Chinese Tuesdays: The ugly bride


I finished The Garlic Ballads by Mo Yan a couple of days ago, and it was a great read. Even Howard Goldblatt’s English translation had me reaching for my dictionary and searching on Baidu though, as the book contains a lot of directly translated expressions and idioms.

My favourite would have to be 丑媳妇总得见公婆 (chǒu xífù zǒngděi jiàn gōngpó), translated in the novel as “The ugly bride has to meet her in-laws sooner or later." It was used by a policeman telling one of the characters to come with him to the station for questioning. A great way to tell someone not to waste time trying to avoid the inevitable and just get it over with!

Every Tuesday on the Anthill, Sam Duncan posts a langauge titbit from his blog