The Rapidian

Chinese proverbs, sayings come alive thanks to Calvin profs

Calvin College profs translate and explain many Chinese proverbs and sayings.

/Myrna Anderson, Calvin College

Underwriting support from:

Book Details

Title: Chinese Proverbs and Popular Sayings

Authors: Qin Xue Herzberg and Larry Herzberg

Publisher: Stone Bridge Press

Price: $12.95

ISBN: 978-1933330990

Where available: Schuler Books & Music, Calvin College bookstore, Barnes & Noble, Amazon

Contacts: Email [email protected], or visit the Calvin College website.



Guidelines for including your book in this new Rapidian feature can be found by emailing The Rapidian.

/Myrna Anderson, Calvin College

/Courtesy of Stone Bridge Press

Qin Xue (pronounced Chin Sweeyeh) and Larry Herzberg blend their personal and professional lives to create their books. The married couple are Chinese language professors at Calvin College; they met when Qin Xue came to Calvin as a student in 1986. Together they have written two other books: “China Survival Guide” for travelers and “Basic Patterns of Chinese Grammar” for students, all published by Stone Bridge Press. Their newest book, "Chinese Proverbs and Popular Sayings," is for everyday readers looking for pithy sayings, deeper understanding of the Chinese culture and a unique look at the Chinese language. The pair answers a few questions about their newest publication.

Give readers a one-sentence description of the book. This is a gathering of common Chinese sayings grouped by theme with the English translation and the Mandarin translations in script and transliteration; all accompanied by our comments on the culture and meanings of the sayings.

Where did the idea come from to write this book? We both teach Chinese, so we wanted to encourage students to begin to add sayings to their speech. The Chinese use these kinds of proverbs all the time, every few sentences in fact. There are books of Chinese proverbs out there, but they aren’t grouped by theme, the translation is dubious, or they are academic books with translation only.

How did you go about writing this book? We chose the most famous proverbs and as we did so we realized they fell into the themes we use in the book. I, Larry, translated the proverbs into English; Qin would make sure the nuances and meanings were correct.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book? We want to reflect how the Chinese people view the world, hence the introduction and the topic intros. We want to help those who don’t know Chinese begin to understand the Chinese culture and mindset. Readers can learn about how 22 percent of humanity views the world when it comes to the major issues of life. There is a commonality of human beings.

What writing projects are you working on now? Apart from the two books we’ve already written, I’ve (Larry) written book called “The World’s Greatest Cat: A Biography of Don Diego,” about our cat. It’s available as an ebook through Amazon. We’re also about to write a fourth book with the working title “Everything You Know About China Is Wrong;” it’s a bit controversial because it addresses claims people are making about China that are completely ludicrous.

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