What are Chinese Idioms?
Chinese idioms, 成语 are a type of figurative language that consists of a set of usually four characters, each carrying a specific meaning. These idioms are deeply rooted in Chinese culture, history, and literature, often derived from classical texts and historical events. They are used to express complex ideas or convey wisdom in a concise and poetic manner.
For example, 马马虎虎 (mǎ mǎ hū hū) which literally translated in English as “horse horse tiger tiger” means “so-so” or “mediocre,” describing something that is neither good nor bad.
Another example is 守株待兔 (shǒu zhū dài tù) which translate to “waiting by the stump for rabbits.” It means to wait passively for opportunities to come to you without taking any action.
In English, the closest I can think of to Chinese idioms are figure of speech, when “pigs can fly!”
Learning Chinese idioms and being able to use them is testimonial of being more advanced in your Chinese language. It goes beyond the basic Chinese vocabulary and really relies on your understanding of the meaning behind the idiom. Most of the Chinese idioms have a very meaningful and logical story behind them.
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The iHuman Chinese app is a fun Chinese learning app where young Chinese learners can learn 1300+ Chinese characters through a fun gameplay format. We have been using it for the past 3 years and I have been getting great value out of the lifetime package. My children still enjoy playing and learning on it, and there are always new features within the app, such as this Chinese idioms feature.
What is included on the iHuman Chinese App for Chinese idioms?
There are 50 Chinese idioms that are taught within the iHuman Chinese app, please scroll down for the full list. Each Chinese idiom is taught within a story and an informational video. Learners play games as part of the learning.
Design of the iHuman Chinese idiom lessons
Most of the lessons within the actual iHuman Chinese app starts with play. This is a nice way to engage young learners and each Chinese idiom comes with its own game, and is not repeated.
The meaning behind the Chinese idiom is told in a simple story narrated with animation.
Match the correct Chinese characters to the Chinese idiom, and answer comprehension questions related to the Chinese idiom.
Think of this segment as a YouTube video channel that introduces the Chinese idiom in an instructional format. There are examples of how it is used, and cute animations to illustrate them.
Make a Chinese idiom chain and learn more Chinese idioms. After making the right chain, learners have to listen to the Chinese idiom and say them out loud. (No penalties if they can’t pronounce it properly!)
The final segment of the lesson ends with a speaking practice.
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Our experience with the iHuman Chinese app for learning Chinese idioms
My children liked the game play of the app, and also the stories that came with each Chinese idiom. The stories are also my favourite, as it gives meaning to the Chinese idiom that is being taught. I also like that some of the stories are based on the actual tale of the Chinese idiom. There’s a good mix of cute stories and cultural stories.
I didn’t know all 50 of the Chinese idioms myself, so I was quite pleased to extend my personal Chinese language skill.
I would have liked to be able to choose which Chinese idiom to learn, as unlike the main iHuman Chinese gameplay, you don’t have to learn these Chinese idioms in sequence. Some of the Chinese idioms are more interesting and simpler to understand, and I would have preferred to teach those first.
I have been using the Chinese idiom feature with my older two, aged 9 years old and 7 years old. Children would need a basic level of Chinese proficiency so I would recommend that your child/children is older, and is at an intermediate level before you start teaching Chinese idioms. And with Chinese idioms, you don’t have to teach them sequentially in the same way you teach Chinese characters, from basic to intermediate to advanced. You can pick and choose any one that you think is interesting/funny/relevant.
Since we purchased the lifetime package of the iHuman Chinese app, I can choose when to introduce Chinese idioms to my youngest, and I probably will only do a few with her when she turns 6 years old, and then some more along our Mandarin homeschooling journey.
Chinese idioms covered in the iHuman Chinese app
Here are the 50 Chinese idioms you will learn in the iHuman Chinese idiom segment.
Where to download the iHuman Chinese app
Special promotional pricing for the iHuman Chinese app!!
Mandarin Homeschool has partnered up with iHuman to give you a whopping 30% of the apps! Read more about the iHuman App Bundles.
This is exclusive to Mandarin Homeschool and is not available in the app.
Other Recommended Educational Chinese Apps for Children
There are many reasons why iHuman Chinese is our ultimate favourite – lifetime package for my 3 children, fun gameplay format, comprehensive lessons, additional features that are always being added to the app.
However, if you are a non-native Chinese speaker, the interface which is entirely Chinese can be hard to navigate. In that case, Galaxy Kids Chinese, Kids Learn Mandarin or Maomi Stars may be more suitable for you as the apps are in English.