Chinese idioms or Chengyu (成语 chéng yǔ) is a form of Chinese idiomatic expression and represents an integral part of the Chinese language learning experience.
The most common form of Chinese idioms comprises of four Chinese characters although you will sometimes come across Chinese idioms of varied lengths.
Chinese idioms originate from a wide range of sources; they are commonly lifted from ancient Chinese literatures, classical Chinese poems, tales from historical accounts and sayings of famous people. As such, some of these Chinese idioms have been in use for over many centuries.
In most cases, it is not possible to decipher the meanings of these Chinese idioms merely by looking at the literal meanings of their composite characters. Most of the time, Chinese idioms carry implicit moral lessons and promote ethical values derived from recordings of past events.
Students of Chinese language need to understand the historical context where these idioms come into existence in order to understand the meanings they convey. To this end, the learning of Chinese idioms spans across the disciplines of Chinese language, culture and history.
Chinese idioms continue to be widely used in modern day Chinese society. It is not uncommon to find Chinese idioms being quoted in daily conversations used on the streets, in newspapers and televisions, blogs and other digital social media. Students serious about the pursuit of Chinese language learning should take the effort to acquaint themselves with some of the frequently used Chinese idioms.
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