The picture at the right shows a small plate of sliced tofu. Looking at it, can you envision the Chinese character 皿 (mǐn)? As mentioned last week, this character represents a dish or a container. Not surprisingly, it shows up as a radical in the words for such items as plates, cups or basins.
盘 (pán) is a plate, a dish or a tray. It also stands for other flat items like 棋盘 (qípán chessboard, checkerboard), 地盘 (dìpán one’s own territory), 沙盘 (shāpán sand table) and 算盘 (suànpán abacus). It will be good to note here that 盘算 (pánsuan) is a verb that means to calculate or to plan.
股票 (gǔpiào) are shares of stock, and 股票市场 (gǔpiàoshìchǎng) is the stock market, often abbreviated as 股市 (gǔ shì) or 股盘 (gǔpán). 股市崩盘 (gǔ shì bēngpán) would be a collapse of the stock market.
盅 (zhōng) is a cup without handles. One of my favorite dishes is the 冬瓜盅 (dōngguā zhōng), which is a winter melon soup served in the melon itself. With just a touch of 糖 (táng sugar) and 盐 (yán salt) and the flavors contributed by the melon flesh, the mushrooms and a variety of quality meats and seafood, this soup is a treat for the taste buds as well as the soul.
盆 (pén) is a pot, a tub or a basin. A flowerpot is called 花盆 (huāpén). A washbasin is called 脸盆 (liǎnpén).
盒子 (hézi) is a box.
Tā dài gěi wǒ yī hé qiǎokèlì táng.
He brought me a box of chocolates.
Please review Chapter 7 of “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes” and read about other types of containers that are often used as units of measure.
盏 (zhǎn) is a small cup, 灯 (dēng) is a lamp and 黑夜 (hēiyè) means dark night.
Xīwàng xiàng shì hēiyè li de yī zhǎn dēng.
Hope is like a lamp shining in the dark night.
益 (yì) means beneficial, increasingly, or a profit.
盛 (shèng) means abundant, plentiful, prosperous or popular.
盈 (yíng) means being full or having a surplus. 溢 (yì) is to overflow. 滥 (làn) also means to overflow or to flood. This character is used in words that represent excessiveness or indiscriminateness.
Tā lànyòng zhíquán.
He abuses his power (authority).
盗 (dào) means theft, robbery, a thief or a robber.
监 (jiān) is to watch or to supervise. 监视 (jiānshì) is to keep watch on someone, and 监牢 (jiānláo) is a prison.
温 (wēn) means warm or lukewarm. In this character we have water (as represented by the water radical), heat (as represented by the sun radical) and the vessel radical. A bowl of warm water comes to mind.
蓝 (lán) is the blue or indigo color. You do need a container to prepare the indigo dye.
头盔 (tóukuī) is a helmet. I guess you could look at it as an inverted vessel.
Qí mótuōchē shí yào dài tóukuī.
You should wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle.