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虹影 饥饿的女儿 Hong Ying, "Daughter of the River" has this sentence: "不行,这样也不对,你耳朵生翅膀了,总听不见我的话?"

Translated by Howard Goldblatt (ISBN 0-8021-1637-X) as: "No,that's not right either. Do you have wings on your ears? Is that why you never listen to me?"

Question is about meaning of 耳朵生翅膀了 "have wings on one's ears," i.e. how do these wings prevent Daughter of the River/ 饥饿的女儿 from listening to her mother, do they block the sound? One user suggested that wings on ears make them (the ears) fly away, which of course would also affect listening.

As far as is known to this user "having wings on one's ears" does not seem to be a common expression with some conventional meaning in English, does 耳朵生翅膀 have some conventional meaning in Chinese?

This user can only think of one common expression, 不翼而飞 involving wings and flying referring to disappearance without leaving a trace.

本问题是关于 "你耳朵生翅膀了" 这句话的意思。更准确来说如何该翅膀会防止女儿听妈妈说话的(使她听不见其母亲的话)。指的是遮住(屏蔽)声音吗?按某使用者看讨论中的翅膀可能使耳朵飞走去的而飞走的耳朵当然是听不见妈妈说什么话的。"你耳朵生翅膀了"有没有什么传统(习惯)的意思能说明妈妈对女儿的责备呢?

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  • I don't think 耳朵生翅膀 is an idiom, but 生翅膀 is a metaphor for being absence (flew away).
    – NS.X.
    Jan 4 '15 at 4:32
  • Literally: Her pair of ears flew away from her. She has no ears left. Which means she can't listen to what her mom says.
    – 54D
    Jan 6 '15 at 12:58
  • Chinese people would not say it this way, even if its logic is OK.
    – PdotWang
    Feb 6 '15 at 1:55
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It's saying fly away, of course.

Chinese also contains similar expressions such as: 长(了)腿 (grew legs) or 长(了)脚 (grew feet) to mean 跑了 (ran away) like:

I would imagine the author was going for the same idea here and is just substituting 生翅膀 for 长脚 (because ears can't exactly 'run away'(?), if that makes any sense at all...)

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It's not an idiom that exists to a wide population, otherwise you should have already found other references online, which I haven't.

You know it's a good metaphor when you see one. If it leaves you wondering, it's probably not that good.

It's possible that the mom was kinda annoyed so she uttered gibberish. It's also possible that the author was bluffing: she invented random idioms to mess with your brain.

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