The altar radical

(shì) means to instruct, to show, to indicate or to give a sign. This character assumes the shape of an altar. Therefore, many words related to deities, ancestors, worship, cemonies and blessings take on this radical.

(shén) refers to deity or divinity. It also means magical, such as in 神奇 (shénqí miraculous).

祈祷 (qídǎo) is to say one’s prayers.

我向天神祈祷.
Wǒ xiàng tiānshén qídǎo.
I pray to God in Heaven.

祖宗 (zǔzōng) is one’s ancestry or forefathers. 祭祀 (jìsì) is to worship and offer sacrifice to gods or ancestors. Many Chinese families still perform rituals to pay respect to their ancestors on the major holidays.

宗教 (zōngjiào) refers to religions, such as, in alphabetical order, 佛教 (Fójiào Buddhism), 天主教 (jīdūjiào Catholicism), 基督教 (jīdūjiào Christianity), 回教 (huíjiào Islam), 犹太教 (yóutàijiào Judaism), and 道教 (dàojiào Taoism).

礼仪 (lǐyí) are rites and protocols.

社会 (shèhuì) means society. 社会学 (shèhuìxué) is sociology.

社会上有许多见义勇为的人.
Shèhuì shàng yǒu xǔduō jiànyìyǒngwéi de rén.
In the society there are many who are ready to take up the cudgel for a just cause.

(jìn) is to prohibit. Take heed of any sign with this character on it. For example, 禁止入内 (Jìnzhǐ rù nèi) means entry is prohibited.

吉祥 (jíxiáng) means auspicious or propitious. The Chinese love things and creatures that symbolize good luck and good fortune, such as a dragon, a phoenix, a pair of woodducks, or a jade bracelet. The Taiwanese consider the pineapple, 凤梨 (fènglí), auspicious because in the Taiwanes dialect this word sounds the same as “prosperity coming”. This reminds me of one of the delicacies for which Taiwan is famous, namely, the pinapple shortbread called 凤梨酥 (fènglí sū). If you have been deprived of the pleasure of munching on one of those savory bites, click on the above link for an excellent writeup that will give you an idea of how crazy some of us are about this little snack.

(zhù) is to express good wishes. 祝福 (zhùfú) is to give blessing to someone. This word can also be used as a noun. 庆祝 (qìngzhù) is to celebrate.

祝你生日快乐!
Zhù nǐ shēngrì kuàilè!
Happy Birthday to you!

口福 (kǒufú) is a gourmand’s luck. If you are invited by a friend to a delicious dinner, you could say at the table:

今天我有口福了!
Jīntiān wǒ yǒu kǒufú le!
What a delicious treat!

(lù) is the formal word for salary, and connotes income. (xǐ) represents auspiciousness and happiness. These, along with (fú good fortune) and 寿 (shòu longevity) are the four major blessings for the Chinese.

As Valentines day is coming up, a few relevant words seem in order. 表示 (biǎoshì) means to express or to indicate, 暗示 (ànshì) is to suggest or to drop a hint, and 示意 (shìyì) is to send a signal. 求爱 (qiúài beg for love) is to court or woo. 相爱 (xiāng ài) means to love each other. Therefore, within a sentence this word will take on multiple subjects or a pronoun indicating multiple persons. For example,

他们深深地相爱.
Tāmen shēn shēn di xiāng ài.
They love each other deeply.

If you have a 心上人 (xīn shàng rén), somebody for whom you have a hot spot in your heart, you might enjoy the song featured in my 3/26/11 blog post. When that person has turned into your spouse, you could call him or her 亲爱的 (qīnài de dear, darling), or 甜心 (tián xīn sweetheart).

If you have a 心上人 (xīn shàng rén), somebody for whom you have a hot spot in your heart, you might enjoy the song featured in my 3/26/11 blog post. When that person has turned into your spouse, you could call him or her 亲爱的 (qīnài de dear, darling), or 甜心 (tián xīn sweetheart), but not 蜂蜜 (fēngmì honey), which, as written, has not yet been adopted as a Chinese term of endearment.

情人 means lover or lovers.

情人节快乐!
Qíngrén jié kuàilè!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
(Happy Lovers’ Day!)

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