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.
Showing off one's proficiency with the axe before Lu Ban the master carpenter
In ancient times, Lu Ban was supposed to be a consummate master in construction and sculpture. Carpenters respected him very much. It is said that he once carved a colorful wooden phoenix that was so lifelike that it actually flew in the sky for three days. Thus it was considered the height of folly to show off one's skill with an axe in front of Lu Ban.
This idiom excoriates those who show off their slight accomplishments in front of experts.
Teach fish how to swim
Teach fish how to swim is an idiom aticexpression derived from the Latin proverb “piscem natare doces(You're teaching fish how to swim. In other words, you are wasting your time - fish already know how to swim!)”.The phrase focuses attention on the self-sufficient perception of those who know how to do everything better than the experts.
“Teach fish how to swim(教鱼游泳)”是一个惯用表达衍生自拉丁语言语“piscem natare doces（你教鱼怎样游泳。换句话说鱼已经知道怎样游泳了你这是在浪费时间。）”这个短语用来警示那些自认为做事比专家好的自负之人。