Getting started with Chinese 2
Getting started with Chinese 2

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Getting started with Chinese 2

12 Head components

Head components, also known as ‘radicals’, offer associated meanings to words. Many characters share the same head component.

Table 6 Head components and

Head component Meaning association Meaning association Examples
sun, time rì zì páng 日字旁 míng 明 ( 日+ yuè 月= bright)
water sān diăn shuĭ 三点水 hàn 汉 (氵+ 又= Han Chinese)

As the table shows, the characters that contain the ‘sun head component’ () normally have meanings associated with the sun, time or light. For example, zăo means ‘morning’ and it has got the ‘sun head component’ on the top part. One can interpret that as the sun has risen. is also an independent character as in xīngqīrì 星期日(Sunday).

The characters that contain the ‘water head component’ (氵) usually have something to do with water. The character hàn (now refers to Han Chinese) originally referred to a river.

Note that this head component is not an independent character but only a building block in forming characters.

Activity 12

Read through the note on head components , then go through the characters you have learned so far or check a dictionary and find three more characters that contain the head component and give their English meaning.

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Can you find the English meaning of the following two characters that contain ?

Use a dictionary and write down their Pinyin and their English meanings.

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Answer

  1. Jiāng 江--river
  2. hǎi 海—sea
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