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Think like the Chinese think
Transcript of Think like the Chinese think
think like the the chinese think
Definition: Combining words in order to give names to new concepts or ideas, inventions, or nuances of sophistication.
Old Chinese: 20% compound words
Modern Chinese: 80% compound words
Compound words with two antonyms
Creating a new word by gluing two antonyms, or opposites together
Words related to " "
In the era of electricity, Chinese seized the word dian, which means electricity, and tacked other words onto it as names for new electric and digital inventions.
Straightforward translation of parts
(fu mu) father + mother = parents
Words related to " "
Similarly, character related to " "
(kai xin) open + heart = joyous
(fang xin) put in place + heart = set your mind at ease
(shang xin) wound + heart = heart broken
(re xin) hot + heart = warm-hearted, enthusiastic
Xin is related to thinking, temperament & feelings, so it appears in many feeling-related compound words
(kai guan) open + close = switch
two opposing forces connect or meld into each other and make up a greater whole
(hao huai) good + bad = quality
(dong xi) east + west = stuff, things
(zuo you) left + right = about, nearly
The observations from
are representative of the general picture in Chinese language. There are many compound words in Chinese with different formations.
(hu xi) exhale + inhale = breathe
(hao ai) tall + short = height
(da xiao) big + small = size
(duo shao) many + few = how many
(dian hua) electric + speech = telephone
(dian nao) electric + brain = computer
(dian shi) electric + view = TV
(dian ti) electric + stairs = elevator
(dian yin) electric + shadow = movie
(dian bao) electric + report = telegram
(dian che) electric + vehicle = tram
(yu mao) rain + hat = rainhat
(ming bai) bright + white = understand
(yan hong) eye + red = jealous
(nian qing) age + light = young
(tian qi) heaven + breath = weather
(huo che) fire + wagon = train
An artist was drawing an animal picture on the wall of his cave. His neighbors came along, saw the work, were impressed, and began arguing over whether the animal was a horse or a tiger. The arguments escalated until the village folk stepped back, got a grip and realized that if they could not agree on what the drawing represented, then perhaps it wasn’t actually so good after all.
(ma ma hu hu) horse horse tiger tiger = so so
(ma shang) horse + above = immediately
Way back, horse used to be a kind of transportation and riding horses was the fastest way to get somewhere.
(zhu ti) main + title = topic
(jian shi) hard + exact = strong
(shì shí) matter + exact = truth
(cheng shi) sincere + exact = honest
(huo jian) fire + arrow = rocket
（huo chai） fire + stick = matches
(huo xing) fire + star = spark
(shi zhong) start + end = always
（fan zheng） back + front = anyway
（shen qian） deep + shallow = depth
(mó tè) model
(qiao kè lì) chocolate
(shā lā) salad
(làng màn) romantic
(luó jí) logic
(shan dian) flash + electricity = lightening
(lü shi) law + teacher = lawyer
We see a lot of borrowing in Chinese. Borrowed words may provide windows into historical population migrations and movements. They usually keep the general sounds with some slight twists on some pronunciations.
--- Borrowed Words
--- Compound words
in the English Language
* Noisy & exciting in pleasant way
* Revelry of a festive, chaotic gathering
* Default mode of Chinese social life
* The standard to STRIVE For
- Raucous, beery sports bar during Super Bowl
- Loud, sweaty pub during World Cup
In a rènào restaurant in China, people gather around small tables that are squeezed together, and they toast, drink, tell stories, sing, laugh, and eat.
Similarly, a rènào train ride is also people jumbling together with snacks, papers, children, food, stories and laughter.
If Chinese are energized by rènào, foreigners are exhausted by it. Western culture views big noises in public areas as lack of manners and impolite.
Compare to the West:
rènào as a social mode is largely because of the life style of Chinese people. During huge events such as Chinese New Year, all the family members gather to welcome the New Year. rènào then becomes the celebratory atmosphere.
Fallows, Deborah. Dreaming in Chinese. London: Short, 2010. Print.
Can you think of more compound words in either English or Chinese?