This is an interesting topic; it touches one of the core idea of the Chinese language.
The Chinese language and all its dialects have not been designed by one inventor at one specific day. Instead, they were created and evolved at different regions through thousands of years at least.
Evidences (see below) showed that some of the Chinese characters from ...
I found the same situation, living in China for quite some time, and unlike some other people who have answered, I understand exactly what you're asking. It was quite annoying to try to learn new words when the native speaker just tells you the meaning of 3 characters together and doesn't know or can't explain each character's meaning. I think the answer is ...
金字塔 Pyramid (Because the shape of a pyramid looks like 金)
田字格 grids with the arrangement like 田
米字旗 the national flag of UK
之江 another name of Qiantang River, because its course looks like the shape of 之
井形格床 two-way grillage
井号 hash sign
人字队 in V formation (...
This research seems to be relevant.
Your question seems to be closely related to rapid reading techniques. Looking on those techniques, you may notice that many of them don't apply to Chinese, simply because logographic writing systems naturally allow rapid reading with no extra training.
There is even an idiom, 一目十行 -- "reading ten lines at the same time"; ...
Let the "foot" meaning of 足 be A, the "plenty, enough" meaning be B. Will discuss about this topic in the following two sections.
First, 現代漢語規範詞典 第二版 ("Modern Chinese Standard Dictionary" 2nd Edition) suggests that meaning A and meaning B come from different origin, though they share the same character currently.
Figure 1. Meanings of 足 in ...
The 月字旁 was originally '肉' & not '月' - 肉 has the meaning of 肉体 meaning 'flesh' or having to do with the 'human body' so it's often seen with body parts.
Among the handwriting styles 章草, 今草 and 狂草, 今草 is the most frequently used. However, compared with 今草, 行书 is even more popular.
章草 is the rapid writing of 隶书. Currently, Chinese teachers don't teach 隶书 in primary schools for its old style. Only calligraphy amateurs and experts would learn 隶书 so as 章草.
今草 is based on 楷书 -- 楷书 is formally ...
Etymology of 一, 二, and 三
Explanation of 一/二/三 in 象形字典 (Dictionary of Pictographs)
一 is a special self-explanatory character. The ...
江 is mostly used in the South; 河 is mostly used in the North. There are exceptions, such as 黑龙江, 浏阳河.
Scale. 江 is exclusively for mighty rivers; 河 can be used for both large and small rivers.
All foreign rivers are named with 河.
There is no fundamental differences between 河 and 江.
江 is used for rivers whose banks are steep cliffs; 河 is used for rivers with ...
Children usually go to grade 1 at the age of 6 or 7 in China.
According to "全日制义务教育语文课程标准", the character number that children should learn is:
Grade 1 to Grade 2: can read 1600 characters, and write 800 characters;
Grade 3 to Grade 4: can read 2500 characters, and write 2000 characters;
Grade 5 to Grade 6: can read 3000 characters, and write 2500 ...
Q1. The Wiktionary list of characters with the 冫 radical contains the following two characters: 冬, 冭. Where in these characters is the 冫? Are the two lines at the bottom supposed to be the ice radical?
Answer: You're right. That's true.
Q2. When I look at the entry for 永 in the Chinese dictionary app on my phone (Pleco), then it says that ...
From the oracle script to the seal script, character 龍 evolved from simple to complex. The seal script was already very similar to 龍.
However later, variants (there were too many!) 𢅛 and 尨 appeared:
Dictionary 集韻 (1037 AD)
The ancient forms for 龍 are [...] 𢅛(帝+尨) [...].
豚 is pronounced tun2 in Mandarin and tyun4 in Cantonese.
The only word I know which still uses it is 海豚 hai3tun2 "dolphin". The Japanese reading is ton (on), buta (kun), as I'm sure you know.
豚 was the original character (with the meat radical on the left hand side), while 猪 meant a wild pig (which is suggested by its radical). Japanese borrowings from ...
I know exactly the thing. There's a project on Wikimedia commons to document the substructure of characters in terms of other characters. I haven't spent much time with the data itself, so I can't tell you how complete it is, but it seems pretty good based on my experience with the Tatoeba character search tool that is based on the data. That tool allows you ...
「九」 and 「丸」 are not related. As @user3306356 points out, 「丸」 is probably related to 「夗」.
「九」 depicts an arm showing the hand, a bent wrist, and elbow, indicating the original meaning elbow. This word is now written as 「肘」 (Baxter-Sagart OC: /*t-[k]uʔ/).
The meaning nine (/*[k]uʔ/) for 「九」 is a ...
This is more of a history question.
勇 is short for 乡勇, which roughly means "militia". They are temporary soldiers recruited from the local population in times of need, and are usually disbanded soon after. Soldiers wearing 勇 on their uniforms was a Qing dynasty thing though; they stood in contrast to the elite Banner Armies and the professional Green ...
No it's not correct. "非常棒" are definitely three 字s. So the proper form should be
According to the context this kind of wording might be used on purpose for joking; you might not need to take them seriously.
Chinese characters and phonetics
Unlike English, Chinese is not a spelling language, which means there is no hint from the characters for pronunciation!!!
Luckily for us, that's not true! Actually, by some estimates, almost 90% of characters have a phonetic component to them. To understand what that actually means, you have to know how ...
They are purists. In the words of Steven Pinker:
...also known as sticklers, pedants, peevers, snobs, snoots, nitpickers,
traditionalists, language police, usage nannies, grammar Nazis, and
the Gotcha! Gang.
According to this article, 纹身 is accepted by a newer version of 《现代汉语词典》 as an alternative form of 文身.
Translation: In ancient times, the host was seated to the east and the guest to the west, so the host was called "East".
Personally I have also heard it is because the Sun rises from the east, thus east is seen as the 'emic', or the 'theme'
The earliest texts with 乒乓 I can find is vernacular novels of Ming dynasty.
《西遊記》 Journey to the West as an example:
“乒” and “乓” are used together as onomatopoetic in history. :)
Q1: Could I use a character like 飂 for my name?
Yes. In fact, you can freely choose any character for your name. However, for whether it is a good Chinese name, there may be many criteria. The most important criteria are supposed to be:
Elegant meaning. 飂 is a good one, meaning gone with the wind and implying a noble, unsullied, lofty, and proud character ...
To answer your question, we need to clearly understand how Traditional Chinese characters got simplified, which I bet 99.999999% of the whole Chinese population don't even know about.
This is a very big topic that I am not able to discuss about it in detail. So I will give a much simplified explanation.
Consider these 2 sets: Traditional Characters vs ...
Is this discrepancy above due to a calligraphical mistake or lazyness, namely, leaving off that one tick, made a long time ago?
TL;DR: I don't think so, because (1) 尸 used as the pictographic radical with the meaning house in 屋 was explicitly mentioned in 说文解字 long before, (2) the original meanings of 尸 and 户 used as radicals are not exactly the same (house ...
The official way to write Chinese uses Chinese characters, which is not an alphabetical system.
There have been various phonetic systems developed to either write or transcribe Chinese. Some of these systems are alphabets. To emphasise, these phonetic systems are not official ways of writing Chinese.
The official way of writing, using characters, does not ...
Unless the name has a really old and/or well-known phonetic translation, a "safe" rule seems to be to pick characters pronounced in the 1st tone. This is particularly true for names that are either long, uncommon, or otherwise tongue-twisting (as far as Chinese speakers are concerned anyway).
Male vs Female
Certain characters convey masculinity (e.g....
TL;DR : 饣 is the phonetic, not the signific.
饣, which is simplified from 食, is the radical of 饰/飾 only in the sense that it is listed that way in a Chinese dictionary. It is not the meaning-bearing part of the character. Here are two possible analyses. In both cases, 饣 is contributing to the pronunciation, not the meaning:
飾 = 食 (phonetic: shi2) + 布 (...
Actually, "好包了" does not mean "I'm full".
You may see "...打好包了..." in the Google hits. It refers to "have made something into a package.
If your friend say "这顿饭我包了". That means your friend will get the bill, and you don't pay the bill.
You will see "7天包退" on some goods's package, that means "7 days to cancel purchase for non-faulty goods".
In short, 想 means "think (of)" when followed by noun phrases or clauses, and "want to" when followed by verb phrases, while 喜欢 simply means "like / be fond of" in all cases.
When followed by nouns/pronouns,
想 means "think of / consider" or "miss", for example:
我在想你 = I am missing you; 我在想这个问题 = I am considering this question.
喜欢 means "...