Idiom Supperzzle: Pearls before swine vs duì niú tán qín 中英成语对对碰:把珍珠丢在猪前vs对牛弹琴

2016-01-11 11:30 english.qianlong.com

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Editor’s note:

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.

编者按:

根深于中国传统文化中的汉语成语是一笔无价的遗产,它使汉语语言强而有力更具魅力。英语如同汉语也有自己的瑰宝——英语成语,它们生动,精炼,往往能够传达深刻复杂的寓意。尽管中文和英文有很多差异,但有些汉语成语和英语成语具有相同的意义与形式。 让我们共同分享两个语言中的成语等价词进一步记忆两种语言的精髓吧!

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对牛弹琴

Play the lute to a cow

对牛弹琴(duì niú tán qín) is a Chinese idiom which originated from a story with the meaning of “to speak cant to a layman”.

成语对牛弹琴起源于一个故事。

In ancient times, there lived a musician named Gong Mingyi. He was a master of the Zheng, a plucked string instrument. Unfortunately, his rash behavior often led him astray.

中国古代,有一个音乐家叫公明仪善于弹奏古筝。不过他个性鲁莽常常做出格的事情。

One day, he saw a cow grazing in a field near his house. He was inspired by the scene and ran outside to play a tune for the cow. Gong Mingyi played beautifully, finding himself intoxicated by the music. But the cow paid no heed to the elegant sounds, simply focusing its attention on eating the grass. Gong Mingyi was surprised at this and could not comprehend the cow’s flippant indifference. He felt that since his performance had been masterful, this means that the cow neither understood nor appreciated his elegant music!

有一天,公明仪看到家不远处有一头黄牛正在吃草,他顿时来了灵感摆好琴,拨动琴弦,对牛谈起琴,但是听到这么优美的曲子,老黄牛却一点反应也没有,只管低头吃草。公明仪很惊愕无法理解老黄牛的冷漠。他认为自己琴技娴熟,这只能说明老黄牛不通音律或者是并不欣赏他的演奏。

From that story comes the idiom "To play the lute to a cow", which implies that the speaker or writer has over-estimated his listeners or readers, or someone speaks or writes without considering his audience.

后来“对牛弹琴”这个故事变成成语用来比喻对愚蠢的人讲深刻的道理,或讥笑人说话不看对象。

Englishe quivalent idiom

未标题-2


把珍珠扔在猪的面前

To cast pearls before swine

The idiom originated from the Bible: Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you(from the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 7.6). Swine and dog were regarded as the unclean animals in Judaism, while the pearl was pure, beautiful and rich. Because the Christianity derived from Judaism, the idiom was widely used in western countries.

这一俗语来自于《圣经》:“不要把圣物给狗,也不要把你们的珍珠丢在猪前(《圣经•马太福音》7章6节)。” 犹太教中猪和狗是低贱的象征,而珍珠则始终象征着纯洁、美丽以及财富。由于基督教由犹太教衍生而来,这个俗语在西方国家广为使用。

E.g.

She read them Shakespeare, but it was casting pearls before swine.

她在他们面前读莎士比亚的著作,简直就是对牛弹琴。

I won't waste good advice on John anymore because he never listens to it. I won't cast pearls before swine.

我再也不会给约翰提建议了,因为他根本听不进去。我可不想对牛弹琴。

责任编辑:Li Qiao(QN0024)