is a Chinese idiom which originated from a legend with the meaning of “chatter without stop”.
During the Western Han Dynasty (207BC-25 AD), the Emperor Wen persuaded one of his daughters to marry Ji Yu, the ruler of the Hunsin order to maintain peace and stability in border areas. He arranged for a eunuch named Zhong Xing to protect the princess on the way.Zhong Xing was a disloyal people. When they arrived at the kingdom of the Huns, he surrendered to the king of the Huns. Once, an envoy from the Han Dynasty laughed at a Huns family who lived together in a tent. Then, Zhong Xing said: “ those officials from Han Dynasty can only wear extravagant clothes and talk a lot of nonsense without stop.”
Then the idiom was used to describe some one who talked one’s ear off.
In English language, there was an idiom “Soap box” which was used to describe someone who made a long speech with the extended meaning of “chatter without stop”.
In the past, the soap box was made of wood. So it was very solid. People often used it to store goods or sit on it as a chair. It was also used as a temporary lectern by radical politicians in the nineteenth century.
Later the phrase evolved into an idiom with negative meaning. If some one said:” I'd better get off my soap box”, he meant that he supposed he might talk too much.