燕雀安知鴻鵠志

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Chinese[edit]

a bramble finch; brambling how to know; to be aware big bird; swan the will
trad. (燕雀安知鴻鵠志) 燕雀 鴻鵠
simp. (燕雀安知鸿鹄志) 燕雀 鸿鹄

Etymology[edit]

From Records of the Grand Historian by Sima Qian:

少時傭耕悵恨久之:「富貴。」:「富貴?」太息:「嗟乎燕雀鴻鵠!」 [Classical Chinese, trad.]
少时佣耕怅恨久之:“富贵。”:“富贵?”太息:“嗟乎燕雀鸿鹄!” [Classical Chinese, simp.]
Chén Shè shàoshí, cháng yǔ rén yōnggēng, chuò gēng zhī lǒng shàng, chànghèn jiǔzhī, yuē: “Gǒu fùguì, wú xiàng wàng.” Yōng zhě xiào ér yìng yuē: “Ruò wèi yōng gēng, hé fùguì yě?” Chén Shè tàixī yuē: “Jiēhū, yànquè ān zhī hónghú zhī zhì zāi!” [Pinyin]
When Chen She was young, he worked in the fields with other day laborers. One day, he stopped working and climbed to the top of a hill. He was sullen for quite some time, then said, "If I become rich, I will not forget you all." The other workers laughed, and responded, "You're a day labourer, what riches?" Chen She sighed, and said, "Alas, how can a little songbird understand the ambitions of a grand swan!"

Pronunciation[edit]



  • Middle Chinese: /ʔenH  t͡sɨɐk̚  ʔɑn  ʈiᴇ  ɦuŋ  ɦuok̚  t͡ɕɨH/
Rime
Character
Reading # 2/2 1/1 1/1 1/1 1/2 1/1 1/1
Initial () (34) (13) (34) (9) (33) (33) (23)
Final () (85) (107) (61) (11) (1) (6) (19)
Tone (調) Departing (H) Checked (Ø) Level (Ø) Level (Ø) Level (Ø) Checked (Ø) Departing (H)
Openness (開合) Open Open Open Open Open Open Open
Division () IV III I III I I III
Fanqie
Reconstructions
Zhengzhang
Shangfang
/ʔenH/ /t͡sɨɐk̚/ /ʔɑn/ /ʈiᴇ/ /ɦuŋ/ /ɦuok̚/ /t͡ɕɨH/
Pan
Wuyun
/ʔenH/ /t͡siɐk̚/ /ʔɑn/ /ʈiɛ/ /ɦuŋ/ /ɦuok̚/ /t͡ɕɨH/
Shao
Rongfen
/ʔɛnH/ /t͡siɑk̚/ /ʔɑn/ /ȶjɛ/ /ɣuŋ/ /ɣok̚/ /t͡ɕieH/
Edwin
Pulleyblank
/ʔɛnH/ /t͡sɨak̚/ /ʔan/ /ʈiə̆/ /ɦəwŋ/ /ɦawk̚/ /cɨH/
Li
Rong
/ʔenH/ /t͡siak̚/ /ʔɑn/ /ȶie/ /ɣuŋ/ /ɣok̚/ /t͡ɕiəH/
Wang
Li
/ienH/ /t͡sĭak̚/ /ɑn/ /ȶǐe/ /ɣuŋ/ /ɣuok̚/ /t͡ɕĭəH/
Bernard
Karlgren
/ʔienH/ /t͡si̯ak̚/ /ʔɑn/ /ȶie̯/ /ɣuŋ/ /ɣuok̚/ /t͡ɕiH/
Expected
Mandarin
Reflex
yàn jue ān zh- hóng zhì

Proverb[edit]

燕雀安知鴻鵠志

  1. How can an ordinary person understand the ambitions of a great person?