Benjamin Franklin Aphorisms in Chinese

Lighting Rod
Benjamin Franklin invented the lighting rod.

On this fourth day of July, I think fondly of the oldest of the Founding Fathers of the United States, Benjamin Franklin, who was 70 when he signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Benjamin Franklin contributed greatly to the American Revolution. He helped draft the Declaration of Independence, represented the United States in France during the American Revolution, and was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention.

As a person, he was intelligent, industrious, benevolent, humerous and full of wisdom. It is his wisdom that we could probably borrow by minding some of the aphorisms he shared mainly through his annual Poor Richard’s Almanack publication.

The Chinese word for aphorism is 格言 (géyán). Here we go.

爱你的敌人, 因为他们会告诉你你的错误.
Ài nǐ de dírén, yīnwèi tāmen huì gàosù nǐ nǐ de cuòwù.
Love your Enemies, for they tell you your Faults.

同狗一起上床的人会带着跳蚤起床.
Tóng gǒu yīqǐ shàngchuáng de rén huì dàizhe tiàozǎo qǐchuáng.
He that lies down with Dogs, shall rise up with fleas.

(上床 means go to bed, while 起床 means to get up from bed.)

说得好不如做得好.
Shuō dé hǎo bùrú zuò dé hǎo.
Well done is better than well said.

真正的朋友是最好的财产.
Zhēnzhèng de péngyǒu shì zuì hǎo de cáichǎn.
A true Friend is the best Possession.

失去的时间再也找不回来了.
Shīqù de shíjiān zài yě zhǎo bù huílái le.
Lost Time is never found again.

欲速则不达.
Yù sù zé bù dá.
Haste makes Waste.

你必须努力工作来实现你的目标.
Nǐ bìxū nǔlì gōngzuò lái shíxiàn nǐ de mùbiāo.
You have to work hard to achieve your goals.

告诉我, 我会忘记; 教我, 我可能会记住; 让我参与; 我就学会了.
Gàosù wǒ, wǒ huì wàngjì; jiào wǒ, wǒ kěnéng huì jì zhù; ràng wǒ cānyù, wǒ jiù xuéhuìle.
Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.

爱你的邻居; 但不要拆掉你的栅栏.
Ài nǐ de línjū; dàn bùyào chāi diào nǐ de zhàlán.
Love your neighbor; yet don’t pull down your hedge.

婚前睁大两眼, 婚后闭一只眼.
Hūnqián zhēng dà liǎng yǎn, hūn hòu bì yī zhī yǎn.
Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterward.

人生的悲剧是我们老得太快, 而太晚得到智慧.
Rénshēng de bēijù shì wǒmen lǎo dé tài kuài, ér tài wǎn dédào zhìhuì.
Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.

尖酸刻薄交不到朋友; 一勺蜂蜜比一加仑醋能捕到更多的苍蝇.
Jiānsuān kèbó jiāo bù dào péngyǒu; yī sháo fēngmì bǐ yī jiālún cù néng bǔ dào gèng duō de cāngyíng.
Tart words make no friends; a spoonful of honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar.

言多必失.
Yán duō bì shī.
He that speaks much is much mistaken.

对知识的投资总是能带来最大的利益.
Duì zhīshì de tóuzī zǒng shì néng dài lái zuìdà de lìyì.
An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.

If you haven’t already done so, I highly recommend that you read Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography. You can read a free copy of the ebook version at: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/20203/20203-h/20203-h.htm

七月四日快乐!
Qīyuè sìrì kuàilè!
Happy July 4th!

*** If you are looking for stories to read in Chinese, please check out “Inspiring Stories in Chinese”. This edition is in Simplified Chinese characters.

Labor Day in Chinese

Bee in Flower

Bee Collecting Pollens

In “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes” we talked about a number of the major Chinese holidays. Here in the USA we are celebrating today the Labor Day, i.e. 劳工节 (láogōng jié). This is different from the 劳动节
(láodòngjié), which is the International Labour Day on May 1. Labor Day was the day the Labor Movement was created in the USA to fight for better wages, reasonable working hours and safer working conditions. This national holiday is annually observed as a tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

劳工 (láogōng) or 工人 (gōngrén) are workers, and 运动 (yùndòng) could refer to a physical exercise or a movement.

劳工对于经济有很大的贡献.
Láogōng duìyú jīngjì yǒu hěn dà de gòngxiàn.
The workers contribute greatly to the economy.

The sociey needs the support of workers, just like a bee colony needs to be maintained by the worker bees. It is interesting that in a bee colony, all the work is carried out by female bees.

工蜂建造蜂窝.
Gōngfēng jiànzào fēngwō.
The worker bees construct the bee hive.

他们勤劳地收集花粉,花蜜,以及水.
Tāmen qínláo de shōují huāfěn, huāmì, yǐjí shuǐ.
They diligently collect pollen, nectar and water.

他们酿制蜂蜜来喂幼虫.
Tāmen niàng zhì fēngmì lái wèi yòuchóng.
They make honey to feed the larvae.

他们甚至要负责与敌人作战.
Tāmen shènzhì yào fùzé yǔ dírén zuòzhàn.
They are even charged with the duty of battling the enemies.

他们匆忙来去,非常忙碌.
Tāmen cōngmáng lái qù, fēicháng mánglù.
They hurry to and fro and are very busy.

他们对于工作有浓厚的兴趣.
Tāmen duìyú gōngzuò yǒu nónghòu de xìngqù.
They have a keen interest in doing their work.

如果他们在天暖花好的时候不努力工作,
Rúguǒ tāmen zài tiān nuǎn huā hǎo de shíhòu bù nǔlì gōngzuò,
If they don’t work hard when the flowers are blooming and the weather is fair,

将来如何能够安全度过冬天?
Jiānglái rúhé nénggòu ānquán dùguò dōngtiān?
how can they survive winter in the future?

Now, watch this video and give yourself a pat on the back if you understand the lyrics 100%.

If you would like to practice writing some of the Chinese characters, please print out Chinese Character Tracing 30.

If you would like to play this simple song on a keyboard, click here to get the music sheet.

劳工节快乐!
Láogōng jié kuàilè!
Have a Happy Labor Day!

%d bloggers like this: