Thursday, August 25, 2005

Chinese Character of the Day

Xìn. This character, when directly translated, can be a noun meaning letter, information, or confidence (the kind you keep, not the self- kind). When used as a verb, it can be translated as to believe or to trust. This is a character formed from two radicals: one on the right and one on the left. On the right, we have the 言 (yán) radical, which means word, to say, or to speak. On the left, we have the 人 (rén) radical, which means person. So, this character is a person speaking or a person's word. This is interesting, considering the way it's used. Not all characters involving multiple radicals or combinations of characters can be analyzed like this, of course, but the ones that can be taken apart like this are fascinating, in my opinion. Anyway, let's look at some of the characters that we can put together with 信 (xìn) to make words.

信封 - xìnfēng means envelope
信奉 - xìnfèng means to believe (in somthing like a religion)
信服 - xìnfú means to believe (in an idea, a theory, or an argument)
守信 - shǒuxìn means trustworthy
信箱 - xìnxiāng means mailbox or p.o. box
威信 - wēixìn means prestige or credibility.

And so on... It's a popular character, so there are lots of different words that it's involved in. Check out your Chinese-English dictionary for more, or check out Oh yeah, I hope you like the new font. I had to change it, because the other one wrote this character all weird. Also, let me know if I messed anything up. Take it easy.


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