Beginners' Chinese
Beginners' Chinese

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Beginners' Chinese

1.6 Word formation

In this section we talk about combining characters to form new words. You can complete the activities now, but you may also find it valuable to come back to them once you’ve covered the other sections.

Activity 4 Making character combinations

The quiz linked below contains eleven character combinations that have to do with professions, forms of address, pronouns and so on. Drag and drop the appropriate characters to match their English counterparts.

Click here to open the quiz. [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]  

Answer

Below you’ll find tables with all the characters used in the quiz for reference.

Solution

Solution
We 我们
I am very well 我很好
very good 很好
good person 好人
They 他们
Old Wang 老王
Mr Wang 王先生
Old Li 老李
Mrs Li 李太太
Teacher 老师
Doctor 医生

Characters

Characters
men lăo shī
hěn wáng
hăo men xiān tài
rén shēng tài

Here are some more combinations of characters:

xiān (first) +  shēng (new; to be born; strange) =  先生 xiānsheng (Mr; husband; old-fashioned term for teacher)

xiǎo (little; young) +  jiĕ (elder sister) =  小姐 xiǎojie (Miss)

běi (north) +  jīng (capital) =  北京 Běijīng (Beijing)

lún (ethics; human relations) +  dūn (honest) =  伦敦 Lúndūn (London)

(field; earth; place) +  fāng (referring to places and directions) =  地方 dìfang (place)

zhōng (central; middle; medium) +  guó (country; kingdom) =  中国 Zhōngguó (China)

Activity 5 Word formation

In the quiz linked below, match the characters to their corresponding pinyin and English translations using the drag and drop options provided.

Click here to open the quiz.

Answer

Below you’ll find a table with all the characters used in the quiz for reference.

Word formation

Characters Pinyin English
好人 hǎo rén good person
生字 shēng zì new character
生人 shēngrén stranger
地名 dì míng place name
人名 rén míng a person’s name
北方 běifāng northern place; north
北方人 běifāngrén northerner
姐姐 jiějie elder sister
英国 Yīngguó Britain
L197_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has over 40 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus