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Learning the Mandarin Chinese Idioms with the Animal Rabbit

According to the dating methods of twelve animals in Chinese Lunar Calendar, the year of 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit. In Chinese culture, there are many set phrases and idioms related to animals. In the following parts, some idioms related to the rabbit will be learned.

For students who learn Chinese in China, some set phrases that are commonly seen in daily life should be learned. For examples, “龟兔竞走” is a set phrase describing the race between tortoise and rabbit, telling the reality that the genius failed but the unwise successes through endeavor. It carry the same meaning with “龟兔赛跑”.

The most familiar one for Chinese people of the students who attend to Chinese school in China must be “守株待兔”. It describes a story of waiting a rabbit beside the tree stub, indicating the stubborn and inflexible people who want to gain without pain. On the contrary, “兔起凫举” and “动如脱兔” are used to describe that the action are very fast and nimble.

There are some set phrases are applied to express the meaning of the time is fleeting such as “兔走乌飞”, “兔缺乌沉”, “东兔西乌”, “白兔赤乌”. Students who show great interest in learning Mandarin Chinese would find that there is a “乌” in each phrase, which is a kind of bird has three feet.

But why they all carry the meaning of flying time may be a question that students study Chinese will ask. Here is a set phrase “金乌玉兔”, which means the sun and the moon. “金乌” stands for the sun and “玉兔” is the moon. So when we lead this meaning into the above set phrases, it is easier for us to find out the reason of meaning the flying time.

In some phrases, there are not only the rabbit is mentioned. Another animal is combined to express their meanings. The following are needed to know to help students learn to speak Chinese. “兔死狗烹” means the fact that one will be appointed but abandoned when things are done. “兔死狐悲” indicates one feels sad when someone of his kind dies. “蛇兔联盟” implies the strong inveigles the weak to cooperate but then swallow the weak side.

Besides, when you learn Mandarin in China, you will see Chinese people often use the following ones. We use “兔迹狐踪” to express desolate and uninhabited, “犬兔俱毙” to express die together. We express “to remedy immediately” by “见兔顾犬” and “to find the right time to take action for profits” by “见兔放鹰”. “狮子搏兔” is applied to indicate “to take full energy to do things even very unimportant”.

The set phrases with rabbit are not just these mentioned above. More will be learned if you learn Chinese language in China. “玉兔东升” is used to show the time is already at night. “兔毛大伯” is one phrase used in Song and Yuan dynasties to indicate the aged person. For “兔起鹘落”, it not only means the movement is very quick but also shows the calligraphy is very vigorous. We often express “appearance without reality” by using “兔丝燕麦” and “things won’t happen” by “兔角龟毛”.

There are some famous and frequently-used idioms with the animal rabbit to help students to learn Mandarin. We often hear people say “兔子不吃窝边草”, which means the rabbit does not eat the grass around its “house” to protect them from the enemy, indicating not violate the rights around them.

Another two idioms should be learned when you study in China are “得兔而忘蹄” and “驰韩卢而搏蹇兔”. The former one carries the meaning of “forget the assistance provided when one become successful”. The later one is used to describe that the enemy is very easy to beat.

There are so many set phrases and idioms with the same animal rabbit but carry the different meanings, so students should try hard to tell them apart and put them into use.

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