2018年2月10日 星期六

AN EXPLANATION OF CHINESE CHARACTERS AND WORDS

AN EXPLANATION OF CHINESE CHARACTERS AND WORDS


Each Chinese character is a syllable with a tone as the examples below. And a character itself usually carries a meaning but sometimes it’s not a word.

Traditional
Simplified
Pinyin/pronunciation
Meaning
Jiā
Home
Big
ài
love


Some Chinese words contains only one syllable such as, home, big, and love (as shown above), while others words contains two or three. Words with two syllables are the majority. See examples below.

Traditional
Simplified
Pinyin/pronunciation
Meaning
電腦
电脑
Diànnǎo
Computer
手機
手机
shǒujī
Cellphone
冰箱
冰箱
bīngxiāng
Refrigerator


As I mentioned previously, each syllabus carries a meaning, but it’s not a word sometimes. So let’s take an example here
The word口水(Kǒu shuǐ) consists of two syllables meaning saliva.
The first syllable/ character (Kǒu) meaning mouth, and the second one (shuǐ) meaning water.  So it’s mouth + water = saliva.

Please note that the syllable/ character(shuǐ) is also a word. It’s a one-syllable word. So you can say : 我喝水(Wǒ hē shuǐ / I drink water)
BUT the character/syllable mouth(Kǒu) isn’t and can’t be a word on his own, so you can NOT say: 他的口很大(Tā de kǒu hěn dà. / His mouth is big.).
Instead, you need to say: 他的嘴巴很大 (Tā de zuǐbā hěn dà / His mouth is big.), because 嘴巴(zuǐbā) is the word for mouth which is a two-syllable word.

So be sure next time that you are using words in your sentences not syllables!

SMART Mandarin
Katrina Lee

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