The Chinese word radical “Pig”

The Chinese word for home or family is (jiā) or 家庭 (jiātíng). For “home, sweet home”, you could say: 甜蜜的家 (tiánmì de jiā).

Tā yǒu yī gè měimǎn de jiātíng.
He has a perfectly happy family.

Click on this link to listen to a beautiful song written by the very talented song writer and movie director, 刘家昌 (Liú Jiāchāng). The title of the song, 我家在那里 (Wǒ Jiā Zài Nàli) could be translated as “That’s Where My Home Is”, or, if you like, “Home on the Prairie”.

The action word for a woman marrying into another family is: (jià).

Zhù Yīngtái bù yuànyì jià gěi Mǎ Wéncái.
Zhu Yingtai did not want to marry Ma Wencai.
(Ref: The Butterfly Lovers)

Furniture is called 傢具 (jiājù), and 傢伙 (jiāhuǒ fellow) is an informal (generally disrespectful) way of referring to a person. 傢伙 (jiāhuǒ) is also used colloquially to refer to a hand tool or a hand weapon.

If you will notice, the character (jiā home) features a roof at the top. Under the roof is the character (shǐ), the formal word for pigs. It used to be that in the Chinese and Taiwanese villages, many families raised pigs for food. A pig under the roof indicates well-being and security. To the Chinese, pigs symbolize prosperity, good fortune as well as avarice, laziness and sloppiness.

Nowadays, pigs and hogs are called (zhū), and the word for pork is 豬肉 (zhūròu). By the way, unlike humans and many other animals, pigs don’t get milk teeth, or 乳牙 (rǔ yá), but just have one set of permanent teeth.

I guess if you blow up a pig’s body and add a huge head and long trunk to it, you will get an elephant, or (xiàng). (xiàng) also represents appearances and phenomena, such as in 氣象 (qìxiàng meteorology).

With the “person” word root on the left side, (xiàng) is the word for a portrait or a picture. It also serves as the verb that means “to look like”.

Tā zhǎng de xiàng tā yéye.
He takes after his grandpa.

(zhuó) is to peck. (See the mouth radical on the left side?)

(zhú) is to chase or drive out. It also means “one by one”.

(duì) is a team or a row of people.

遽然 (jùrán) means suddenly. It is interchangeable with 忽然 (hūrán suddenly).

Tā jùrán tuī le wǒ yīxià.
He suddenly gave me a push.

Although dogs are men’s best friends and pigs have proven to be quite intelligent, traditionally they have not earned a high opinion with the Chinese.

豬狗不如 (zhūgǒubùrú) means to be worse than pigs and dogs.

狼心狗肺 (lángxīngǒufèi) means to be cruel and ungrateful, like having the heart of a wolf and the lungs of a dog.

The fox does not fare any better. 狐假虎威 (hújiǎhǔwēi) means to bully other people by flaunting one’s powerful connections, like a fox trailing a tiger to scare people off.

On the other hand, the mythical dragon, (lóng) is greatly respected and held in awe. Why, it represents the power of the Chinese emperor himself. (lóng) is also a symbol of good luck. This year, 2012, happens to be the Year of the Dragon, or 龍年 (lóng nián).

望子成龍 (wàngzichénglóng) is a phrase describing the fervent wish for one’s son to excel and become successful.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anthony Bogadek
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 02:44:32

    Hi, dear Miss Lyn,
    Your much awaited new lesson has finally come! Thank you.
    I have found a few things that you might want to look at again:
    1. (generally disresptectful): spelling; I think it is “disrespectful”
    2. used coloquially; spelling; should be “colloquially”
    3. pigs symboloze; should be: “symbolize”
    4. phenomenona: this is Latin language word: singular form is “phenomenon”; plural form is “phenomena”


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