speak chinese like a native


Posted by rich April 18, 2007 in the Group General Discussion .

Character Breakdown #1: The Man Who Was Arrested For Neglecting His Lawn

You know, I realized today that one of the first two-character nouns I learned is one of the most difficult to write!  My main focus is on writing characters and understanding the radicals.  Yet why is it one of the most common person/occupation used in text/examples one of the hardest to write???

The word is none other than 警察 (jǐngchá, police/police officer).  Today I once again had to write it, and once again, as someone who can write I would say almost 1000 characters by hand, I had no clue where to start, and my books print was kind of small that I couldn't even see the radicals that made up the first character .

With that criticism made (with all due respect to police officers everywhere, even the ones near my school who shout words I don't fully understand when not staying on the cross walk...and who does?), 警察 once again found its way into my homework, so I stopped everything when I realized I couldn't write it, and made a discovery: this word has two words with the most 丰富(abundant) meaningful radicals that I've ever seen. So finally put them together in a way quite easy to memorize, which I thought I should share with my fellow poddies.  

Now, my breakdown is probably not the actually origin of this word (but some is), and not what Wenlin says, but their explanation doesn't help me memorize.  First. the breakdown, and then a story to help you remember.

Breakdown, breakdown...

Here we go, from little to big, left to right, top to bottom:

+ =
cǎo + jǔ = gǒu
grass + sentence = neglect
+ =
gǒu + pū = jìng
neglect + hand striking = respect
+ =
jìng + yán = jǐng
respect + words = warn, alert

+ + =
mián + xī + hǎn = wǎn
roof + evening + to sprout(ancient meaning) = winding/if
(okay, this my variation, but I find it easier to memorize than Wenlin's: " mián 'roof' and jì phonetic." Huh?  My idea just comes from my searching of a character similar to the top half, so this is a variant but is missing a dot in the , so to remember it all: "Winding around a little" or "Wandering around a little).  Think of a vine at night winding around the roof. I chose this character because I found the bottom part needs to be separate:)
+ 丶+ =
wǎn + diǎn + shì = chá
wind + a little + show/indicate = observe
Okay, now here's the story:
There's this guy and he always talks(句) about cutting his lawn(艹) but he's all talk and neglected() it to where it was totally overgrown, so neighbors took authority() and used words(言) to alert(察) the police to take care of it.

So police went to his home() in the evening () and found grass sprouting() all over the place. They had to wander around(宛) quite a bit(丶), so this definitely indicated() that something would have to be done.  This concluded the investigation() of the police(警察).


Shorter version: When something bad happens, we first dial 110 to alert() the police and they will come investigate() = 警察
-Rich, your every-day neighborhood Chinese character addict



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