speak chinese like a native

Posted by johnb December 12, 2007 in the Group General Discussion .

I've decided to switch to a single character per day so that I can keep this going, because doing five per day was just a bit too much work to sustain. Since the rate of advance is so much slower, I'm going to pick some more difficult/uncommon characters that are worth knowing, rather than just randomly going through the pack.

Today's character is [liáng], which means "bridge" or "roof beam." The character is supposed to be a picture of someone cutting wood with a knife to lay over the water, thus making a bridge.

The meaning "bridge," in both literal and figurative senses, is represented in the word 桥梁 [qiáoliáng]. We can see how it can be used in both senses in the following sentences:

  • 文化交流是国与国之间建立联系的桥梁。[Wénhuà jiāoliú shì guó yǔ guó zhījiān jiànlì liánxì de qiáoliáng.] Cultural exchanges are a way of building bridges between nations.
  • 洪水冲毁了许多桥梁。[Hóngshuǐ chōnghuǐ le xǔduō qiáoliáng.] Many bridges were swept away by the flood.

Some other usages include "nose bridge" -- 鼻梁 [bíliáng] -- and (one of my personal favorites) 顶梁柱 [dǐngliángzhù], which means "backbone" or "pillar" and is used in a figurative sense to mean the "backbone of a company" or "backbone of the family."

Radical: 木 (75). Components: 氵刀八木. Strokes: 11.

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