Thursday, June 10, 2010

Han4 Zi4

Chinese Characters

So, today in my Chinese lesson, my tutor and I started talking about the word "xin". It has two meanings: letter (i.e. mail); and to believe or trust in. I thought it was really cool how the same word used for believing or trusting in also means the piece of paper that you send in the mail. Assuming that "belief" was the first meaning of the word and "letter" came later on, it helps me to remember the different meanings of the word. Because in my mind, when you send a letter, you trust that it will arrive to its destination....But wait! It gets better.

We were specifically looking at the radicals within the character for "xin". The first radical is for "person/man". The second radical is for "words". On an obvious level, people write words onto paper and give them to others: men use words to write letters. In addition, my teacher and I thought it was really neat that when you trust a man's words, belief is the result. Also, we trust in the Son of Man's words and believe them to be true. Furthermore, the ultimate letter, from the ultimate "Man" is contained in a 66 volume book that we believe and trust in today after thousands of years.

These fun little "AHA!" moments when connections are made keep me curious and make me want to learn more Putonghua, instead of give up.

Chinese characters are tough...but they are also fascinating, beautiful, and full of insight.

I took this picture in Paris almost eleven months ago. I wish that there were cafes lining the streets in Shenyang. China has many advantages--but I do miss English libraries and large English book stores with espresso machines, jazz, and clearance rows. Right now, I'm almost ashamed to admit it, I'm reading "The DaVinci Code" just because there's nothing else to read! :)


1 comment:

  1. I have been learning the Japanese characters which originally came from the Chinese. :D It is hard, but really fun.