Sunday, August 28, 2005

Chinese Character of the Day

Yīn. This is an important character that means sound, directly translated. Simple, right? Sure, but it's used in combination with a lot of other characters to form important words related to music and language. Oh yeah, as far as the parts go, 立 (lì) is on the top and 日 (rì) is on the bottom. As far as I can tell, these parts don't have any significance as far as meaning or pronunciation go, but I find it a lot easier to remember how to write characters by the parts they're made up of. Anyway, let's take a look at some words that involve the character 音 (yīn).

音乐 - yīnyuè means music
音符 - yīnfú means musical note
录音 - lùyīn means to record (music)
音量 - yīnliàng means volume (of sound)
扩音 - kuòyīn means to amplify (sound)
扩音器 - kuòyīnqì means megaphone
音节 - yīnjié means syllable
拼音 - pīnyīn means to phoneticize, also the name of the method of representing Chinese sounds with English letters, currently used in the PRC
口音 - kǒuyīn means accent (of speech)
重音 - zhòngyīn means stress (of a sound) or accent (musical)
回音 - huíyīn means echo
发音 - fāyīn means to pronounce or pronunciation
播音 - bōyīn means to broadcast

Perhaps that's a couple too many, but they're all pretty useful. It's interesting how some of these terms are translated into English words that have multiple meanings or homonyms. So, if you come across 音(yīn) in a situation where you're not familiar with the combination where it's found, you can be pretty sure it has something do to with sound or language. OK, that's it for me today. Questions, comments, or corrections? Let me know. Take it easy


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