字. November 2008

  • cǎo - grass; careless; hasty

    This is one of the first Chinese words I learnt (in the compound 草莓) but have real difficulty pronouncing it. The 'c' sound seems to completely escape me and it seems particularly difficult when followed by -ao. The character also caused me difficultly when trying to find the radical the first time; I knew it could be written 艹, but I didn't know it could be written 艸, and so has six strokes. The following is a little ditty written by Victoria for me to practise.

  • - man, husband; porter

    I have started to read (and to try to translate) some Japanese children's stories (日本童话), which are, as it happens, written in Chinese. I have just started 小熊午夫的故事, which I think translates as The Tale of Little Bear Wufu. I haven't got very far yet, all I know is that 午夫 is finding it too hot ("热死啦!").

    夫妇, meaning husband or wife, is in the first line of Harry Potter.

  • xuǎn - choose, elect

  • táng - hall

    Went for dinner in 食堂 today for the first time this term and so the first time in months. I have to go several more times in the next few weeks to get my money's worth. I came across '堂' recently in the Anki flash cards, in the compound 教堂 - not what I'd call essential vocab, but 堂 itself is handy.

    天堂 - paradise

  • - law

    This came up on the Anki flashcards - a tricky word for me to pronounce. This word later came up in multiple words on the Smart.fm Media courses.

    律师 - lǜshī - lawyer

  • gòu - buy

    We went to Bicester village today, so I thought I'd choose a shopping word, not that I actually bought anything there. I had learnt that shopping in Chinese was 买东西 (mǎi dōngxi - literally 'buying things'), but in searching my dictionary I found that there is another way of saying it:

    购物 - gòuwù

  • xié - shoes

    Well, after not buying anything in Bicester, I bought some shoes today because the laces in my current pair have almost worn through. 鞋 has come up on my flashcards and is in A Key to Chinese Speech and Writing.

  • yán - research; grind

    Had my lab's Away Day today and had to present my research, which went quite well. So today's 汉字 is research themed. I like how this word means both 'research' and 'grind', which often seem similar. It is also interesting that the radical is 石. I think it has something to do with an alchemical past, but that's just a guess.

    我是研究生.
    I'm a graduate student.