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Chinese Character Profiles

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Chinese characters have a long history, and have usually passed through several stages to the modern form. Understanding the history of Chinese characters can deepen our understanding of their meaning and their place in Chinese culture.

Ren - Person

The Mandarin Chinese character 人 (rén) shows the two legs and torso of a human body. Early forms of this character showed hands, feet and head, but this was gradually simplified to the present form.

Read more about rén...

Wo - I

The Mandarin Chinese character 我 (wǒ) shows a hand (手) holding a spear (戈). The hand radical 手 (shǒu) is used here in the form of 扌, a character which is always used in combination with other characters.

Read more about wǒ...

Jia - Home

The Mandarin Chinese character 家 (jiā) consists of two radicals – 豕(shǐ) and 宀 (miān).

Read more about jiā...

Ni - You

The Mandarin Chinese character 你 (nǐ) shows a crown or cover (冖) over the character which means “small” (小) clarified with the person character (人) which is drawn in this form: 亻.

Read more about nǐ...

Mu - Tree

The Mandarin Chinese character 木 (mù) is a radical as well as an independent character. It is a picture of a tree.

Read more about mù...

Zao - Morning

The Mandarin Chinese character zǎo 早 is a pictogram of the sun - 日 rì (radical #72) rising over a soldier’s helmet 十.

Read more about rì...

Hao - Good

The Mandarin Chinese character 好 (hǎo) consists of two radicals – 女 (nǔ) and 子 (zǐ).

Read more about hǎo...
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