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Chinese Character Bites – #7 – 我

Our character for today is: 我

In simplified Chinese characters: 我
In traditional Chinese characters: 我
(It’s the same in both traditional and simplified Chinese characters)

Pronunciation:

This character is pronounced wǒ in the 3rd tone.

What it means:

我 means I.  You’ll also see it in 我们 wǒmen – we.

我爱你 wǒ ài nǐ – I love you.

Let’s break it down:

When I first started learning Chinese, it took me a long time to get this character looking good. I found it pretty frustrating that such a common word as ‘I’, which is just a single stroke in English, could be so much more complicated in Chinese, but it’s so common that you will end up writing it a lot, and you’ll quickly get used to it!

我 was originally from a picture of a weapon, and gradually (for reasons that are unclear), came to be used as the first person pronoun.

The modern version of the character contains the radical 戈, which is a type of ancient Chinese weapon. Some people also think that 我 came from the ancient character for ‘kill.’

Since the meaning of this character is not really clear from its appearance or components, this is one of those characters that you really just have to learn ‘as is’.