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Beautifully produced in traditional Chinese binding, this book contains over 100 chengyu with its literal meaning, idiomatic meaning, and a short description of where the saying was derived from.
Chengyu in standard pinyin transliteration and pronounced chung ewe, literally translates as become a saying or more idiomatically set phrase . They usually consist of four characters, though there is one chengyu in this collection with five characters. Chengyu add a depth and richness of expression to modern Chinese, which quite often is difficult to fully translate. English, too, has its own proverbs and idioms. These serve much the same function but they do not have the same standard format as chengyu and they are not as commonly used.
Almost all of the chengyu included in this collection refer back to stories found in some of the earliest Chinese literature. Many of these sources stem from either famous Chinese philosophers, such as Confucius and Zhuangzi, or historical records, particularly of the period known as the Warring States (476-221 BCE), when China was almost constantly caught up in civil war. Gaining familiarity of chengyu does not just improve one's spoken Chinese, but it also gives an insight into the richness and variety of Chinese history and tradition.