Time to prepare

My university has offered students to take the HuaYu exam for free in June. This exam is to be able to qualify for scholarships. I immediately signed up for level 3. This means I’ll be studying a lot more since level 3 tests for 1,500 characters. I guess it’s a good thing I signed up for that character challenge. You can take a mock-up of the exam here.

Today I was listening to a podcast and heard the following Chengyu

yuān jiā lù zhǎi

Literally, it means “enemies road narrow” as in it’s inevitable that enemies run into each other. It really caught my ear. It was said in the following sentence:

Aī, nà bà shì Lìli hé Liú Xiáng ma? Zhēnshì yuānjiālùzhǎi.
Hey, isn’t that Lili and Liu Xiang? We just can’t escape that snake.

The guy Liu Xiang is seen as an enemy ’cause he’s going out with the other guys ex-girfriend, he’s rich, etc., and the chengyu was used to convey the “not being able to escape” him.

Speaking of Chengyu, I was reading an article by Hacking Chinese and I thought it was really insightful. I have often wondered about Chengyu and how useful it would be to learn them. To be honest I have only come across them in literature, so I would be leaning towards the “if you are not going to be reading and writing in Chinese don’t bother” side. Learning Chengyu is probably not a good use of your time. I guess it’s interesting because here in Colombia we use “proverbs” all the time, and I mean all the time, in conversation. It wouldn’t be pretentious at all to learn those “proverbs” or idioms here. I guess it’s good to know that I don’t really have to spend a lot of time memorizing Chengyu or panicking that they will be used in conversation. I think I’ll just keep reading literature and trying to understand how they are used.

What do you think?

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