文 (wén) means literature, language, writing, culture or civil and refined. Literature is called 文学 (wénxué). 文明 (wénmíng) is civilization, and 文化 (wénhuà) covers civilization, culture, education and literacy in general.
文字 (wénzì) refers to writing, scripts or languages. 文法 (wénfǎ) is grammar.
外文 (wàiwén) means foreign languages, such as 法文 (fǎwén French), 德文 (déwén German) and 日文 (rìwén Japanese).
文件 (wénjiàn) are documents. Official documents are called 公文 (gōngwén).
文具 (wénjù) means stationery.
The character 文 (wén) occurs in its original form as the “literature” radical in a number of words.
纹 (wén) are fine lines, such as 指纹 (zhǐwén fingerprints)
and 皱纹 (zhòuwén wrinkles).
斑 (bān) are specks or stripes. A zebra is called a striped horse in Chinese – 斑马 (bānmǎ), and a crosswalk is called 斑马线 (bānmǎ xiàn zebra crossing).
蚊子 (wénzi) is a mosquito.
吝啬 (lìnsè) means stingy or tightfisted. Stingy people are also said to be 小气 (xiǎoqì stingy or petty).
The traditional Chinese character for 变 (biàn change) is 變 (biàn), the lower portion of which is the modified “literature” word radical. This radical is found on the right side in many Chinse words. Last week we came across the words 改变 (gǎibiàn) and 政治 (zhèngzhì), both of which feature this “literature” radial. Following are a few additional examples.
收 (shōu) is to receive, to collect, to gather, to put away, to restrain or to put an end to, whereas 放 (fàng) is to let go, release, give out or leave alone.
Tā shōuyǎng le liǎng gè háizǐ.
He adopted two children.
Tā bǎ xínglǐ fàngxià.
He put down his luggage.
故 (gù) is a reason, a cause or an incident. It is the formal word for hence, consequently, former, or to die.
Duìbùqǐ, wǒ bùshi gùyì de.
Sorry, I didn’t do it on purpose.
Wǒ de qìchē gùzhàng le.
My car broke down.
做 (zuò) is to do, to make or to be used as.
效果 (xiàoguǒ) is an effect or a result.
Zhèyàng zuò xiàoguǒ bùcuò.
Doing it this way gives pretty good results.
微 (wēi) means tiny or to a slight degree, as in 微风 (wēifēng gentle breeze).
傲 (ào) means proud or haughty.
Zhègè rén tài jiāoào le.
This person is too arrogant.