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Say It Right Series

护, 乎, 湖, 忽, and 壶

Posted by johnb December 3, 2007 in the Group General Discussion.

I've decided to scrap the idea of scheduled "theme days," instead just letting things fall where they may. Whimsy is a powerful driving force!

We'll start with [hù], which means "protect." This character is found in lots of words, and all of them revolve around protection and guarding. 保护 [bǎohù] means "to protect" or "to safeguard," while 护士 [hùshi] means "nurse" -- literally, "a person trained to protect." In parks around China, you'll often see the word 爱护 [àihù] "to cherish, to take good care of" on signs asking people not to walk on the grass, trample flowers, etc. Radical: 手 (64). Components: 扌户. Strokes: 7.

Next we have a strange little character, [hū]. According to my dictionary, it is/was used in literary Chinese as a particle expressing surprise or admiration. In my experience, its most commonly seen as part of the adverbs 似乎 [sìhū] -- "it seems, seemingly" and 几乎 [jīhū] -- "nearly, almost" -- as well as the verb 在乎 [zàihu] -- "to care about, to mind." Radical: 丿 (4). Components: 丿. Strokes: 5.

Our hump character for today is [hú] -- "lake." Not surprisingly, the character is featured in words referring to lakes, and is generally found at the end of the names of lakes (i.e., Hangzhou's famous West Lake is 西湖 [xīhú]). Some other lake-related words include 湖泊 [húpō] -- "lakes" and 湖滨 [húbīn] -- "lakeside." Radical: 水 (85). Components: 氵胡. Strokes: 12.

Fourth we have [hū], which as an adverb can mean "suddenly," and which in compounds often means "neglect" or "overlook." I frequently encounter it in the words 忽然 [hūrán] -- "suddenly" and 忽视 [hūshì] -- "to ignore" or "to overlook." A slightly more literary form of 忽视 is 忽略 [hūlüè], which has basically the same meaning. Radical: 心 (61). Components: 勿心. Strokes: 8.

Bringing up the rear is our last 'hu' of the day, [hú] -- "kettle" or "bottle." This is a simple noun, and is found in words describing various kinds of kettles, pots, or bottles. One that is frequently encountered in China is the 茶壶 [cháhú] -- "teapot." 水壶 [shuǐhú] is a "water bottle" or "canteen," and can be used to refer to those little sports squeeze bottle that people take to the gym or attach to their bikes. Radical: 士 (33). Components: 士冖业. Strokes: 10.

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