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Children Can Have Fun Learning Chinese with These Animal-Related Expressions!

Feb. 22, 2022

There are many strategies for children to learn Chinese words: singing simple songs, watching cartoons that use simple phrases, or working Chinese into other activities to pick things up more passively. However, sometimes it helps to group information together and learn in context, whether based on usage, meaning, or something else. Today, we’re going to explore the “something else”, and introduce four phrases that are all related to animals! Read on to learn the original Chinese, the literal meaning, the English equivalent, and some simple examples of how you or your child can use them!

1. 猫哭耗子假慈悲

HSK 3 quiz

Māo kū hàozi  jiǎ cíbēi
猫    哭   耗子   假  慈悲

Literal meaning: the cat weeps for the dead mouse – false pity
English equivalent: shedding crocodile tears

Tā hái yī liǎn nánguò de yàngzi,kěshì wǒ zhīdào tā zhǐshì māo kū hàozi jiǎ cíbēi.

他 还  一 脸   难过    的    样子,   可是  我   知道   他  只是    猫  哭 耗子  假 慈悲。

He still looks sad, but I know he’s just faking it and crying crocodile tears.

2. 爱屋及乌

HSK 3 quiz

Ài wū jí wū
爱 屋 及 乌

Literal meaning: love the house and its crows
English equivalent: love me, love my dog; to accept one’s flaws if you care for them


Ruò nǐ zhēnde ài tā,nǐ kěnéng yě huì àiwūjíwū xǐhuān tā de nà zhǐ māo。

若   你  真的 爱 他, 你  可能    也 会   爱屋及乌  喜欢  他  的 那 只 猫。

If you really love him, you have to take the bad with the good and like his cat.

3. 笨鸟先飞

HSK 3 quiz

Bèn niǎo xiān fēi

笨    鸟    先    飞

Literal meaning: the clumsy bird flies early
English equivalent: hard work beats talent


Wǒmen bān rènwù wánchéng dé hǎo, shì bènniǎoxiānfēi de jiéguǒ。

我们       班   任务      完成       得   好,  是    笨鸟先飞   的  结果。

We finished our class’ task well, this is the result of our hard work.

Suīrán bùshì tiāncái kěshì zán zhīdào bènniǎoxiānfēi!

虽然    不是   天才   可是  咱    知道     笨鸟 先飞!

Although I’m not a genius we know that hard work can beat talent!

4. 物以类聚,人以群分

HSK 3 quiz

Wù yǐ lèi  jù, rén yǐ qún fēn

物  以  类 聚,人  以  群  分

Literal meaning: similar things group together, similar people fit together
English equivalent: birds of a feather flock together; like attracts like


Tāmen yīqún rén tiāntiān bùshì guàngjiē jiùshì dǎpái, zhēnshi wùyǐlèijù.

她们     一群  人    天天    不是     逛街     就是    打牌,真是    物以类聚。

If that group of people isn’t shopping then they’re playing cards every day, birds of a feather really do flock together.

A child’s vivid imagination means that they learn things differently than adults, so the more they can picture what they’re learning and attach it to strong emotions and images, the better they will internalize it and be able to use it later. Leave a comment letting us know what other kinds of expressions you think would be useful for your child to learn!

You May Want to Learn More :
“Kids Chinese Learning: 井底之蛙 (Jǐngdǐzhīwā) The Frog in the Well”
“10 of the Best Movies and TV Shows to Interest Your Child in Learning Chinese”
”Children Can Learn Chinese Better with These Class-Related Expressions”

HSK 1 quiz

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