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Análisis y Comentarios: Nuño Valenzuela Alonso

Significado de 一技之長

During the Warring States Period(475-221BC), the famous scholar Gongsun Long lived in the State of Zhao. Gongsun kept a circle of skilled people around him, and he was very fond of these people. He often said, “A wise man shouldn’t turn away anyone with a speciality.”

One day, a man dressed in tattered and dirty clothes came to offer himself to the scholar.

“I have a special skill,” he said.

“What skill is that?” Gongsun asked.

“I have a loud voice and I’m good at shouting.”

Gongsun looked round at his followers and asked, “Is there anyone else here who is good at shouting?”

“No,” they replied.

“Well,” Gongsun decided, “Since no one here has this particular talent, I should take him in.”

Not long afterwards, Gongsun and his followers went on a journey. They came to a wide river, and the ferry boat was on the opposite bank. The group was at a loss for what to do. Gongsun suddenly thought of the shouting expert and turned to him. The man immediately realized it was time to demonstrate his skill. He took a deep breath, opened his mouth, and shouted as loud as he could, “Hey, ferryman! Come over here! We want to cross the river.”

As his piercing yell ended, the ferry boat set out across the river to fetch them.

Gongsun was very pleased with this new follower and his special skill.

一技之長 (zhī cháng) originally referred to the shouting skill of that man. But now it’s used to describe anyone with a special professional skill.


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