speak chinese like a native

Character Breakdown 3 In Pursuit of Happyness in the Ending Future

Posted by rich May 9, 2007 in the Group General Discussion .

This week's characters: 

亨 享
末 未

Hello boys and girls and welcome to another Character Breakdown!  Today I, Brainy Smurf (how the heck did I get into this 80's cartoon so much? I wasn't a big fan) will be teaching you about when to héng and not to héng ( héng horizontal) and when to keep it long and when to keep it short.  (ack, and after writing that my dictionary told me that hèng [4th town] also means perverse... ha ha ha.  Get head out of gutter now).  This is a two parter... Enjoy!

Part 1: In Pursuit of Happyness  from  亨 and 享

My first selection for this lesson is probably advanced, as both characters aren't common in elementary lessons.  Those characters are (hēng successful; go smoothly) and (xiǎng enjoy).  The only difference is 一个横.  Here are some examples using these two characters:

(usually goes with tōng => 亨通):
今年财运未亨通, 入不敷出。
Jīnnián cáiyùn wèi hēngtōng, rùbùfūchū.
This year our money-making did not go smoothly; we were unable to make ends meet.

(usually goes with shòu => 享受):
Wǒmen ¹jìnqíng xiǎngshòu shēnghuó.
We are fully enjoying life.

So, how am I going to help you remember which one has the horizontal line and which one doesn't?  Good question!  Just be Chinese and memorize memorize memorize, ok? (or see below in which my Chinese friends rolled their eyes at for me thinking in such a way to memorize...but hey, I've only known these characters for a short while, they have grown up seeing them!)

1) One way to remember that hēng is lacking the horizontal stroke is simply that this hēng is not your word for horizontal ( héng is) so leave the héng out of hēng! (okay, maybe dumb, just a crazy idea...)

2) Better way is that in order to enjoy life you need to first have success.  So we first need (héng to have success) before you have something to (xiǎng enjoy).  Also note: is what you must first write in order to write , in which you then finishing it off with a .

3) In addition to the other two, remember that héng (h) also comes before xiǎng (x) in the pīnyīn listed dictionary.

4) And if all else fails, do your character breakdown:

Both of these characters are assume to be derived from (gāo high, tall, ~ happy) as they share the same top radical which we can take to mean "happy". 

For (hēng), the bottom is (liǎo) which we need to see as meaning "to understand, to settle" both of which we hope will happily() go smoothly(). 

At the bottom of (xiǎng) we find   which means child, which we hope to enjoy() all our happiness() with.

Part two: The End of the Future of 未 and 末

I'm not sure if you can say 未来末 (wèilái mò, end of the future) because that just sounds crazy in the first place, but I thought those characters together looked so cool!  Can we make them dance too?  My favorite move is 回到未来 (Back to the Future) so I "very like" these characters. :-)

Let's take a look at wèi and mò which I did experience in more elementary lessons.  Uh, I assume you can distinguish lái from the other two characters or else maybe you should switch pig-latin instead, but  actually it is easily mixed up with jiā yet that is not in this lesson... we will just focus on the other two trouble-makers.

Here is something that helped me from the start of distinguishing these two characters:  

Don't you just hate it as an adult when you are doing something and all the sudden you hear your mom's in your head as if she is still having to remind you to do your homework or how to do something right? That happened to me with these characters... all the sudden I had this deja vu of my mom teaching me how to distinguish two English words that I never could get right.  The two words: desert and dessert.  She asked me, "Which one would you prefer more, desert or dessert?"  Of course, as a child (and uh, still now) I said "dessert".  She said "See, that has one more 's' than desert, so you want more s's in dessert" or something to that nature.

So, for (wèi, have not/did not) and (mò, end/tip, ~ weekend), we notice what difference?  Ahhhh... the two 's are different lengths!  And so I must ask, "Which one do you want to be longer, your weekend or what you have nothing of?" (and with that said, we have another sentence that makes absolutely no sense!  We are on a roll!).  You say, "Uhhh... what??  Uh, I guess my weekend."  Ding ding ding!  So make the first horizontal line on   longer already. 

From a character breakdown we can also remember all this without having to hear my mom's voice in our heads (dang it, why didn't someone tell me that before??? Mom, go away!).  Anyone know what the radical they both share? Uh, no, something other than horizontal lines.  Ah yes, (mù tree, wood).  Note that short horizontal line is the tree branches.  So, in what does the extra horizontal line magnify?  Ah, yes, the end or tip of the tree...thus it's meaning. 

is a picture of a tall tree with its branches superposed.  We should "not have" the branches that way, so we have the word "not have".  Or in the sense of future, 未来, you could think that, in the future, the bottom branches will be longer than the top branches.


Ok, that's it for today kiddies.  Go get some desert....errr...have a good 周未...errr...AAAH!... Just make like a and get outta here! ("It's 'leave' you idiot!  It's 'Make like a and leave!' You sound like a damn fool when you say it wrong!" -回到未来2)

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