9 Word formation
Words in Chinese are formed by one or more characters. In this section you will look at combining characters to form new words.
Box 1 Word formation
shàng 上 (to go to) + wǎng 网 (net) = shàngwǎng 上 网 (surf the internet)
xué 学 (to learn, school) + shēng 生 (new) = xuéshēng 学生 (pupil, student)
wăn 晚 (late) + shang 上 (up, above) = wănshang 晚上 (evening)
zhuān 专 (specialised) + yè 业 (course, industry) = zhuānyè 专业 (subject, major, special field)
yīng 英 (hero, Britain) + wén 文 (language, culture) = yīngwén 英文 (English language)
hàn 汉 (Han Chinese) + 字 zì (character) = hànzì 汉字 (Chinese character)
电 diàn (electricity, electric) + 视 shì (viewing, vision, sight) = 电视 diànshì (television).
Note that it literally means ‘electric viewing’!
字 in 名字 míngzi (name) is the same 字 as in 汉字 hànzì (Chinese character) except that here it is pronounced with the 4th tone.
Match up the Chinese words with their English equivalents. All the characters have been introduced, but they are in combination with different characters to form new meanings.
Drag each answer (above) into the correct slot (below)
Using the following two lists, match each numbered item with the correct letter.
zhōngwén míngzì 中文名字
kàn diànshì 看电视
wănshang jiàn 晚上见
dà xuéshēng 大学生
shī shēng 师生
c.teacher(s) and student(s)
f.see you in the evening
- 1 = b
- 2 = d
- 3 = a
- 4 = f
- 5 = e
- 6 = c
- 7 = g