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This Chinese proverb is a suggestion that is it better to be brief, use fewer words, while still expressing your main point or idea. In another way to explain this, one should not use 100 words when 50 will do, Or, being more concise with your speech.
This can also be translated as concise, compendious, "brief in form but comprehensive in scope" or succinct.
言簡意賅 is a bit more positive than our other proverb for brevity.
Get to the point quickly with the fewest words possible is the suggestion of this Chinese proverb.
But taking it deeper, there is a warning that using too many words may act to "tip your hat" or "show your hand" (to use two American idioms).
It can also be said that using many words does not make the message have more value.
少說為佳 is really about the art of brevity.
Now my only hope is that I did not use too many words to explain this proverb.
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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Brief and to the Point||言簡意賅|
|yán jiǎn yì gāi|
yan2 jian3 yi4 gai1
yan jian yi gai
|yen chien i kai
|Brevity: Fewer Words are Best||少說為佳|
|shǎo shuō wéi jiā|
shao3 shuo1 wei2 jia1
shao shuo wei jia
|shao shuo wei chia
|In some entries above you will see that characters have different versions above and below a line.|
In these cases, the characters above the line are Traditional Chinese, while the ones below are Simplified Chinese.
Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your brief and to the point search...
If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese
|Simple Dictionary Definition|
| duǎn / duan3
mijika / みじか
short; brief; to lack; weak point; fault
(pref,suf) short; brief; (personal name) Iyama
| jiǎn míng è yào / jian3 ming2 e4 yao4
chien ming o yao
brief and to the point (idiom); succinct
|kannishiteyouoeru / kannishiteyooeru / かんにしてようをえる||
(exp,v1) to be brief and to the point; to be succinct
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When the calligrapher finishes creating your artwork, it is taken to my art mounting workshop in Beijing where a wall scroll is made by hand from a combination of silk, rice paper, and wood.
After we create your wall scroll, it takes at least two weeks for air mail delivery from Beijing to you.
Allow a few weeks for delivery. Rush service speeds it up by a week or two for $10!
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The wall scroll that Sandy is holding in this picture is a "large size"
single-character wall scroll.
We also offer custom wall scrolls in small, medium, and an even-larger jumbo size.
Professional calligraphers are getting to be hard to find these days.
Instead of drawing characters by hand, the new generation in China merely type roman letters into their computer keyboards and pick the character that they want from a list that pops up.
There is some fear that true Chinese calligraphy may become a lost art in the coming years. Many art institutes in China are now promoting calligraphy programs in hopes of keeping this unique form of art alive.
Even with the teachings of a top-ranked calligrapher in China, my calligraphy will never be good enough to sell. I will leave that to the experts.
The same calligrapher who gave me those lessons also attracted a crowd of thousands and a TV crew as he created characters over 6-feet high. He happens to be ranked as one of the top 100 calligraphers in all of China. He is also one of very few that would actually attempt such a feat.
Check out my lists of Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls and Old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.
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