Clever-sounding but almost certainly not Chinese proverbs

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Clever-sounding but almost certainly not Chinese proverbs

Postby cherypi » Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:30 pm UTC

Well, this most likely is in the wrong place but here goes.
upon telling a quote to a friend of mine he thought it came from XKCD (he is a much more avid fan of XKCD than I ever will be). but it didn't. I had created it, so i thought, "i ought to put this somewhere on the internet so people everywhere can hate me for it, or think its neat." that being said, here it is:
"if you give a man a mint,
he will have good breath for a day.
If you teach a man to mint,
he will be in jail for a lifetime."
yeah. i know. you hate me already because i just wasted your time for that. well haha, now you read it and you cant do anything about it.
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Re: Chinese Proverbs

Postby InNombreDeQuién » Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:51 am UTC

Another interesting chines Proverb, which can be used as a general curse:

"May you live in interesting times!"



Your friends proverb derives from the old saying:
"If you give a man fish he is fed for a day,
if you teach him to fish he is full for his life"
Last edited by InNombreDeQuién on Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:14 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Chinese Proverbs

Postby SlyReaper » Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:52 am UTC

If you light a man a fire, he'll be warm for a day.
If you light a man on fire, he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
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Re: Chinese Proverbs

Postby diabolo » Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:01 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:If you light a man a fire, he'll be warm for a day.
If you light a man on fire, he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

Would it be correct English to write it using "set a man a fire / set a man afire" ?
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Re: Chinese Proverbs

Postby SlyReaper » Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:32 pm UTC

Possibly, but I have never heard of "afire" being an actual word. It should be.
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Re: Chinese Proverbs

Postby Kizyr » Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:50 pm UTC

信言不美,美言不信。
善者不辯,辯者不善。

Am I doing it right? KF
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Re: Chinese Proverbs

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Aug 04, 2011 3:25 pm UTC

Apart from Kizyr's, I get the impression that none of these things are Chinese and we're just using the word "Chinese" to mean "clever-sounding like them Orientals."

ಠ_ಠ
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Not even sporange.
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Re: Chinese Proverbs

Postby Iulus Cofield » Fri Aug 05, 2011 8:07 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Apart from Kizyr's, I get the impression that none of these things are Chinese and we're just using the word "Chinese" to mean "clever-sounding like them Orientals."

ಠ_ಠ


Yeah....

diabolo wrote:
SlyReaper wrote:If you light a man a fire, he'll be warm for a day.
If you light a man on fire, he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

Would it be correct English to write it using "set a man a fire / set a man afire" ?


I think "set a man a fare" is ungrammatical, since I don't think "set" can be used with dative objects, but I believe the second one is correct, although it sounds folksy or perhaps faux old timey.
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Re: Clever-sounding but almost certainly not Chinese proverb

Postby Meteorswarm » Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:39 am UTC

道可道非常道也
名可名非常名也
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Re: Clever-sounding but almost certainly not Chinese proverb

Postby cazadoremi » Thu Aug 11, 2011 5:26 am UTC

Meteorswarm wrote:道可道非常道也
名可名非常名也


这是什么意思? 我觉得很有趣

Here's my favorite - 吃一堑长一智
Fall in a moat, get a little wiser.
People learn from (sometimes traumatic and undignified) experience.
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Re: Clever-sounding but almost certainly not Chinese proverb

Postby Kizyr » Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:25 pm UTC

Would you be so kind as to translate the other proverbs/sayings? I don't actually speak Chinese -- well, not to any useful level anyway.

I'll translate for mine:
信言不美,美言不信。
善者不辯,辯者不善。

is a line from the Dao De Jing, 81:1-4

Roughly:
True words are not fancy, fancy words are not true.
The good do not debate, debaters are not good.

Alternate translation (http://www.chinapage.com/gnl.html):
Honest people use no rhetoric; Rhetoric is not honesty.
Enlightened people are not cultured; Culture is not enlightenment.
KF
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Re: Clever-sounding but almost certainly not Chinese proverb

Postby Meteorswarm » Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:43 am UTC

Mine's the first line of the dao de jing.

Roughly,
The way that can be spoken of is not the eternal way;
A name that can be named is not an eternal name.

It's also got a pun on 道 meaning both "the way" and "to speak" (classical chinese only, modern usage doesn't do this). The point of the quote is that speaking about some things inherently limits them to the scope of your discussion, while in reality they are incomprehensibly more complex.
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Re: Clever-sounding but almost certainly not Chinese proverb

Postby JamesP » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:55 am UTC

Set a man aflame.
Set a man alight.

But set him afire? Ew...
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