字.

  • xuǎn - choose, elect

  • - man, husband; porter

    I have started to read (and to try to translate) some Japanese children's stories (日本童话), which are, as it happens, written in Chinese. I have just started 小熊午夫的故事, which I think translates as The Tale of Little Bear Wufu. I haven't got very far yet, all I know is that 午夫 is finding it too hot ("热死啦!").

    夫妇, meaning husband or wife, is in the first line of Harry Potter.

  • cǎo - grass; careless; hasty

    This is one of the first Chinese words I learnt (in the compound 草莓) but have real difficulty pronouncing it. The 'c' sound seems to completely escape me and it seems particularly difficult when followed by -ao. The character also caused me difficultly when trying to find the radical the first time; I knew it could be written 艹, but I didn't know it could be written 艸, and so has six strokes. The following is a little ditty written by Victoria for me to practise.

  • shùn - obey; arrange; along; favourable

    I have no idea why I picked this character, I must have come across it somewhere. I later came across it on Smart.fm, and yet I still have failed to learn it. It's a useful word too. It even has a useful grammatical role that I've not previously seen:

    小船稳稳地顺著运河突突地航行。
    The boat chugged along the canal.

  • jīng - be scared

    I think I picked this word mainly because I'd decided that on each days of the week I would pick characters with the same radical, so, since I picked 性 last week, I need something with a 心 radical.

    不必惊慌。

    There's no cause for alarm.

  • yàng - manner, pattern, way, appearance, shape

    As you can see from the meanings, this character generally refers to how things are and look, and as such is very common.

    是什么样的老师,就教出什么样的学生。
    Like teacher, like student.

  • bào - announce, inform, report; revenge

    I think I picked this character because I saw in Tintin, in the word 发报机, which I guess (correctly) meant radio transmitted. To be fair, there was a radio transmitter in the picture, which helped. The sentence where I first saw the character is below. It's the first dialogue box in the book and is packed fill of great grammar. 

    The character later turned up in my first Chinese Smart.fm course in the word 报道. I have no idea where the 'revenge' meaning comes from.

  • jìn - enter; receive; eat or drink; submit; (used after a verb) into, in; to score a goal

    I think I chose this word because of its road radical, and it has proven to be a very useful word.

    进来前请先敲门。
    Please do not enter before knocking on the door.