Beginners’ Chinese: a taster course
Beginners’ Chinese: a taster course

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Beginners’ Chinese: a taster course

1.7 How to memorise and combine characters

In Chinese, some characters can look a bit like the objects they represent and so often a good way to memorise the characters is to imagine them pictorially.

For example, the character for a person ‘rén’ is , which looks like a person walking:

Side on view of a person walking.
Figure 4 The character ‘rén’, meaning person, looks like a person walking.

A second example of how Chinese characters can be turned into an image that relates to its meaning is the word for ‘big’. Imagine a person with their arms wide open to signal something is big; the character for big, ‘ , looks just like that.

A person standing with their arms wide open on the top of a hill.
Figure 5 The character ‘’, meaning big, looks like a person standing with their arms wide open.

Activity 5 Word combinations

Based on what you have learned so far in this course, select the correct word combination for the definitions given.

Adult/Big person (dà rén)

a. 

+


b. 

+


c. 

+


d. 

+


e. 

+ +


f. 

+


The correct answer is a.

We (wŏ mén)

a. 

+


b. 

+


c. 

+


d. 

+


e. 

+ +


f. 

+


The correct answer is f.

China (Zhōng guó)

a. 

+


b. 

+


c. 

+


d. 

+


e. 

+ +


f. 

+


The correct answer is c.

A power (a dominant country) (dà guó)

a. 

+


b. 

+


c. 

+


d. 

+


e. 

+ +


f. 

+


The correct answer is b.

Doctor (yī shēng)

a. 

+


b. 

+


c. 

+


d. 

+


e. 

+ +


f. 

+


The correct answer is d.

Study Chinese (xué zhōng wén)

a. 

+


b. 

+


c. 

+


d. 

+


e. 

+ +


f. 

+


The correct answer is e.

CHN_1

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