Chinese words are made up of characters. These
characters have evolved from ancient pictographs.
This character means field. Can you see the plots of the farmer's field?
This one stands for mountain. It is easy to see the mountain peaks.
character for woman is harder to see. The rectangle
represents a baby bundled in a mother's lap.
Can you guess this one? This picture represents the heart. Each stroke shows the outline of a chamber of the heart.
When you combine two or more characters, you create a new 'meaning'.
If you take the character for field and draw it on top of the character for heart, you create the a new character that means to think. Farming was very important in China, and to know what to plant required a lot of thought and planning.
The first symbol means fire. The second means mountain. Add them together and what do you get? Volcano!
You recognize the character for woman. The woman is under a roof. These characters together mean peace. The Chinese people thought one woman in a house, not two, represented peace.
You can also change meanings by drawing more than one of the same character.
Fire Flame, Blaze
Tree Woods Forest, Jungle
|Combine two characters to make a new word.||Roof||Mountain||Child|
|Combine two characters to make a new word.||Field||Small|
China's number system is based on tens. By placing a number after the number ten, hundred, or thousand, you add. For instance, take the character for seven and put it after the character for ten like this and it means 10 + 7, or 17. By placing a number before the ten, hundred, or thousand, you multiply. means 7 x 10, or 70.
The characters for hundred is , and for thousand is .
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