Chinese Characters
Chinese

Chinese Characters: Most commonly used Chinese Characters

There are over 50,000 Chinese characters, many of which have multiple meanings. To read and write in Chinese, you need to know at least 2,000 characters. Luckily, many online tools can help you learn Chinese characters.

 In this article, we will discuss the history and meaning of some of the most common Chinese characters. The first thing you need to know is how to identify these characters ( which we will discuss later in this article).  But first, let us talk about what tool is best for studying Chinese online. 

italki is an online language learning tool that permits students and language enthusiasts to benefit from affordable language tools. italki is safe, reliable, and resourceful. It is a safe space for language professionals and students. In essence, italki provides you with the creative freedom you need to learn Chinese online.

If you are starting your language journey, italki connects you instantly with an online Chinese tutor once you get connected. Their services are available for both iOS and Android devices. All you need to do is log in through the official italki website. 

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The nature of Chinese characters 

Chinese characters are not alphabetical. They are pictographs, meaning that each character is a picture that represents a word or concept. For example, the symbol for “sun” is 日, a picture of the sun. The character for “moon” is 月, a picture of the moon.

There are four main types of Chinese characters:

  • Pictographs

These characters represent concrete objects and are based on pictures. These pictures are then used in everyday day life in describing, writing, and producing. 

  • Ideographs

Ideographs are characters that represent abstract concepts and are often composed of two or more photographs. 

  • Phonetic compounds

Phonetic characters include a phonetic element to indicate pronunciation, in addition to a semantic part that tells meaning. 

  • Derivative characters

These characters are created by adding a stroke to an existing character to make a new word. In other words, derivative characters let you be a little more creative in writing Chinese. 

Some of the most commonly used Chinese characters 

In our everyday life, there are words and phrases we use. Places we frequent. Habits we are accustomed to. Well, it is no different when it comes to language. In the coming section of this article, we will be talking about some of the frequently used Chinese characters and what they mean. Some of the most common Chinese characters include:

  • 人 (rén)

This character means “person” and is composed of two parts: 土, which represents the earth, and 大, which means “big.”

  • 日 (rì)

The ri character means “sun” and comprises three parts: 月, which represents the moon, 勿, which means “not,” and 曰, which represents the sun rising.

  • 月 (yuè)

This character is called yuè, and it means “moon” and is composed of three parts: 日, which represents the sun, 勿, which means “not,” and 曰, which represents the moon rising.

  • 天 (tiān)

 The tiān character stands for “sky” or “heaven.” It comprises two parts: 月, which represents the moon, and 土, the earth.

  • 地 (dì)

The dì character means “earth” or “ground.” It comprises two parts: 大, which means “big,” and 土, representing the earth.

  • 火 (huǒ)

This character means “fire.” It is composed of two parts: 灬, which represents fire, and 卜, which represents divination.

  • 水 (shuǐ)

 The shuî character means “water.” It comprises three parts: 月, which represents the moon, 勿, which means “not,” and 曰, which represents the sun rising.

  • 金 (jīn)

The jīn character means “gold” or “metal.” And it is composed of two parts: 钅, which represents metal, and 今, which means “now.”

  • 木 (mù)

This character means “wood.” It comprises two parts: 木, which represents a tree, and 王, which represents a king.

  • 土 (tǔ)

This Chinese character means “earth” or “soil.” It comprises two parts: 土, which represents the earth, and 大, which means “big.

  • 我 (wǒ) 

This character means “I” or “me.”  This is a significant character to know, as it is used often when writing in Chinese. To pronounce 我 correctly, you should say “wǒ” with a rising intonation.

  • 你 (nǐ)

This Chinese character means “you.” This character is also used frequently in Chinese, so it is essential to know how to pronounce it correctly. To pronounce 你 correctly, you should say “nǐ” with a falling intonation.

  • 爱 (ài)

The ài character is the next on our list. This character means “love,” pronounced “ài.”

  • 是 (shì)

Next, we have the shì character, which means “to be.”  This character is pronounced, “shì.”

  • 不 (bú)

This character means “no” or “not.”  To pronounce this character correctly, you should say “bú” with a rising intonation.

  • 个 (gè) 

Gè is the next character on our list. This character means “individual” or “a piece,”  and it is pronounced “gè.”

  • 在 (zài)

The zài is a peculiar Chinese character, and it means”to exist” or “to be located.” To pronounce this character correctly, you should say “zài” with a falling intonation.

  • 他 (tā)

The next character on our list is the tā character which means “he” or “him”. To pronounce this character correctly, you should say “tā” with a rising intonation.

  • 现在 (xiànzài)

Xiànzài is the next character on our list. This character means “now”, pronounced “xiànzài”.

  • 来 (lái) 

This character means “to come”, and it is pronounced “lái”.

  • 学习 (xuéxí) 

the eleventh character on our list. This character means “to study”, pronounced “xuéxí”.

  • 着 (zhe)

Zhe is the 22nd character on our list. This character means “to wear” or “to be dressed in”, and it is pronounced “zhe”.

  • 中国 (Zhōngguó) 

This is the twenty-third character on our list. This character means “China”, pronounced “Zhōngguó”.

  • 会 (huì) 

Huì is the next Chinese character on our list. This character means “(will) be able to” or “(can)”, and it is pronounced “huì”.

  • 说 (shuō)

This character means “to speak” or “to say”. It is pronounced “shuō”.

  • 上 (shàng) 

This Chinese character means “on top of” or “above”, and it is pronounced “shàng”.

  • 下 (xià)

the seventeenth character on our list. This character means “under” or “(going) down”, and it is pronounced “xià”.

  • 就 (jiù)

The jiù is the next character on our list. This Chinese character means “(already)”, and it is pronounced “jiù”. 

  • 大 (dà)

The next Chinese character on our list is the dà and which means “(to be) big”. It is pronounced “dà”.

  • 太 (tài)

The tài is a Chinese character that translates as “(to be) too much” or “very”. Its pronunciation is “tài”.

  • 这 (zhè)

The next Chinese character we are going to be talking about is zhè, which means “this”. To pronounce it correctly, you should say “zhè” with a rising intonation.

  • 那 (nà)

This Chinese character means “that”. To pronounce it correctly, you should say “nà” with a falling intonation.

  • 要 (yào)

 The next Chinese character on our list means “(to want) to”, and it is pronounced “yào”.

  • 也 (yě)

This Chinese character. This character means “also”, pronounced “yě”.

  • 老师 (lǎoshī)

The next Chinese character means “teacher”. To pronounce this character correctly, you should say “lǎoshī” with a rising intonation.

  • 同学 (tóngxué)

Tóngxué is a Chinese character that represents “(class)mate”. Its pronunciation is “tóngxué”.

  • 孩子 (háizi)

 The next Chinese character on our list means “child”. To pronounce this character correctly, you should say “háizi” with a falling intonation.

  • 父母 (fùmǔ)

This Chinese character means “parents”. Its pronunciation is “fùmǔ”.

  • 女儿 (nǚ’ér)

The next Chinese character on our list means “daughter”. To pronounce this character correctly, you should say “nǚ’ér” with a rising intonation.

  • 只 (zhī)

Next on our list is the zhī. This is the last Chinese character on our list, for now, means “only”, and it is pronounced “zhī”.

Conclusion 

Chinese can be such an interesting yet intricate language to learn. Choosing to do this means no escaping Chinese characters. To ease your learning process, we advise you to use an efficient learning tool. 

We recommend italki because it is reliable, offers qualified language professors, and above all, italki is safe. Connect with italki today and begin your language journey.

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