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Why characters

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ALTE DOCUMENTE

VOCABULARY
PRESENT TENSE
Whose discipline? Some critical reflections on linguistic pragmatics*
Purpose
Spelling rules
Auxiliary Modal verbs
TIMPURILE MODULUI INDICATIV
Written versus spoken English
Exercises
Would


Why characters?

Why Chinese writing has not been replaced by some kind of alphabetic system yet, limiting the use of characters to the art of calligraphy? The reason why Chinese-speakers still use a writing system where one is forced to memorize thousands of symbols is not merely a tribute to their history and traditions, nor to artistic beauty; it's rather the unique nature of Chinese language itself that makes alternative systems unfit.

First of all, Chinese is not alphabetic but syllabic. Hindi is an example of a syllabic language that uses a few tens of symbols - only twice Western alphabets - but while it's still possible to understand an Indian word in Latin letters, one can only try to guess the meaning of a transcribed Chinese word, in spite of the fact that so-called Mandarin Chinese has more than 400 different syllables. The problem is, words are often composed of only one syllable. While classical Chinese was almost completely monosyllabic, polisyllables are becoming more and more common in modern Chinese. The average number of syllables in a word, however, is two; still too low to allow a precise individuation of a word's meaning by its transcription.




In spoken Chinese the problem is overcome by the context and by the use of five different tones, but an isolated syllable can be actually misunderstood in spoken language, too. Characters, on the contrary, are impossible to misunderstood, and that is why they have always been a unifying factor among speakers of different dialects or languages, such as Cantonese, Korean and Japanese.
By now, the difference between writing the character ("middle") and the correspondent transcription zhong should be clear, because while the former is immediately recognizable among 50.000 some symbols, the latter could well be meaning, for instance, "clock" () or "loyal" (), each of them pronounced exactly the same.

Transcribing characters

So is it transcription useless? Actually, it is on of the easiest ways to memorize characters and their pronounciation, because it codifies a huge range of sounds that are only slightly different to a Western ear. The People's Republic of China promotes the diffusion of "pinyin" transcription, an alphabet of 26 letters, the same of the English alphabet, but outside China a different transcription is still widely used, especially for classical Chinese: the so-called "Wade-Giles" system. The latter makes it easier to guess the correct pronounciation of syllables... but once you have learned the few rules of pinyin you will hate it.
A few examples of the differences among these two systems:

Character

Wade-Giles

Pinyin

chih

zhi

hsien

xian

ts'ao

cao

There are other systems, such as the one used in France, which is similar to Wade-Giles, and the Chinese Phonetic Script ( zhuyin zimu), which uses special symbols. Of course we will use the pinyin transcription for the characters we'll present.

Traditional and simplified characters

Chinese writing has actually undergone some kind of modernization. You may have noticed that Taiwanese and emigrants use different characters from continental Chinese; the reason why is that people outside China still use traditional characters ( fanti zi). In the Sixties the government of the People's Republic of China, on the contrary, decided to simplify most characters and therefore reduce the number of strokes that compose them. Mathews' Chinese-English Dictionary, published in 1931, contains characters of up to 28 strokes, while the majority of characters can be written nowadays with no more than ten strokes.
Here we are with three examples:

became

guo (country)

became

ma (horse)

became

ti (body)

In the following tutorial we will learn simplified characters ( jianti zi)... but who knows? Maybe you'll have the chance to know more on traditional ones in future pages on classical and medieval Chinese...

The origin of Chinese writing is commonly placed around the XIV century b.C., around 3400 years ago. The first real "characters" are those found on the bones used for divination under the Shang and Zhou dynasties, which form the so-called jiagu wen ( ). On the right, an example of oracular inscription on ox bone. The study of this language began at the beginning of this century, but hundreds of symbols among the 4500 found on oracular bones haven't been translated yet. The following phase in the evolution of Chinese characters is represented by the symbols encarved on bronze vessels from the Zhou dynasty onward (XI century b.C), a writing known as jin wen ( ). Characters began to be written with brush and ink around the V-IV century b.C., first on wood, bamboo or silk. The latter was still used also after paper substituted wood tablets.

The need for a codified writing brought to the creation of many different styles that substituted one another century after century. The first was the da zhuan or Big Seal style ( ), used from the VIII century b.C. The xiao zhuan ( ), Small Seal, was created by the Prime Minister of the first Chinese emperor. It was substituted by li shu ( ), Administrative Style, a far easier and clearer writing that marked a turning-point in the development of modern characters, now more and more abstract and far from the original pictographs. This trend continued with kai shu ( ) or Exemplar Style (on the left), created during the Han dynasty. Cao shu ( ) or Cursive was also born under the Han dynasty, around the I century c.e.

The evolution of the character qu (to go) is illustrated below, from oracular bones to inscriptions on bronze, to Small Seal style, Administrative Style, Exemplar Style and Cursive. The original pictograph showed a man going out of his cave.
Modern characters resemble those written in Exemplar Style.

Far from being complicated drawings, Chinese characters are made out of simple single strokes, all of them variations of only eight basic ones. All strokes have their own name and are written according to a few rules. It's very important to learn to recognize them, since the number of strokes in a character is often the easiest way to find it in an index... but this will become clear after learning radicals and the use of dictionaries.

The following are the first six strokes, the fundamental ones:

heng

horizontal stroke
(written from left to right)

as in the cha 111x239b racter

yi (one)

shu

vertical stroke
(written from top to bottom)

as in the cha 111x239b racter

shi (ten)

pie

down stroke to the left
(written from top right to bottom left)

as in the cha 111x239b racter

ba (eight)

na

down stroke to the right
(written from top left to bottom right)

as in the cha 111x239b racter

ru (to enter)

dian

dot
(written from top to bottom right or left)

as in the cha 111x239b racter

liu (six)

ti

upward stroke
(written from bottom left to top right)

as in the cha 111x239b racter

ba (to grasp)

The last two strokes have several different variations. The first group is composed by five strokes with a hook:

henggou

horizontal stroke with a hook

as in the cha 111x239b racter

zi (character)

shugou

vertical stroke with a hook

as in the cha 111x239b racter

xiao (small)

wangou

bending stroke with a hook

as in the cha 111x239b racter

gou (dog)

xiegou

slant stroke with a hook

as in the cha 111x239b racter

wo (I, me)

pinggou

level bending stroke with a hook

as in the cha 111x239b racter

wang (to forget)

And the following by two single strokes with a turn:

shuzhe

vertical stroke with a horizontal turn to the right

as in the cha 111x239b racter

yi (doctor, medicine)

hengzhe

horizontal stroke with a vertical turn

as in the cha 111x239b racter

kou (mouth)

Combined strokes are made out of basic ones. The following are a few examples:

shuwangou

vertical stroke combined with a level bending stroke with a hook

as in the cha 111x239b racter

ye (also)

piedian

down stroke to the left combined with a dot

as in the cha 111x239b racter

nu (woman)

shuzhezhegou

vertical stroke with a double turn and a hook

as in the cha 111x239b racter

ma (horse)

If a character can be compared to a word in alphabetic languages, then strokes are like letters... learning them is the key to memorize characters. And then, characters don't only need to be correct, they should also be as beautiful and balanced as possible. It is therefore necessary to copy the single strokes many times (be it with a brush or, much easier, with a pen) to memorize their shape and thickness.

The way strokes are combined into characters involves learning a few rules on stroke order; this will be the goal of our next lesson.

Strokes are combined together according to a few fixed rules (and to several exceptions!). Learn these rules, because they're of great help for memorizing characters. They are also fundamental in case you need to recognize the first stroke of a character, but we'll talk about that again.

Strokes at the top before those at the bottom

The character


san (three)

is written this way:

The character


tian (heaven)

is written this way:

Strokes to the left before those to the right.

The character


men (door)

is written this way:

The character


hua (to change)

is written this way:

Containing strokes before contained ones

The character


si (four)

is written this way:

The sealing horizontal stroke must be written last ("close the door after you have entered the room")

The character


yue (moon)

is written this way:

But:

  • When there aren't enclosing strokes at the top of the character, enclosed strokes are written first:

The character


zhe (this)

is written this way:

Vertical stroke in the middle before those on both sides or at the bottom.

The character


shui (water)

is written this way:

The character


shan (mountain)

is written this way:

But:

  • If it crosses other strokes the vertical stroke in the middle should be written last:

The character


zhong (middle)

is written this way:

The fundamental rules - from top to bottom and from left to right - are easily understandable, since they are used in Western writings, too. The others on the contrary need a few exercise. Be sure to learn from the beginning the correct way each different character should be written; otherwise you may find yourself repeating the same mistakes over and over without realizing it, especially when you'll know hundreds of characters

All characters contain a particular component called "radical" or "side". These elements were once characters themselves, but some are no longer recognizable as such. Learning the radicals helps to categorize and memorize characters; the presence of a certain radical can even suggest the meaning of the whole character, which often relates to the original form of the radical. On the other hand, the non-radical component of the character often suggests its pronounciation, or viceversa.
Chinese dictionaries contain more than 200 radicals, but you will easily memorize the most common ones. In the following lessons we'll present 60 radicals, each of them followed by three characters that contain them, by compounds and notes on their use.
Please note that the shape of a radical changes according to its position in the character, and that the same radical could well be found at the top of a character and on the left side of another: our examples couldn't always show all of the possibilities. As for the pinyin transcription, we didn't put the tones (pronounciation doesn't really concern us by now) nor the umlauts that certain syllables have.

Radicals

Original
characters

Pinyin

yan

dao

ren

Meaning

word

knife

man

Examples

leng
cold
bing
ice
xi
to practise

jing
capital
di
emperor
xuan
obscure

shuo
to talk
qing
to request
yu
language

dao
to arrive
jian
sword
kan
to publish

xiu
to stop
fo
Buddha
xian
Immortal

Compounds


lengyin
cold drinks

bingdong
to freeze

xiguan
to get used to


Beijing
Peking

huangdi
emperor

xuanmiao
marvellous


shuo hua
to speak

qing wen
may I ask...

yuyan
language


daolai
arrival

jianbing
handle of a sword

yuekan
monthly publication


xiuxi
to rest

fojing
Buddhist scripture

xiannu
female immortal

The first radical is called the "two drops of water"; it usually appears in characters that have to do with coldness. It's placed at the left side of characters.

This radical always stays on top of characters.

This radical is called "speech", and it appears at the left side of characters that have to do with language.

The original form of the "knife" is also a radical; it's found at the bottom of characters, as in the first of the following. The second character shows a third form of this radical (placed on top):

fen

to divide

zheng

to argue

The fifth radical is called the "standing person", and is always placed at the left side of characters. The character it comes from can also be used as a radical; in that case it always stays on top, as in the following character:

zhong

crowd

Radicals

Original
characters

Pinyin

er

shui

xin

guang

Meaning

ear

water

heart

broad

Examples

yang
sun
xian
limit
dui
team

jiu
spirit
you
oil
sha
sand

guai
strange
hui
to regret
kuai
quick

miao
temple
chuang
bed
ting
court

gong
palace
ke
guest
bao
treasure

Compounds


taiyang
sun

xiandu
limit

duizhang
team leader


baijiu
white spirit

youhua
oil painting

dousha
bean paste


qiguai
strange

huihen
to regret

kuaile
happy


simiao
temple

chuangdan
sheet

jiating
family


huanggong
imperial palace

keqi
polite

lingbao
Nouminous Treasure

The first radical is called the "ear", and it can stay at the left side or at the right side of characters.

This radical is called "three drops of water", symbolizes flowing water and occurs on the left of characters. Its original form is also a radical; in the following character is placed at the bottom but its position is not fixed:

quan

spring, fountain

The original form of the "heart" is also radical, and is always placed at the bottom, as in the following character:

si

thought

This radical is called "the covering top" and it always occurs on top. Characters with this radical are often related to the idea of house.

Radicals

Original
characters

Pinyin

men

zou

tu

da

Meaning

door

to walk

soil

big

Examples



jian
space in between
wen
to ask
xian
leisure

jin
to enter
yuan
far
mi
to be lost

di
earth
ta
pagoda
qiang
wall

cao
grass
hua
flower
ping
apple

tai
greatest
kua
to exaggerate
mei
beautiful

Compounds


shijian
time

wenti
question

xianhua
gossip


jinbu
to improve

yuanzu
excursion

mixin
superstition


difang
place

dengta
lighthouse

qiangbi
wall


caoshu
grass writing, cursive

xuehua
snowflakes

pingguo
apple


taitai
madame

kuakou
to boast

meili
pretty

The original form of this radical is also a radical, as in the following character:

chao

to exceed

The original form of the "soil" is also radical, and is always placed at the bottom, as in the following characters:

chen

dust

zuo

to sit

Radicals

Original
characters

Pinyin

shou

kou

shan

Meaning

hand

mouth

mountain

Examples

da
to hit
zhua
to seize
ti
to carry

jiao
to shout, to call
tan
to sigh
ting
to listen

guo
country
tu
drawing
quan
circle, to enclose

dao
island
ling
mountain ridge
feng
peak

hang
line
hen
very
de
virtue

Compounds


dakai
open

zhuazhu
to catch

tigao
to raise


jiaohan
to shout

tanci
exclamation

tingzhong
audience, listeners


guoji
international

ditu
map

quanzi
circle, ring


daoyu
islands

shanling
mountain ridge

shanfeng
mountain peak


yinhang
bank

hen duo
very much

daode
ethics

The original form of the "hand" is also a radical, placed at the bottom or on the left:

na

to hold, to take

bai

to worship, to respect

The "mouth" is not always placed on the left of characters, as in the following examples:

ming

name

shi

history

This radical also stays on top or at the bottom of characters:

sui

year

yue

high mountain

Radicals

Original
characters

Pinyin

shi

shi

quan

nu

zi

Meaning

corpse

food

dog

woman

son

Examples

wei
tail
ju
to dwell
zhan
to spread

fan
cooked rice
jiao
dumpling
e
hungry

gou
dog
mao
cat
zhu
pig

nai
breast, milk
fu
woman, wife
gu
aunt

sun
grandson
gu
lonely
hai
child

Compounds


weisui
to tail behind, to follow

jumin
resident, inhabitant

fazhan
to develop


fandian
hotel, restaurant

jiaozi
ravioli

esi
to starve


goupi
bullshit, nonsense

maojiao
mewing

zhurou
pork


nainai
grandmother

furen
married woman

guniang
girl


Sun Zhongshan
Sun Yat-sen

guer
orphan

haizi
child

The original form of the "dog" is also a radical, as in the following character:

ku

to cry

This radical can also be found at the bottom of characters:

qi

wife

The "son" is not always placed on the left of characters, as in the following example:

xiao

filial piety

Radicals

Original
characters

Pinyin

ma

si

huo

fang

hu

Meaning

horse

silk

fire

square

door

Examples

qu
to drive
tuo
camel
pian
to deceive

hong
red
zhi
paper
xi
thin, delicate

lie
violent
re
hot
zhao
to shine, to reflect

fang
to put
lu
to travel
zu
nationality

jian
shoulder
fang
house, room
bian
flat

Compounds


quzhu
to expel

tuobei
hunchback

qipian
to cheat


kouhong
lipstick

zhipai
playing cards

zixi
audience, listeners


menglie
fierce, violent

renao
lively

zhaoxiang
to photograph


jiefang
to liberate

luyou
to travel

minzu
nationality


jianbang
shoulder

fangzu
rent

biandan
shoulder pole

The "horse" is also found at the bottom of characters, as in the following:

ma

to curse

The original form of the "fire" is also a radical, placed on the left of characters, as in the following examples:

deng

lamp

yan

smoke

This radical also stays at the bottom of characters:

pang

side

Radicals

Original
characters

Pinyin

shi

yu

mu

che

ri

Meaning

to show

jade

tree

vehicle

sun, day

Examples

li
rite
shen
deity, spirit
zu
ancestor

wang
king
zhu
bead
qiu
ball, globe

lin
forest
song
pine
tao
peach

lun
wheel
zhuan
to turn
liang
classifier
for vehicles

shi
time
ming
light
wan
evening, late

Compounds


limao
courtesy

shenhua
mythology

zuguo
motherland


wangguo
kingdom

zhenzhu
pearl

wangqiu
tennis


linmu
woods

songshu
pine tree

taohua
peach blossom


guanglun
halo

zhuanhua
to transform

san liang qiche
three cars


xiaoshi
hour

mingbai
to understand

wanshang
evening

The original form of this radical is also a radical, found at the bottom of characters:

jin

to forbid

The "tree" also stays on top or at the bottom of characters, as in the following examples:

li

plum

zhuo

table

This radical is not always found on the left side of characters:

xing

star

chun

spring

Radicals

Original
characters

Pinyin

bei

jian

niu

yue - rou

Meaning

shellfish





to see

ox

moon - flesh, meat

Examples

fu
to carry, to bear
yuan
employee
cai
wealth

guan
to watch
gui
regulation
jue
to feel, to awake

wu
thing
mu
herd
te
special

shou
to receive
di
enemy
jiao
to teach

gan
liver
peng
friend
tui
leg

Compounds


fuze
be responsible for

fuwuyuan
waiter

caizheng
finance


guannian
concept

guilu
law

ganjue
to feel


dongwu
animal

muchang
pasture land

tedian
characteristic


shouhuo
to harvest

didui
hostile

daojiao
daojiao


gandan
sincerity

pengyou
friend

huotui
ham

Radicals

Original
characters

Pinyin

qian

yi

shi

mu

Meaning

to owe

sickness

clothes

stone

eye

Examples

ci
sequence, next
huan
joyfully
kuan
a sum of money

bing
sick, disease
ji
illness, pain
teng
to ache

bu
to mend
xiu
sleeve
ku
trousers

sha
sand, grit
ying
hard
bi
emerald

mei
eyebrow
yan
eye
shui
to sleep

Compounds


cixu
order

huanying
welcome

fukuan
to pay


shengbing
to fall ill

jiku
sufferings

touteng
headache


buchang
to compensate

lingxiu
leader

kucha
underpants


shazhi
sand paper

yingzuo
hard seat

bilu
dark green


meimao
eyebrow

yanjing
eyeglasses

shuijiao
to sleep

Radicals

Original
characters

Pinyin

tian

jin

he

niao

yang

Meaning

field

metal, gold

cereal

bird

sheep

Examples

dian
electricity
bei
to prepare
liu
to leave

zhen
needle
qian
money
guo
pot, pan

si
private
zhong
seed, type
qiu
autumn

ji
chicken
ya
crow
ya
duck

yang
to raise, to grow
xian
to admire, to envy
qun
crowd, group

Compounds


dianshi
television

zhunbei
to prepare

liuxue
to study abroad


zhenji
injection

qianbao
wallet

huoguo
hot pot


sichan
private property

fenzhong
minute

chunqiu
Springs and Autumns


jidan
egg

wuya
crow

yarong
duck's down


yangsheng
to preserve one's health

xianmu
to admire

qunzhong
the masses

Radicals

Original
characters

Pinyin

mi

zhou

chong

zhu

yu

Meaning

rice

boat

insect

bamboo

feather

Examples

fen
powder
cu
thick
tang
sugar

hang
to navigate
ban
kind, way
chuan
boat, ship

wen
mosquito
feng
bee, wasp
die
butterfly

fu
symbol, talisman
bi
pen
zhu
to build

chi
wing
weng
old man
fan
to turn

Compounds


mianfen
flour

cucao
rough

baitang
refined sugar


hangkong
aviation

yiban
general, common

shangchuan
to embark


wenzi
mosquito

fengmi
honey

hudie
butterfly


yinfu
musical notes

qianbi
pencil

jianzhu
to build


chibang
wing

fanyi
to translate

Radicals

Original
characters

Pinyin

zu

yu

yu

gu

gui

Meaning

foot

rain

fish

bone

demon

Examples

pao
to run
lu
road
tiao
to jump

xue
snow
lei
thunder
xu
to need

lu
dull, stupid
xian
fresh, tasty
e
crocodile

hai
skeleton
sui
marrow
du
--

kui
chief, head
hun
hun soul
mo
evil spirit

Compounds


paoxie
running shoes

lubiao
road sign

tiaozao
flea


xiaxue
to snow

leiting
thunderclap

xuyao
to need


Lu Xun
Lu Xun

xianhuo
fresh goods

eyu
crocodile


haigu
human bones

jisui
spinal cord

dulou
skull


kuishou
outstanding

hunpo
one's souls

moli
magic power

By alphabetical order
The easiest way to find a character in a dictionary is the Western one: by alphabetical order. Of course, you will need to know the pinyin (or Wade-Giles, depending on the dictionary) transcription for your character, and possibly its tone - take a look at how many characters are there under the syllable ji or shi. In most dictionaries characters are ordered by alphabet and by tone, but not all of them... the notorious Mathew's Chinese-English Dictionary is by alphabet (though a weird alphabet, with, for instance, sung coming before sha), but not by tone.
In the end, the more characters you know, the faster you will find them on a dictionary, also because experience will help you "guess" the pronounciation of characters you've never seen by the elements that compose them - even though this is not a precise method, on the contrary! A couple of examples:

is pronounced jiao like its component

But:

is pronounced chong while its component

is pronounced zong

By radical
What you must learn is to find characters by radical (what have we learned them for?). First you need to identify the radical in a character, which is most times easy. Let's try to find a character with a radical we didn't learn in the tutorial:

1. This is the character we have to find:

2. Let's find its radical. It's at the top:

3. This radical is composed of one stroke.
We can find it in the first table (detail);
it is radical number 4 of this dictionary.

4. The rest of the character
is composed of three strokes:

5. In the second table we will look for
characters with radical number 4 plus three strokes:

Don't worry; it's easier than it seems. A little practise and you will immediately understand where the radical is. There are, however, a few difficult radicals; you better learn some characters once for all, because finding them could be really hard. They're usually very common and composed of few strokes. A couple of examples:

chang (long)

also has radical number 4:

chu (to exit)

has radical number 3:

By number of strokes
This is a very useful method in case you can't find the radical of a character, but not every dictionary allow you to use it.

1. This is the character we have to find:

2. It is composed of 12 strokes
(shier hua in Chinese);
let's find the right page:

3. The first two strokes of this character are:

4. So we'll look for this character here:

The "corners"

The last method is a very difficult one... According to it, the different shapes of strokes are given a number from 0 to 9:

Characters are then classified after the number of their four corners (and according to many rules), as in the following example:

In the second table we can now find our character:

And that's all. Hope you had some fun throughout this tutorial!

This page lists the characters used as examples in the 12 lessons on the radicals.

Character

Pinyin

Meaning

ban

kind, way

bao

treasure

bei

to prepare

bi

pen

bi

emerald

bian

flat

bing

ice

bing

sick, disease

bu

to mend

cai

wealth

cao

grass

chi

wing

chuan

boat, ship

chuang

bed

ci

sequence, next

cu

thick

da

to hit



dao

island

dao

to arrive

de

virtue

di

emperor

di

earth

di

enemy

dian

electricity

die

butterfly

du

dui

team

e

hungry

e

crocodile

fan

cooked rice

fan

to turn

fang

room

fang

to put

fen

powder

feng

peak

feng

bee

fo

Buddha

fu

woman, wife

fu

symbol, talisman

fu

to carry, to bear

gan

liver

gong

palace

gou

dog

gu

aunt

gu

lonely

guai

strange

guan

to watch

gui

regulation

guo

country

guo

pot, pan

hai

child

hai

skeleton

hang

line

hang

to navigate

hen

very

hua

flower

huan

joyfully

hui

to regret

hun

hun soul

Character

Pinyin

Meaning

ji

illness, pain

ji

chicken

jian

shoulder

jian

space in between

jian

sword

jiao

to teach

jiao

to shout

jin

to enter

jing

capital

jiu

spirit

ju

to dwell

jue

to feel, to awake

kan

to publish

ke

guest

ku

trousers

kua

to exaggerate

kuai

quick

kuan

a sum of money

kui

chief, head

lei

thunder

leng

cold

li

rite

liang

classifier for vehicles

lie

violent

lin

forest

ling

mountain ridge

lu

road

lu

to travel

lu

dull, stupid

lun

wheel

mao

cat

mei

beautiful

mei

eyebrow

mi

to be lost

miao

temple

ming

light

mo

demon

mu

herd

nai

breast, milk

pao

to run

peng

friend

pian

to deceive

ping

apple

qian

money

qiang

wall

qing

to request

qiu

ball, globe

qiu

autumn

qu

to drive

quan

circle, to enclose

qun

crowd, group

re

hot

sha

sand

sha

sand, grit

shen

deity, spirit

shi

time

shou

to receive

shui

to sleep

shuo

to talk

Character

Pinyin

Meaning

si

private

song

pine

sui

marrow

sun

grandson

ta

pagoda

tai

greatest

tan

to sigh

tang

sugar

tao

peach

te

special

teng

to ache

ti

to carry

tiao

to jump

ting

to listen

ting

court

tu

drawing

tui

leg

tuo

camel

wan

evening, late

wang

king

wei

tail

wen

to ask

wen

mosquito

weng

old man

wu

thing

xi

to practise

xi

thin, delicate

xian

Immortal

xian

limit

xian

leisure

xian

fresh, tasty

xian

to admire, to envy

xiu

to stop

xiu

sleeve

xu

to need

xuan

obscure

xue

snow

ya

crow

ya

duck

yan

eye

yang

sun

yang

to raise, to grow

ying

hard

you

oil

yu

language

yuan

far

yuan

employee

zhan

to spread

zhao

to shine, to reflect

zhen

needle

zhi

paper

zhong

seed, type

zhu

bead

zhu

pig

zhu

to build

zhua

to seize

zhuan

to turn

zu

nationality

zu

ancestor










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