字.

  • 寄生虫

    jìshēngchóng - parasite

    Despite doing my PhD on a parasite (Trypanosoma brucei), I've never previously wondered how to say parasite in Chinese. It initially seemed a strange word as I know 奇 as to send (a letter), but it also means to live in. 寄生 therefore means to live inside another organism or parasitism; 虫, though normally translated as insect, seems to mean any sort of unpleasent organism.

    那懒汉是他家的一个寄生虫。
    The lazy man was a parasite on his family.

  • 小心

    xiǎoxīn - take care

    This seems like a very simple, and in fact, when I first went to China and knew no Chinese, this was one of the few words I recognised (from Japanese). And yet, when Victoria used it (in the form 不小心 - accidentally) today, I didn't understand it.

    我不小心杀死了蜘蛛。
    I accidentally killed a spider.

  • liè - fiery, vehement; to die a martyr's death

    This word and the sentence below came up on my iKnow today, which seemed apt considering the week's events.

    烈火熊熊地燃烧着
    The blaze continued to burn violently.

  • 喜剧

    xǐjù - comedy

    I learnt this word from Victoria because she asked what I was doing whilst I was listening to comedy on the radio. It's strange that I didn't learn this word earlier given how much I like comedy.

    一般说来,我喜欢喜剧甚于悲剧。
    In general, I prefer a comedy to a tragedy.

  • 奇遇

    qíyù - adventure

    This is my word today because it's in the title of a story that Victoria sent me (木头奇遇记), and we will hopefully read together.

    他经历过各种奇遇。
    He has passed through various adventures.

  • 巫师

    wūshī - wizard

    This is my word for today because I started to read 哈利 波特, and was about to guess this word.

    你有那样的父母,你怎么可能不是巫师呢?

    With parents like yours, how could you not be a wizard?

  • yǎng - itch

    I picked this word because Victoria said she had been bitten by some insect and was very itchy, so I wanted to know how to say it.

    我的背上很痒。
    I' ve got an itch on my back.

  • 壁虎

    bìhǔ - gecko

    I learnt this word from John - it was an animal I hadn't learnt. I like the fact that it literally means 'wall tiger'. Chinese is such a poetic language. The sentence below is from JuKuu - it sounds like it's from a story:

    那只可怜的小壁虎比尔在当中。
    The poor little lizard, Bill, was in the middle.

  • 核桃

    hétao - walnut

    This word appeared in my iKnow today in the sentence below and by chance I used some walnuts in a banana cake, so it had to be my word for today. It could be translated literally as 'nuclear peach', but that would be quite a bad translation.

    核桃被压碎了。
    The walnuts have been crushed.

  • 礼节

    lǐjié - etiquette

    I came across this word today and recognised both characters, but not the word. This is partly because I can never remember the meaning of the second character (which, in turn, is partly because it has so many, and partly becaue I often confuse it with 带). It seemed like it might be a useful word one day.

    按照礼节你应该站起来接待客人。
    According to etiquette, you should stand up to meet a guest.