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This dictionary lists prophecy as 預言, but it doesn't list an entry for self-fulfilling prophecy

Example sentence:

If you remain this negative, your thoughts will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What's the right translation for Cantonese/Mandarin?

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self-fulfilling prophecy = 自我实现的预言

The act of making a prophecy, would help making it happen.

Some prophecy fulfilling itself by enticing actions that lead to the result that it predicted. For example: Someone say he will never success, therefore no need to try. If he never try, he will never success. And the reason he never try is he predicted it would be no use trying. If he didn't make the prediction, he might actually try and success

「我永遠不會成功」是一個自我实现的预言,因為如果你相信這個预言,你就不會去尝试,如果你不去尝试,這個预言就會实现

"I will never succeed" is a self-fulfilling prophecy, because if you believe in this prophecy, you will not try. If you don't try, this prophecy will come true.

You are the one who fulfill your own prophecy

  • In Mandarin, you can say: "說着就會變真" (keep making the same prediction would make this prediction come true)

  • In Cantonese, you can say: "講講下就會變真"

Edit:

"說到變真" (repeat a prediction until it comes true) could work similarly to "說着就會變真" (keep making the same prediction would make this prediction come true)

For example: "他常說沒人會嫁他,結果這話說到變真" (he often say no one would marry him, at the end this words became a self-fulfilling prophecy)

Because he predicted no girl would marry him, so he didn't even try to ask girls for marriage, thus fulfilled his own prophecy

  • Thanks so much! How about 一說成是?It would be a play off of 積非成是. – Crashalot Sep 12 at 19:40
  • 積非成是. sounds like 假的說多了就會被當成是真的 or 錯的說多了就會被成是對的 (repeat an untrue thing or incorrect statement enough times, people would believe it is true or correct) – Tang Ho Sep 12 at 19:47
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    Yes, you're right. So could 一說成是 be used as a more concise way to express a "self-fulfilling prophecy"? Or maybe 一說成真? – Crashalot Sep 12 at 19:55
  • no, 說成是 or 說成真 only mean " state as fact" -- implying it is a "lie" – Tang Ho Sep 12 at 20:48
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    @Crashalot see my edition – Tang Ho Sep 12 at 21:12
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self-fulfilling = 自证

Here, self = 自. You might see other place translate self to 自己。 That's because, in ancient Chinese, every word has only one character. In current Chinese, most words contain more than one character, such as 自+己 -> 自己。 But when in words that format as combinations, every word only use their original character. That is 自 here.

Fulfilling has no exact translation in chinese. So 证, which means proven, is used here.

Here is something more.

"If you remain this negative, your thoughts will become a self-fulfilling prophecy."

You can translate it word by word:如果你继续这么悲观,你的思想会陷入自证预言.

If this is a conversation between native speakers, a more common way is using idioms, something like 智子疑邻 or 杯弓蛇影。

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You can use 烏鴉嘴 for negative self-fulfilling prophecy
note: 烏鴉嘴 is restricted to only negative self-fulfilling prophecy

A more native way to express

If you remain this negative, your thoughts will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

to Chinese could be 你再這樣想/說, 你的烏鴉嘴就要成真了
(You'll jinx it if you keep saying it/thinking about it)

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