Learn Chinese word radical – Foot

(zú) is the Chinese word for feet. It also means sufficient or ample. Today we will only talk about this character in relation to the feet and the actions that are usually performed using the feet.

Soccer and football are bothe called 足球 (zúqiú) in Chinese. To avoid ambiguity, you could refer to football as 美国足球 (Měiguó zúqiú) or 橄榄球 (gǎnlǎnqiú football or rugby).

Nǐ xǐhuān kàn zúqiú sài ma?
Do you like to watch soccer games?

(zhǐ) are the toes. As this character sounds exactly the same as (zhǐ fingers, to point to), it’s best to refer to your toes as 脚趾 (jiǎozhǐ), and your fingers as 手指 (shǒuzhǐ).

脚跟 (jiǎogēn) is the heel. As a verb, (gēn) means to follow. Many people use (gēn) as the conjunctive “and” instead of (hé).

Tā gēn wǒ yīyàng gāo.
He is the same height as I am.

(pǎo) is to run or to escape. You’ve had plenty of practice pronouncing this word while reading/singing the “Two Tigers” song discussed in Chapter 1 of “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes“.

(pā) is to lie prone.

Tā pā zài dì shàng.
He lay prone on the ground.

(bié) is to have sprained one’s ankle, and 蹩脚 (biéjiǎo) is used for describing inferior work or a shoddy product.

(tà) means to step on, or to tread on. The bicyle, being a vehicle powered by on’e feet treading on the pedals, is called 脚踏车 (jiǎotàchē).

(tī) means to kick. So, 踢踏舞 (tītàwǔ) is tap dance.

(tiào) is to jump, leap, bounce or skip.

跳水 (tiàoshuǐ) is to spring for a dive, as from a diving board, or 跳板 (tiàobǎn).

跳伞 (tiàosǎn) is parachute jumping.

跳房子 (tiàofángzi) is the children’s game of hopscotch.

If your kid is smart, he or she might be able to skip a grade in school, or 跳级 (tiàojiǎo).

跳棋 (tiàoqí) is Chinese checkers. The action of playing chess or checkers is called 下棋 (xiàqí).

Nǐ xǐhuān xià tiàoqí ma?
Do you like to play Chinese checkers?

跳脚 (tiàojiǎo) means to stamp one’s foot, as in anger or frustration.

跳票 (tiàopiào) is to have a check bounced.

Tā kāi gěi wǒ de zhīpiào tiàopiào le.
The check he wrote to me bounced.

(zhuō) is to grasp, catch or capture. It features both the hand radical and the foot radical and is used in a similar way as (zhuā to snatch) but puts the emphasis on the catching rather than the grabbing.

Jǐngchá zhuō dào yī gè xiǎotōu.
The police caught a thief.

Is it raining cats and dogs?

“April, April, it makes what it will.” This German saying comes to mind when we receive a bit of rain, sunshine and hail all on the same day, and not necessarily in that order. While most people associate a good day with a sunny one, there are quite a few nice songs written about rainy weather, such as: “Listen to the Rhythem of the Falling Rain”, “Stormy Weather”, “Singing in the Rain”, etc.

Let’s listen to 雨中即景 (Yǔ Zhōng Jíjǐng The Rain Impromptu) composed by王梦麟 (Wáng Mènglín) and performed by刘文正 (Liú Wénzhèng).

(yǔ) is rain, which is aptly represented by the four drops of water in the character.
(zhōng) is the middle. As an adverb, it means amidst, among or on the dot. It is also used as a verb that means hitting smack on target.
(jí) means at present, approaching, immediately, or even if.
(jǐng) is a view or a scene.

The lyrics are fun but we will just look at the first two lines for now:

Huālālālā xiàyǔ le.
Splish, splash, it’s raining.

Kàndào dàjiā dōu zài pǎo.
(I) see everyone running.

下雨 (xiàyǔ) means to rain. 哗啦 (huālā) mimicks the sound of pouring rain or rustling leaves. When singing a song, the word (le) is often pronounced as liǎo.

Suppose you want to tell someone in Chinese, “It’s raining.” You’d be tempted to say, “它下雨了. (Tā xiàyǔ le.) ” After all, (tā) means “it”. Beware. This simple statement will immediately give you away as a beginner even if your Mandarin pronounciation is perfect. The Chinese do not use “it” as a filler. The correct wording is:

Xiàyǔ le.

If it’s raining heavily, don’t talk about raining cats and dogs or pitch forks, simply say:

Xià dà yǔ le.

Similarly, when you hear rolling thunder, you would say:

Dǎ léi le.

看到 (kàndào) means to see or to catch a glimpse of something.
大家 (dàjiā) means everybody or everyone.
(dōu) is an adverb that indicates the action is performed by mulitiple subjects.
(zài) has multiple meanings and uses. Here, it is added to the main verb to form the progressive tense.
(pǎo) is the verb “to run”.

Action words such as “rain”, “run”, “walk” and “stay” do not normally take an object. They are called intransitive verbs. This leads us to our next simple sentence pattern:

V. Noun + Intransitive Verb

Xiǎo gǒu pǎo le.
The puppy has run away.

Dàjiā dōu lái le.
Everybody has come.

Bàba zài shuìjiào.
Dad is sleeping.

Just as in English, the pronoun “you” is omitted from a statement issued in the imperative tone. Here are different ways to ask someone to sit down:

Sit. (Sit down.)

Qǐng zuò.
Please, sit. (Sit down, please. Have a seat, please.)

Qǐng shàng zuò.
Please, sit on the high (VIP) seat.

Acutally, all you have to remember is: 请坐. (Qǐng zuò. Sit down, please.) The above three statements are often cited to ridicule those people who look down upon the poor and fawn on the rich and powerful. Please note that in the above sentences, the word 请. (qǐng) is placed in front of the verb. Do not say, “坐,请. (Zuò, qǐng )”, as you would in English.

This is a good time to review the five sentence patterns that have been presented so far. As you acquire new Chinese words, think about how you would fit them into one of these sentence structures. It is so much easier to remember a new word when you can associate it with a meaningful context.

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