Chinese Character Bites – #44 – 学

Our character for today is 学 Simplified Chinese character: 学 Traditional Chinese character: 學 (The top part of the simplified character is different) Pronunciation: This character is pronounced xué in a 2nd tone. What it means: 学 means 'to study' or 'to learn' You'll see it in words like 学习 'to study', 学校 'school', 大学 ‘university' and 学生 'student'. Let’s break it down: The top of the traditional character  represents two hands grasping 爻, which is a symbol from the Continue Reading

Chinese Character Bites – #43 – 家

Our character for today is 家 Simplified Chinese character: 家 Traditional Chinese character: 家 (The simplified character and the traditional character are the same) Pronunciation: This character is pronounced jiā in the 1st tone. What it means: 家 means 'family', and from this it can also have the extended meaning of 'home' or 'house' For example: 我的家 ‘my house' or 'my family'. You'll also see it in 大家 (everybody - literally 'big family') and 国家 (country - literally Continue Reading

Chinese Character Bites – #42 – 过

Our character for today is 过 Simplified Chinese character: 过 Traditional Chinese character: 過 (The right hand part is different in the simplified and traditional character) Pronunciation: This character is pronounced guò in a 4th tone. What it means: 过 normally means one of two things. Either it can be a verb meaning 'to pass by' or 'to cross', for example 过马路 'cross the road' Or it can be a particle indicating that you have had an experience or done something at least once Continue Reading

Chinese Character Bites – #41 – 之

Our character for today is 之 Simplified Chinese character: 之 Traditional Chinese character: 之 (The simplified character and the traditional character are the same) Pronunciation: This character is pronounced zhī in the 1st tone. What it means: 之 is a character that comes from classical Chinese, but is still sometimes used in the modern Chinese language. Normally it does one of two things: 1) It is a grammatical character that works a bit like 的 (the most common character in Continue Reading

Chinese Character Bites – #40 – 去

Our character for today is 去 Simplified Chinese character: 去 Traditional Chinese character: 去 (The simplified character and the traditional character are the same) Pronunciation: This character is pronounced qù in the 4th tone. What it means: 去 is the verb 'to go' Let’s break it down: It is said that this character comes from a picture of a cup with a lid that can be removed (the character can also have the meaning 'to remove'), but this is difficult to confirm. It would Continue Reading

Chinese Character Bites – #39 – 着

Our character for today is 着 Simplified Chinese character: 着 Traditional Chinese character: 著 (The top part of the simplified character and the traditional character are different) Pronunciation: This character is often pronounced zhe in a neutral tone, but it can also have the pronunciations zháo, zhuó and zhāo (see below). What it means: Ok so this is a beast of a character, and one of the most confusing characters in Chinese; there are very few characters in Chinese that Continue Reading

Chinese Character Bites – #38 – 自

Our character for today is 自 Simplified Chinese character: 自 Traditional Chinese character: 自 (The simplified character and the traditional character are the same) Pronunciation: This character is pronounced zì in the 4th tone. What it means: 自 has a couple of different meanings. A lot of the time, it means 'self', for example in 自己 (self, oneself) It can also mean 'from', and when it comes as part of 自从 it means 'since' You'll also see it in 自然, which means 'nature' or Continue Reading

Chinese Character Bites – #37 – 会

Our character for today is 会 Simplified Chinese character: 会 Traditional Chinese character: 會 (The traditional character has some extra strokes on the bottom part) Pronunciation and what it means: Most of the time this character is pronounced huì, and means 'can / able to', 'to meet' or 'meeting'. It can also mean 'will' and be used to introduce actions that happen in the near future. You'll also see it pronounced kuài in 会计 kuàijì - accounting / accountant, and huǐ in 一会儿 yī Continue Reading

Chinese Character Bites – #36 – 生

Our character for today is 生 Simplified Chinese character: 生 Traditional Chinese character: 生 (The simplified character and the traditional character are the same) Pronunciation: This character is pronounced shēng in the 1st tone. What it means: 生 can mean 'give birth', 'alive', and is also used in names of occupations. You'll see it in: 出生 (to give birth), 生活 (life), 活着 (alive), 先生 (Mr), 医生 (doctor) and 学生 (student) Let’s break it down: 生 originally came from a Continue Reading

Chinese Character Bites – #35 – 以

Our character for today is 以 Simplified Chinese character: 以 Traditional Chinese character: 以 (The simplified character and the traditional character are the same) Pronunciation: This character is pronounced yǐ in the 3rd tone. What it means: On its own, 以 can mean 'to take something as something' or 'in order to'. However, you'll mostly see it as part of words, such as 所以 (so, therefore), 以前 (before), 以后 (after), 以外 (besides, except), 可以 (can, may) Let’s break it Continue Reading