Chinese Character Drill #1: 我 你 好 再 見
In my first post on my Chinese learning adventure I discussed Pinyin at length. While Pinyin is a must for anyone who wants to learn Chinese, in the end Pinyin is merely a tool. To become a master of the Chinese character, you need to master a load of Chinese characters. Since there are a lot of characters out there, we better get started.
Mastering Chinese characters is mainly practice. You need to keep practicing drawing the characters until you’ve memorized the number of strokes, the form of each stroke and the stroke order. Some characters will be easier than others, the ones you end up using frequently will be quite easy to memorize. In fact, the first five characters are pretty easy to memorize for that exact reason.
The way how I decide on my character drills is hard to explain. In essence I pick the characters I want to learn. There is no deep thought behind the order of it.
A friendly reminder: The Chinese characters used on this website are Traditional Chinese characters, not simplified characters.
1. 我 (I; Me)
我 is the first Chinese character. It is the Chinese variant of the English personal pronoun ‘I’. The reading of this character is wǒ. Observant readers will notice I did not talk about the accents you see here. Those are accent indicate at what tone a syllable ought to be pronounced. A future post will deal with the topic of tones in Chinese as it is a very important.
2. 你 (You)
The next character is 你. This chinese character is the plain form of the English personal pronoun ‘You’. I call this the plain form as there is another character that has the same meaning, but is respectful. The reading of this character is nǐ. It forms an important expression with the next character.
3. 好 (Good; Well)
The third character is 好. This character means good in English. This is an easy character to understand, if you know a bit about Chinese culture. You see this character is created with 2 other characters: the character for woman (女) and the character for child (子). The chinese view a woman and a child together as good, thus the character where a woman and child stand next each other means good. This character is read as hǎo.
This character with the earlier character 你 forms another word. The word is 你好 (nǐhǎo) which is the basic greeting in Chinese akin to “hello”.
4. 再 (Again)
Next up is 再. This simple character means again. It is read as zài. There is little else to be said about this character except that it is used in another important expression with the fifth and last character of this post.
5. 見 (To see; To meet)
The last Chinese character of this post is 見. This is a verb and it means to see or to meet. The Chinese will have you believe you can see that this character represents an eye. I, however, just don’t see It. Perhaps I’m just too blind. is pronounced as jiàn.
This character with the earlier character 再 forms another word The word is 再見 (zàijiàn) which is the basic greeting in Chinese akin to “goodbye”.
So I will end this post with 再見!