Second Set of the Earliest Chinese Characters

zhi critter

The modern form of this character is written as follow:



zhý  This is a picture for a general category of animals that humans have never tamed or that at least can survive in the wild. Its meaning is very broad in about the same way that we can use "cat" to refer to lions, tigers, leopards, cougars, jaguars, and even animals like civet cats. In Chinese class I sometimes say it means "critter," because we generally use that term for animals that we can't identify clearly but that we suspect may be hunting our chickens or other livestock.

The pronunciation of the Chinese word is like the first syllable in "gerbil." The word "zhý" has a falling intonation as though you were angry.


Civet catpalm civet

For source pictures and permissions information, go here and here. This is an Asian Palm Civet. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_palm_civet.



mu4 eye
The modern form of this character is rotated 90░ and is written as follow:


m¨  This word is pronounced about like "moo" and it has a falling intonation, just like "zhý."

horse eye

For source pictures and permissions information, go here.



shou3 hand
The modern form of this character is written as follow:



shǒu  This word is pronounced about like "show." It has a dipping intonation.
human hand






kou3 mouth
The modern form of this character is written as follow:



kǒu  This word is pronounced about like the first syllable of the former Secretary General of the United Nation, Kofi Annan, but it is said with a dipping intonation.


human mouth
For source pictures and permissions information, go here.


ma3 horse
Notice the big eye that represents the whole head of this mammal. The modern form of this character contains 目, which represents the eye, the whole thing is rotated 90░, and it is written as follow:



mǎ  This word is pronounced about like the English word "ma." It is said with a dipping intonation. 

Heraldic image of horse

For source pictures and permissions information, go here.




quiz  Draw lines between the pictures and the characters that are their names.


palm civet                                                                                                 kou3 mouthkǒu




Heraldic image of horse                                                                                                 zhi critterzhý




human mouth                                                                               mu4 eye




human hand                                                                                   ma3 horse





horse eye                                                                                  shou3 handshǒu


Answers


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Beginning Lessons in K-12 Chinese by Patrick Edwin Moran is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.