Chinese Stories for Language Learners

A Treasury of Proverbs and Folktales in Chinese and English (Free CD & Online Audio Recordings Included)

Tuttle Publishing
Vivian Ling, Peng Wang, illustrated by Yang Xi, author Peng Wang
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The highly anticipated next book in Tuttle's Stories for Language Learners series is here!
This book presents 22 classic Chinese proverbs and the traditional tales behind them. The stories are bilingual, with the Chinese and English versions presented on facing pages. Each includes an explanation of how the proverb is used today, cultural notes, vocabulary and discussion questions. Audio recordings of the tales by native speakers are included, giving students a chance to improve their pronunciation and comprehension.
Some of the proverbs featured in this collection include:

  • Painting the Eyes on the Dragon
    Based on the story of a famous court painter in 6th century China who painted dragons, this proverb refers to the finishing touches needed to bring a work of art or literature to life. In a discussion, it refers to the final statements used to clinch the argument.

  • Waiting for Rabbits by a Tree Stump
    Based on an ancient folktale about a foolish farmer who sees a rabbit kill itself in front of him by running into a tree stump, then gives up tilling his field to wait for more rabbits by the stump. This saying is applied to people who wait passively for luck to strike again. It also refers to impractical people who stick to one way of doing things only because it has worked for them once in the past.

  • Pure Water Has No Fish; Perfect People Have No Friends
    Many versions of this historical tale exist. The one told here is about a 2nd century AD official sent to govern a far-flung outpost on the Silk Road who is fastidious in applying strict rules and thereby causes the local people to rebel against him. In the professional world, it is used to refer to people who do not like to work with an overly strict supervisor or colleague.
Contributor Bio

Vivian Ling was born in wartime China and educated in the U.S. She taught for 24 years at Oberlin College before moving overseas to direct study-abroad Chinese language programs, most notably the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies at National Taiwan University in Taipei and Tsinghua University in Beijing. Her last position was Director of the Chinese Flagship program at Indiana University. She has authored and edited Chinese language textbooks, dictionaries, books on modern Chinese literature and, most recently, The Field of Chinese Language Education in the U.S.: A Retrospective of the 20th Century. She lives in Washington DC.

Peng Wang has been on the faculty at Georgetown University since 2002, teaching various Chinese language courses including Business Chinese and Chinese for Heritage Learners. Previously, she was the chief instructor at the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies at Tsinghua University, as well as a visiting faculty at Oberlin College and Brown University.

Yang Xi is an up-and-coming artist and illustrator in China. She is currently a Master of Arts candidate at the Nanjing Art Institute College of Fine Arts. Her distinctive style can be characterized as amalgamation of classical and contemporary, Chinese and Western.

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