Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off your first 2 months of Unlimited Monthly. Start your subscription for just £29.99 £19.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

Chinese characters

Chinese characters: 家 有 爸 妈
OK. Now, let’s move on to Chinese characters. “Jiā”, which is composed of two parts, the radical roof and the traditional character “pig”. It is an ideographic component. You can imagine that there is a pig under the roof. The pig was regarded as the fortune in one’s family. “Yǒu”. The top left part of “yǒu” comes from the image of our right hand. Under the right hand, the character “yuè” means “meat” in Chinese. The whole character refers to getting the meat with the hand. It literally means “owning something”. Do you remember phono-semantic compounds? One part stands for the pronunciation. The other part stands for the meaning. Now, I will introduce other two examples to you. “Bà”.
The top part stands for the meaning. Please look at this picture. A hand is holding a stone. Try to guess who went out and worked with a stone ax in ancient times. Exactly. The men. So this part means “man”. Later, it became used to refer to father. The bottom part, “bā” stands for the pronunciation. “Mā”. Do you remember the left part? It means “woman”. The right part “mǎ” stands for the pronunciation.
  • 家(jiā, family;home):This character is composed of two parts: the radical “roof” and the traditional character “pig. “
  • 有(yǒu, to have;there be):This character is composed of two parts: the top part stands for a hand and the bottom part stands for meat sometimes.
  • 爸(bà, father):The top part stands for the meaning of “man” and the bottom part 巴(bā)stands for the pronunciation.
  • 妈(mā, mother):The left part 女 means “woman.” The right part 马(mǎ, horse) stands for the pronunciation, but the tone is changed into the first tone.

After learning this video, you can write these characters as their order in the worksheet to help you better understand what you have learned.

This article is from the free online

Learn Chinese: Introduction to Chinese Conversation

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now