Thursday, April 2, 2009

Learn Chinese: Fingers Of The Hand

Well here's the first instalment on Learn Chinese With Me and we're starting with the Chinese for the fingers of the hand.

Why are we starting with this? Well, I've been carrying around a piece of paper with the Chinese for the different fingers on it for more than a year. Now I can finally retire the piece of paper, because it will be recorded right here.


First, the general term for finger is shǒuzhǐ (手指). Now here is the Mandarin for the different fingers:

English Pinyin Chinese Characters
Thumb dàmǔzhǐ 大拇指
Index Finger shízhǐ 食指
Middle Finger zhōngzhǐ 中指
Ring Finger wúmíngzhǐ 无名指
Little Finger xiàozhǐ 小指

Lesson Notes:

As is common in Chinese, the zhǐ from shǒuzhǐ is carried through with each of the fingers, but the leading character changes to indicate which finger we're talking about.

Of the actual fingers, there are some characters which may be familiar to Chinese learners:

  • Thumb: dà 大 means big. Makes sense: the thumb is the big finger.
  • Little finger: xiào 小 means small, so literally this means small finger.
  • Middle finger: zhōng 中 means middle. zhōng can also be seen in Zhōngguǒ 中国 which is China or literally Middle Kingdom.

Keywords: shouzhi, damuzhi, shizhi, zhongzhi, wumingzhi, xiaozhi, da, xiao, zhong, zhongguo

Well that's all for the first 'lesson' (used very loosely!).

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Introduction To Learn Chinese With Me

Welcome to Learn Chinese With Me.

I've been living and working in China on and off since 2002 (though I'm back in Australia now). At various points I've thrown myself into learning Chinese (Mandarin), but the efforts have never lasted.

The end result is that I have a basic level of Chinese, but with significant gaps. I'm looking to take my Chinese to the next level and have decided that for me to really learn Chinese properly, I need to make sure that I keep it up.

How can I do that? Enter this blog! If I have to post the Chinese I've learnt, that's an incentive to keep learning. It makes me a little more accountable, even if ultimately it's only accountable to myself! Then again, who knows, this blog may end up with readers, then I'll be accountable to them.

So the purpose of this blog is just to document what I learn (in the Chinese language), as I learn it. It MAY be useful to other people to follow along, but it's NOT going to be a complete, organized, program to help you learn Chinese. It's really just for me to record what I learn (from a variety of sources).

I have another China related blog over at my jobs in China site and I thought about adding these posts over there, but in the end I thought having a separate site just for these posts is a better solution - a single place where everything I've learnt is contained.

So, welcome to Learn Chinese With Me - I hope it may be of use to you (and I hope I finally take my Chinese to the next level).