对牛弹琴 duìniútánqín

duìniútánqín

duì  =    prep. to, at, concerning to                tán  = vb. to play (an instrument)

niú  =   n.  cow                                                       qín =  n. zither, lute (a kind of musical instrument)

This idiom literally means play the zither/lute to the cow. It means ‘to address the wrong audience’ or ‘to talk over somebody’s head.’

The story goes…..Gong Mingyi was a fantastic lute player who lived in the Warring States Period. One day he saw a cow eating grass and, thinking it a good idea, decided to play beautiful music for the cow. However, the cow continued eating grass like nothing was going on. The people who were watching this spectacle said, “It is not because your song sounds bad, only that you have sought the wrong audience.”
Now people use this saying to mean that the audience cannot follow the speaker’s meaning.

Example:

她为他们朗诵莎士比亚著作,但那等于对牛弹琴.

Trans: She read them Shakespeare, but it was casting pearls before swine.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s