Speak of the Devil...
There's a well known Chinese proverb:
Shuō Cáo Cāo, Cáo Cāo dào
(Talk about Cao Cao, and he'll arrive!)
It means roughly the same as our English one which I've used as the title of this post.
曹操 (Cao Cao) was an ancient Chinese warlord, well known in folk tales and in the classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms (三国演义), and portrayed in Beijing Opera (京剧) as a villain with a white face (which symbolises betrayal).
Today the Guardian has a fascinating story about the possible discovery of his tomb!
simonpetterssonDecember 28, 2009, 04:44 AM
Interesting stuff, though it seems a tad early to say. Does the Chinese proverb get shortened the way the English does? That is, can you just say "说曹操"?
The Swedish version of the same proverb is arguably the weirdest: "Tala om trollen och de sitter och fiskar i farstun": "Speak of the trolls and they're fishing in the hall."
TalDecember 28, 2009, 06:16 AM
Ha ha! I love that one simon. But fishing in the hall? Do you all have like... indoor fish pools in Sweden? Sadly I've never been there, (I thought Abba was great though, back in the day.)
paulinurusDecember 28, 2009, 11:53 AM
What a coincidence! I was invited to a Chinese home last evening and there was a statute of a fierce looking figure on the mantle. Asked who the statute was and the host replied "most famous warlord." I didn't enquire further but it looks like the pic of Cao Cao above. There was a small red envelope taped to the statute of Cao Cao.
simonpetterssonDecember 29, 2009, 06:56 AM
Haha. I pronounce it "Kow". A 'c' before an 'a' is usually pronounced as a 'k' in western languages.
I'm still curious about this: Does the Chinese proverb get shortened the way the English does? That is, can you just say "说曹操"?