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Mandarin Chinese I | 中文课程1

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In this lesson, you will become familiar with Chinese radicals. English words are organized by an alphabet. Chinese words are often classified according to their radicals. There are 214 radicals. These are usually sorted by the number of strokes. For example, comes before .

Learning objectives

  • Demonstrate the ability to identify the groups that make up the basic Chinese radicals.
  • Demonstrate the ability to recognize the basic radicals and their meanings.

Understanding radicals

Every Chinese character has a radical or is itself a radical. There are 214 radicals today. Some of them are under debate to be removed.

For example, is the character for woman. It is also the radical for many female things: 姐姐 = little sister, 妈妈 = mamma, etc.

Radicals are used to tell something about the meaning of the character, such as is made of metal, is tall, etc.

Radicals are also used to look up characters in a dictionary. To find a character you look for the radical in a radical list. When you have found your radical you count the remaining number of strokes in the character. With this information it is now possible to find the character.

Common radicals

Listed below are some common Chinese radicals:

Group: People

Radical English Meaning Examples
人 亻 Man 你 今
Power 动(動)加
Mouth 吃可右哭和
Woman 好 妻
心 忄  Heart 忙念爱(愛) 恭
扌 手 Hand 把拿拜才

Group: Animal

Radical English Meaning Examples
牜 牛 Ox 物 犀
犭犬 Dog 狗 伏
Insect 蚊蜜蚀(蝕)
马(馬) Horse 骑(騎)冯(馮)驾(駕)
鱼(魚) Fish 鲜(鮮)鲁(魯)鲨(鯊)
鸟 (鳥) Bird 鸣(鳴)鸵

Group: Actions

Radical English Meaning Examples
Left Step 很 往
辶(辵) Run and Stop 这(這)过(過)

Group: Home

Radical English Meaning Examples
刂 刀 Knife 别 到 分
Roof 家 宝
衤衣 Clothing 衫 裳 裹