The sun radical


As the Chinese saying goes,

一年之计在于春.
Yīniánzhiqjìzàiyúchūn.
The whole year’s planning hinges on a good beginning in spring.

This adage is particularly applicable to farmers and gardeners. You must first sow before you can reap. If you expect to harvest fresh vine-ripened tomatoes in late August, 八月 (bā yuè), or early September, 九月 (jiǔ yuè), then this is a good time to get a few tomato starts going. Tomatoes are called 番茄 (fānqié) in Chinese.

You’ll notice that there is a sun in the character (chūn). Let’s talk about the sun radical, (rì), in hopes of coaxing the sun out of its hiding.

The word (rì) can mean the sun, the day, daytime, or daily, while 太阳 (tàiyáng) specifically refers to the sun or sunshine. Solar energy is called 太阳能 (tàiyáng néng), while luorescent lamps are called 日光灯 (rìguāngdēng sunlight lamp).

(zǎo) and 早晨 (zǎochén) mean early morning.
(xiǎo) is day-break. It also means to know, as in 晓得 (xiǎodé).

我晓得了.
Wǒ xiǎodé le.
Got it. (I see.)

时间 (shíjiān) is the time, a duration of time, or a point in time.

(wǎn) means evening, night, late, or junior. (xīng) refers to stars or heavenly bodies.

晚上星星亮晶晶.
Wǎnshàng xīngxīng liàngjīngjīng.
At night the stars shine brilliantly.

(chāng) means flourishing. No wonder this character is found in the names of many places and localities. The word 昌盛 (chāngshèng) means prosperous.

(wàng) also means flourishing, but more vigorously than (chāng). You can use the word 旺盛 (wàngshèng) to describe a booming business or the vigor of an athlet.

(yì) has multiple meanings. 容易 (róngyìì) means easy. 交易 (jiāoyì) is a business transaction. 平易 (píngyì) means easy-going or amiable. In classical Chinese, (yì) also means to change or to exchange. 易经 (yìjīng) is The Book of Changes

(nuǎn) and 温暖 (wēnnuǎn) both mean warm.

(zhào) is to shine or to illuminate.

阳光照在我脸上.
Yángguāng zhào zài wǒ liǎn shàng.
Sunlight is shining on my face.

照相 (zhàoxiàng) is to take a photograph. (xiàng) has multiple meanings. Here, it refers to one’s looks.

晴天 (qíngtiān) is fine, clear, sunny day. Too much of a good thing is not necessarily beneficial. Too much sunshine will result in 旱地 (hàndì dry land).

Try to make sentences using some of the above Chinese words. You have truly learned a word when you are able to incorporate it in a dialog or in your writing.

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