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Chinese Proverbs: How to Use Them to Learn a Language

In need of a little motivation boost? Try Chinese proverbs, they are great for motivation. How? They teach you how to be successful in life through wise and quite funny sayings. Apply them to your learning sessions and they’ll be more efficient. Use them to inspire you and grow your language skills. Thanks to these 7 Chinese proverbs we’ve collected, you’ll want to give your best in everything you’ll do.

We know that when learning a language, you can have ups and downs in your motivation and your desire to learn. It happens to everyone. What you need in those cases to keep going is a good dose of motivation! So, to help you give your best and reach your dream of speaking a new language, like Chinese, we’ve collected wise and funny proverbs to inspire you. Some of these will motivate you to go forward, some of these will cheer you up when you need that, and all of them will inspire you to keep learning till you’ve reached your goal. 加油! Jiāyóu!Fighting!


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学而时习之,不亦说乎?-xué ér shí xí zhī, bù yì yuè hū? - Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant perseverance and application?

#1 Chinese Proverbs

学而时习之,不亦说乎? xué ér shí xí zhī, bú yì yuè hū? Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant perseverance and application?

This old Chinese proverb helps you keep in mind that learning must be pleasant. Make sure you learn and practice because you want to and not because you feel forced to.
This is where the gamified experience in Ninchanese can help you. Having fun while learning makes it more efficient. You need to find the method that fits you and stick to it. And persevering you’ll find learning really enjoyable.

授人以鱼不如授人以渔 - Shòu rén yǐ yú, bùrú shòu rén yǐ yú - Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime

#2 Chinese Proverbs

授人以鱼不如授人以渔 Shòu rén yǐ yú, bùrú shòu rén yǐ yú Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime

This funny Chinese proverb is well known in the western world. Did you know about it?
For those who don’t, this proverb represents the importance of learning the method to get things and not just waiting for things to be given to you. If you give something to someone, they’ll use it but they’ll never know how to get another one. But if you teach someone how to do things themselves, they’ll be able to reproduce the miracle on their own in the future. That’s the beauty of actively learning to do something, vs. passively observing someone doing something.

At Ninchanese, despite the fact our cats aren’t big fish eaters, we’ve taken this proverb at heart. Let’s pretend you’re the man and Chinese is the fish. In addition to giving you content to learn yourself, Ninchanese also teaches you little by the little the tools and the advice you need to understand Chinese better. By doing that, we’re teaching you how to fish everyday. For instance, don’t miss our Monday Meet the Component session on Ninchanese Facebook page to learn how to decipher components and Chinese characters.

This saying goes hand in hand with anotherfamous Chinese proverb from Confucius:

吾听吾忘,吾见吾记,吾做吾悟 wú tīng wú wàng, wú jiàn wú jì, wú zuò wú wù I hear I forget. I see I remember. I do I understand.

By doing things actively, you’ll understand them better than by learning passively.

学然后知不足 - xué ránhòu zhī bùzú - to learn is to know one’s ignorance

#3 Chinese Proverbs

学然后知不足 xué ránhòu zhī bùzú to learn is to know one’s ignorance

This old Chinese proverb is a concrete and very useful one to remember. If you’re able to point out the things you don’t know yet, you’ll learn better. For instance, if you have difficulties differentiating yǒu to have and kàn to look, knowing you’re getting the two confused is the first step towards learning. Now that you’ve admitted that, you know you must work harder on getting those two characters straight, and train your brain to spot the difference between these two evil characters.

In fact, admitting one’s weaknesses is a good start to improving in something.
Only by acknowledging what you do not know, can you begin to fill your lack of knowledge by learning new things. That also makes you want to learn more things to satisfy your thirst for knowledge. Isn’t that a great outlook to have on things?

”一事不知,君子知耻 - Yī shì bù zhī, jūnzǐ zhī chǐ - A man of honor will feel ashamed by a single question to which he does not know the answer

#4 Chinese Proverbs

一事不知,君子知耻 Yī shì bù zhī, jūnzǐ zhī chǐ A man of honor will feel ashamed by a single question to which he does not know the answer

This famous Chinese proverb is really important for learners. It tells us of a frame of mind we should all adopt when learning: You should never feel ashamed or afraid of asking a question about something you don’t understand. Being proud and not admitting you don’t get it won’t help you when learning a language. Asking about something you don’t understand isn’t admitting you’re weak. Quite on the contrary, it means you have a very strong spirit and shows you want to improve by learning what you do no understand.

Have questions about Chinese? Follow this proverb and don’t be afraid to come ask Sijing, the newest member in the Nincha Team, in our brand new chat.

玉不琢不成器,人不教难成才 - Yù bù zhuó bù chéng qì, rén bù jiào nán chéng cái - A jade stone is useless before it is processed; a man is good-for-nothing until he is educated

#5 Chinese Proverbs

玉不琢不成器,人不教难成才 Yù bù zhuó bù chéng qì, rén bù jiào nán chéng cái A jade stone is useless before it is processed; a man is good-for-nothing until he is educated

Education is the key to a good start in life. In every direction you’ll take in life, education will help you be a better you. Education is the key to reaching your goals and that’s why it’s important to find the learning method that suits you best. . The more you know, the stronger you’ll to face life’s difficulties and challenges.

不入虎穴,焉得虎子 - Bù rù hǔ xué yān dé hǔ zǐ - If you don't go into the tiger's cave, how will you get the cub?

#6 Chinese Proverbs

不入虎穴,焉得虎子 Bù rù hǔ xué yān dé hǔ zǐ If you don't go into the tiger's cave, how will you get the cub?

Sometimes you must take some risks in life to progress and evolve. If you don’t get a little adventurous and accept to take on challenges, you’ll always stay where you are and never get what you want. As we say: no pain, no gain. If you don’t dare to go into the cat’s den, you’ll never get the kitten and its unbearable cuteness. Wait. That’s not the right proverb.
Only things you know well are going happen in your comfort zone and to quote Jessica Hagy, if you want the magic to happen, you have to expose yourself.
Isn’t this proverb a good motto to live by everyday to motivate yourself and learn to seize opportunities, by taking a little risk from time to time?

 

一年之际在于春,一生之际在于勤 - Yī nián zhī jì zài yú chūn, yī shēng zhī jì zài yú qín. - A year's harvest counts on spring; a man's success counts on his diligence.

#7 Chinese Proverbs

一年之际在于春,一生之际在于勤 Yī nián zhī jì zài yú chūn, yī shēng zhī jì zài yú qín. A year's harvest counts on spring; a man's success counts on his diligence.

Assiduity is very important when learning a language, because a large part of successfully learning a language has to do with your memory and being able to remember what you learned previously. For instance, the Chinese language is full of characters that must be remembered. This is why you need to practice regularly and that’s why you need to do your reviews frequently on Ninchanese. Because your reviews were calculated by our learning algorithm to make your learning more efficient, and help you remember better and longer.
So remember, if you want to learn a language effectively, you need to be constant in your learning sessions. I think that’s a great piece of advice to give you.

Final words

The Nincha Team hopes these 7 wise and funny Chinese proverbs have inspired you and given you all the keys to stay motivated in your Chinese learning adventure.

Learning a language is not always easy, we agree, but it is so rewarding when you manage to. So, take your time, and one step at a time, we know you’ll succeed in catching the Chinese fish in your net (see #2 Chinese proverb ). Remember, it does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
Whenever you feel down, do your best to think positively and read these awesome Chinese proverbs to keep your head up. They’ll be sure to be useful to push you to continue your Chinese learning quest. In case you need an even bigger motivation boost, check out Ninchanese to learn all sorts new things in Chinese and discover how addictive learning Chinese can be.

Be sure to let us know if it worked for you as much as it worked for Lupishu, the little dragon.

And for more motivational quotes, don’t miss our Saturday #Quoturday on Ninchanese Facebook page. Filling your spirit with positive thoughts will definitely change your outlook on life.

ninchaChinese Proverbs: How to Use Them to Learn a Language
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