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咀嚼 和 品味? Are they similar?


#1

Hello! I was learning a new lesson today, " How thin is too thin? 适可而止──老人养生别太瘦 "

In the dialogue, the speakers explain how 咀嚼 can mean to think thoroughly about things. So “咀嚼” (chew)is in a sense like “品味”(taste), to savor and think over? I find it quite interesting.

Do Chinese people associate eating with thinking? Do you have other examples?

Thank you and have a nice day!


#2

That’s a great observation!

Yes, 品味 and 咀嚼 have quite similar meanings when it comes to thinking thoroughly about things, just like tasting food carefully. But they’re still somehow different. Come back to the food analogy, we often “品味” tea, wine, but not food that requires chewing; similarly, we 咀嚼 food but not drinks. So 品味 is more like to appreciate, whereas 咀嚼 means that it still requires another procedure–to chew. When one 咀嚼 something, one can be critical, but when one 品味 something, one simply enjoys and appreciate it. We can make two different sentences:

我反复咀嚼你说的话,觉得你的想法有问题。
我细细品味你说的话,觉得其中大有深意。

Indeed, I believe Chinese people do associate eating with thinking. In addition to the above two examples, the idiom 囫囵吞枣 literally means to swallow, but it also applies in situations where people accept things with thinking thoroughly.

There is another saying:猪八戒吃人参果,全不知滋味。It means swallowing precious food (人参果)without knowing its taste (不知滋味). This also describes people who want too much but cannot get anything out of it.

I hope this helps! Thanks for the thoughtful question.


#3

And in your example, Peony, 豬八戒 is that famous “pig friend” of Monkey King! Is this phrase originated from the “Journey to the West” story?


#4

Exactly. There are many other sayings about our pig friend 猪八戒.