Saturday, January 24, 2009

Learn Chinese Characters (Components III)

This is the third and final post continued from

Component Learning and Analysis II

To get the full background you might/should also study

Kanji Lesson 1 for JapanesePod101 Students

Don't mind the "Kanji" word there. "Kanji" (Japanese) and "Hanzi" (Chinese) is identical for the purpose here: How to learn and remember Chinese Characters.

In the first parts we only looked at the seemingly complex character. Now the really easy two other characters. yǎn is short for eye, and according to the etymologists the character contains two components meaning eye.

The black component above is the standard character for eye. And below is a mirror image of an eye, still according to the experts.I agree that it is hard to "see" this, but we'll have to accept it for the time being. This component is very common so it's a very good idea to assign a keyword/label here. Since there is a very similar character ....... meaning "Good" with just one tiny "drop" making the difference. Let's assume it's so GOOD that a little tear trickles (upwards :-) ), then we could call the mirror eye "Dry Eye"? It's really up to you to assign labels/mnemonics to each component according to your own imagination and preferences.

Finally we have a REAL mirror/lens:
This is the simplified character for the full Kanji, traditional Hanziuses the full version of Metal/Gold as the left component in Mirror/Lens
So what's left is the rather peculiar component to the right:
This is make up by adding Person/Human legs to a Sound! Yes, it's a funny world, this.Finally, if we pull "sound" apart
we have the (gray) component derived from the character for To Stand etc. Below (black) might be seen as SUN, but it isn't. It is a mouth with tongue (in cheek). CompareThey are indeed easy to mix up when you don't see them side by side, but you can usually spot the longer shape of the sun.

Now time for do-it-yourself and practices. Copy the character below into, search and scroll down the page to see the stroke order animations. Write, write and write! Good luck!

眼 目 艮 良 金 音 立 日 曰

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