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!).


Stavros said...

I had never learnt the names of the fingers, never needed to use them I guess. Funny, shízhǐ then is the "eating finger" and wúmíngzhǐ is the "no-name finger". Interesting!

ukahsah15 said...

This is highly informatics, crisp and clear. I think that everything has been described in systematic manner so that reader could get maximum information and learn many things.
learn chinese in singapore

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