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Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by Yuca007, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. Yuca007 Senior Member


    A mother speaks about how her older daughter moved out, saying: 你翅膀硬 要飞就飞了吧

    Does it mean "You have hard wings" or "You're hard-winged"...? Is this an idiom? I think I have a general idea about what the mother is expressing, but I'd like to make sure.

  2. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    English (UK)
    你翅膀硬要飞就飞了吧 = If your wings (= If you) really want to fly, then fly 吧!

    硬要 is a word meaning "want very much/ insist".
  3. Yuca007 Senior Member

    Yes, that makes more sense than my guess. I just wonder why they put a space in the subtitles in that position, though. I assumed they were separate sentences because of it.
  4. stellari Senior Member

    Mandarin Chinese
    Actually, 翅膀硬 is a set phrase literally meaning 'sturdy wings', so OP's initial guess was (nearly) correct. It is a complaint used by parents or guardians to describe their children or subordinates who start to have their own opinions and seek for independence, just as little birds who have just got full-fledged wings and try to fly away from the nest.

    Note that when parents say this, it most probably means that they do not like or agree with or support their children's idea. If they do, they would usually say 你长大了, rather than 你翅膀硬了.

    So the whole sentence means:

    So you think you have finally grown up, do you? If you want to fly away, so be it then.
  5. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    翅膀硬, which means literally "wings grown strong" or figuratively "ready to try/spread one's wings and leave the nest", is in some way similar to English full-fledged "having reached full development; ready to fly". As Stellari correctly pointed out, 翅膀硬 is an idiomatic expression typically said by a sponsor/fosterer/superior in reference to a dependent/underling that has become so bold as to have a mind of his/her own.
  6. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    English (UK)
    Thanks, stellari! I hadn't met the phrase before so only made a guess based on the word 硬要. The reason for the space between 硬 and 要 is now also clear.

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