Wed, Oct 19, 2016 - Page 15 News List


A window in the Nanyuan resort in Hsinchu County on Aug 17.

Photo: Paul Cooper, Taipei Times

Chinese Practice


(chun1 hui2 da4 di4)

Spring has returned






英文中也有一個有趣的諺語“one swallow does not make a summer”,和這首宋詞有異曲同工之妙。在英文諺語中以燕子代替融雪,象徵新季節的到來。這句英文諺語以隱喻的方式提出警惕,字面意思為「看到一隻燕子不代表夏天就到了」:雖然出現改變的徵兆,並不代表情況已經改變。



(Every March, spring returns, and the garden is bursting with flowers.)


One swallow does not make a summer

The Chinese idiom 春回大地 comes from a poem written by the Song dynasty poet Zhou Zizhi:



The snow is gone from treetops

The plum blossom remains.

As spring returns to the ground below,

Still unaware, the willow.

Plum blossom generally opens in the late winter/early spring, and is traditionally regarded in Chinese culture as being one of the “three friends of winter,” along with the pine tree and bamboo.

This idiom is used to mean that the winter is finally over, and that we are seeing the first signs of the arrival of spring, as the plum blossom is revealed once again through the melting snow at the tops of the trees.

The English phrase, “one swallow does not make a summer” is similar in that it uses a sign — the swallow, instead of melting snow — to indicate the arrival of a new season. It carries a cautionary meaning, however: the first indications of change do not mean the change is complete.

It is the modern version of “It is not one swalowe that bryngeth in somer. It is not one good qualitie that maketh a man good,” from a collection of Greek and Latin proverbs compiled by the Dutch humanist Erasmus.

(Paul Cooper, Taipei Times)

Well, yes, he has been much more polite today. But one swallow does not make a summer.


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