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Say It Right Series

Character etymology for Elementary - Keys, Wallet, Phone 北

Posted by mandarinboy September 11, 2008 in the Group General Discussion.

Third cardinal point today is: 北 (běi, north).

Character: 北

Traditional form: 北  

Pinyin: běi

Meaning: north; northern; northward

HSK level: 1 (basic)

Frequency: 264

Strokes: 5

Radical part: 匕

Radical meaning: spoon, ladle; knife, dirk

Stroke order: http://www.yellowbridge.com/chinese/character-stroke-order.php?searchChinese=1&zi=%E5%8C%97

Stroke animation: (the strokes are drawn the direction the picture is tipping)

 

 

 

 

Etymology:

The (probably) original form:

 

 

 

where soon replaced by:

 

 

This is a person sitting facing the south as is the custom and on his back another person sitting back to back suggesting north. The original form is still under debate but the new versions is accepted to be just two persons sitting back to back west and east and the center of their backs pointing to the north.

Example words:

 北京 Běi jīng Beijing / capital of People's Republic of China

北边 běibiān location to the north

东北 dōngběi northeast

西北 xīběi northwest

北方 běifāng north; the northern part a country; China north of the Yellow River

北面 běimiàn northern side; north

台北 Tái běi Taibei or Taipei, capital of Taiwan 

北美 Běi Měi North America 

北京时间 Běi jīng Shí jiān Chinese Standard Time 

北极熊 běi jí xióng polar bear  (No we do not have polar bears in Sweden)

指北针 zhǐ běi zhēn compass 

 

 

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