Chinese Character Bites – #54 – 而

Our character for today is 而 Simplified Chinese character: 而 Traditional Chinese character: 而 (The simplified character and the traditional character are the same) Pronunciation: This character is pronounced ér in the 2nd tone. What it means: On its own, 而 is used in the middle of a sentence as a connector and means 'and' or 'furthermore'. It is also used in connecting words like 而且 (furthermore), 然而 (however) and so on. Let’s break it down: Originally, 而 came from a Continue Reading

Chinese Character Bites – #53 – 天

Our character for today is 天 Simplified Chinese character: 天 Traditional Chinese character: 天 (The simplified character and the traditional character are the same) Pronunciation: This character is pronounced tiān in the 1st tone. What it means: 天 means sky, heaven or it can also mean day. You'll see it in words like 今天 jīntiān (today) 明天 míngtiān (tomorrow) and 昨天 zuótiān (yesterday), as well as the words for seasons, for example 春天 chūntiān (spring). Where it means sky or Continue Reading

Chinese Character Bites – #52 – 多

Our character for today is 多 Simplified Chinese character: 多 Traditional Chinese character: 多 (The simplified character and the traditional character are the same) Pronunciation: This character is pronounced duō in the 1st tone. What it means: 多 means 'many' or 'much' After a number it means 'more than', for example 20多 ‘more than 20'. In 多么 it means 'how much', and you'll also see it in 多少 'how many/much'? (literally 'more less'). Let’s break it down: 多 is made up Continue Reading

Chinese Character Bites – #51 – 心

Our character for today is 心 Simplified Chinese character: 心 Traditional Chinese character: 心 (The simplified character and the traditional character are the same) Pronunciation: This character is pronounced xīn in the 1st tone. What it means: The core meaning of 心 is heart, and it is used in all sorts of words to do with feelings, such as 开心 (happy - open heart) 决心 (determination), 关心 (concern), 心情 (mood) and so on. It also appears as a radical (meaning component of Continue Reading

Chinese Character Bites – #50 – 么

Our character for today is 么 Simplified Chinese character: 么 Traditional Chinese character: 麼 Pronunciation: This character is pronounced me in a neutral tone, and you’ll always see it as the last character in a word What it means: 么 always comes as part of another word. It appears in really common words such as 什么 - what 为什么 - why 怎么 - how 那么 - so, in that case 这么 - so (for example 这么热 - so hot) I've also seen in used as slang in text messages to refer to the sound of Continue Reading

Chinese Character Bites – #49 – 小

Our character for today is 小 Simplified Chinese character: 小 Traditional Chinese character: 小 (The simplified character and the traditional character are the same) Pronunciation: This character is pronounced xiǎo in the 3rd tone. What it means: 小 means little or small. Let’s break it down: This character is representative of the idea of 'small'. The line down the middle with the hook (the stroke that you write first) is being divided up into smaller pieces by the strokes Continue Reading

Chinese Character Bites – #48 – 后

Our character for today is 后 Simplified Chinese character: 后 Traditional Chinese character: 後 Pronunciation: This character is pronounced hòu in the 4th tone. What it means: 后 is really two characters in one. One of its meanings is 'empress', as in 皇后 (empress). It can also be the simplified version of the character 後, which means 'back' 'behind' or 'after', as in 以后 (after). In simplified Chinese characters, the two characters have been merged into one. In traditional Continue Reading

Chinese Character Bites – #47 – 里

Our character for today is 里 Simplified Chinese character: 里 Traditional Chinese character: 裏 Pronunciation: This character is pronounced lǐ in the 3rd tone. What it means: 里 can mean 'a village' or 'half a kilometre' (kilometre is 公里) In these cases the traditional and simplified character are the same: 里 However, you'll also see 里 in words like 这里 (here), 那里 (there) and 哪里 (where?) In these cases, the traditional character for 里 is 裏 or 裡. Let’s break it down: 里 Continue Reading

Chinese Character Bites #46 – 可

Our character for today is 可 Simplified Chinese character: 可 Traditional Chinese character: 可 (The simplified character and the traditional character are the same) Pronunciation: This character is pronounced kě in the 3rd tone. What it means: 可 means 'can', 'may' or 'it is possible'. It's often used in 可以 'can', and you'll also see it in 可是 (but) Let’s break it down: This character contains 口, which means 'mouth'. You write the horizontal stroke on the top first, Continue Reading

Chinese Character Bites – #45 – 对

Our character for today is 对 Simplified Chinese character: 对 Traditional Chinese character: 對 Pronunciation: This character is pronounced duì in the 4th tone. What it means: 对 means 'right' or 'correct'. It can also mean 'opposite' in 对面 and it can be a measure word meaning 'a pair' or 'a couple'. You'll also see it in other words and expressions with other different meanings, for example 对不起 means 'sorry'. Let’s break it down: The simplified character is 又 (written Continue Reading