Skip main navigation

Chinese characters

We are going to learn three new strokes and three new characters

Three new strokes

撇折 piězhé left-falling to turning

斜钩 xiégōu slanting hook

提 tí rising

Can you find these three strokes in the following characters:

东,去,现, 找

Three new characters

东 dōng east. 东 is where the sun rises. The original form of 东 looks like the sun hidden in bush. It indicates the sunrise. Therefore this character means the direction of sunrise- east.

西 xī west. The original form of 西 is a bird’s nest. When it comes to sunset, all the birds fly back to their nest for a rest. Therefore this character indicates the direction of the sunset- west.

我 wǒ I, me. The character “我”originally looked like a weapon with sharp edges. Now it is a personal pronoun.

All the characters we have learnt so far are formed by only one part. They are called single-component structure, such as 人、我. There is another type of characters, formed by compound structure, such as 你、做, formed by two or more parts.

Question: Is 东 a single component or a compound?

This article is from the free online

HSK Standard Course Level 1: 1.2

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education