Chinese/Korean/Japanese: how idiomatic are they?

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  • gao_yixing

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Which of these languages is the most idiomatic? Are idioms generally common in them? Is there any particular nature of idioms that is characteristic for these languages?
    I don't know much about Japanese and Korean. But there are a huge number of idioms in Chinese. They are used in everyday conversation.
    Most of the idioms have 4 characters.
     

    1000stars

    Member
    English
    Hi,
    I'm Korean, and I can tell you...there are A LOT of korean idioms. Half of them I don't even know. I use it everyday with my friends and family.
    But I think they have similarities with Japanese and Chinese. I don't know. Time for a Japanese to have a look at htis forum ^^

    --Smile--
     

    cheshire

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    I don't know much about Japanese and Korean. But there are a huge number of idioms in Chinese. They are used in everyday conversation.
    Most of the idioms have 4 characters.
    It makes me wonder why there are far more idioms of 4 characters than 3-character phrases. Chinese also avoid one syllabic words, for example "hen hao" in place of just "hao." Is it the characteristic proper to 北京話 or of universally Chinese trait?
     

    gao_yixing

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    It makes me wonder why there are far more idioms of 4 characters than 3-character phrases. Chinese also avoid one syllabic words, for example "hen hao" in place of just "hao." Is it the characteristic proper to 北京話 or of universally Chinese trait?
    Well.....Even number of characters sounds better.
    hen hao and hao are different in meaning. But...if you only say one character, it must be an order or indicate that you are angry or arrogant. For example, if you want to answer "yes", you shouldn't say "shi". You'd better say "shi ba" when you are not very sure, or "shi de", "hao de", "hao ba". That sounds better. When you say more, it sounds like you pay more respect.
     

    Lugubert

    Senior Member
    Well.....Even number of characters sounds better.
    hen hao and hao are different in meaning. But...if you only say one character, it must be an order or indicate that you are angry or arrogant. For example, if you wanna answer "yes", you shouldn't say "shi". You'd better say "shi ba" when you are not very sure, or "shi de", "hao de", "hao ba". That sounds better. When you say more, it sounds like you pay more respect.
    Haohaode! There's also the fact that a simple hao often implies a comparison - not absolutely good, but good compared to what we were talking about. Hen hao is just 'good', not the "literally" 'very good'.

    请你 edit wanna to want to, before Flaminius finds you out ;-)
     

    cheshire

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Very interesting, and great advice!
    That explains why I seldom saw one letter words in conversation books.
    But I remember 行! (xing) used, it must have been like from Mother to her child.
     

    gao_yixing

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Haohaode! There's also the fact that a simple hao often implies a comparison - not absolutely good, but good compared to what we were talking about. Hen hao is just 'good', not the "literally" 'very good'.

    请你 edit wanna to want to, before Flaminius finds you out ;-)
    Oh.....What will Flaminius do? Is there a rule or something? I'm a newbie. Uh....
    In my opinion, when I say "hen hao", I mean uh...fairly good. Very good is fei chang hao. If you just want to say "good", "bu cuo" is a "bu cuo de" choice.
     

    CrazyIvan

    Senior Member
    Taiwan-Taiwanese
    Oh.....What will Flaminius do? Is there a rule or something? I'm a newbie. Uh....
    In my opinion, when I say "hen hao", I mean uh...fairly good. Very good is fei chang hao. If you just want to say "good", "bu cuo" is a "bu cuo de" choice.
    Could you type bu cuo in characters? I really have no clues about what that really is. >.<

    As I remembered, these three languages all have quite a few idiomatic expression, and sometimes ( though to my experience is most of times.:p) those "four-character" idioms in between these three languages are pronounced in very similar way. Once I say one, my Korean and Japanese friends can realize what I am saying and recite in their language with limited variations. ( such as tones, or, emphasis in sounds.)

    Through idioms you can see the interesting side of history in between these three languages, since language is a reflection of culture and history. ( surely this is only in my opinion.:p)
     

    cheshire

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    True, I was pleasantly surprised when I read that 馬鹿 (fool) in Japanese comes from Chinese, from the period of 始皇帝's son! (I forgot the 4-letter idiom, though)

    I think 漢語 for "bucuo" is 不錯.
     
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