Learn Chinese word radical – Feather

Eagle

Eagle Painting

The word 羽 (yǔ) consists of a pair of feathers showing the shafts and a couple of the barbs on the vanes. In everyday speech, feathers are called 羽毛 (yǔ máo).

Badminton is called 羽毛球 (yǔmáoqiú) because traditionally the shuttlecocks were made with real goose feathers. Badminton bats are called 羽毛球拍 (yǔmáoqiú pāi).

你打羽毛球吗?
Nǐ dǎ yǔmáoqiú ma?
Do you play badminton?

To keep themselves healthy, birds will preen their feathers several times a day. To keep one’s reputation intact, a person would mind his conduct and dealings. This is referred to as 爱惜羽毛 (àixī yǔmáo).

他太爱惜羽毛, 因此做事过于谨慎.
Tā tài àixī yǔmáo, yīncǐ zuòshì guòyú jǐnshèn.
He cares too much about his reputation, so that he is too cautious in doing things.

Whereas the 羽 (yǔ) radical is shown completely in the Traditional Chinese word 習 (xí), the Simplified Chinese version of the word is reduced to just one feather, 习 (xí).

习 (xí) originally describes how birds fly back and forth repeatedly. The meaning has been extended to refer to repeating certain actions, as in practicing something or having a habit.

学习 (xuéxí) means to learn, and 见习 jiànxí means to train on the job. To study on your own is 自习 (zìxí), and 练习(liànxí) is to practice.

不管你学什么, 多多练习是很重要的.
Bùguǎn nǐ xué shénme, duōduō liànxí shì hěn zhòngyào de.
Regardless of what you study, it is important to practice a lot.

As a noun, 习惯 (xíguàn) is a habit. As a verb, it means to be accustomed to something. 坏习惯 (huài xíguàn) is a bad habit, and 恶习 (èxí) is a vice.

这里经常下雨, 我们已经习惯了.
Zhèlǐ jīngcháng xià yǔ, wǒmen yǐjīng xíguàn le.
It rains often here, and we are accustomed to it.

Here is another way to put it, using a four-character Chinese idiom:

这里经常下雨, 我们早就习以为常.
Zhèlǐ jīngcháng xià yǔ, wǒmen zǎo jiù xíyǐwéicháng.
It rains often here, and we’ve been accustomed to it since long ago.

The formal word for wings is 翼 (yì). In every day speech we call wings 翅膀 (chìbǎng). The 羽 (yǔ) radical features prominently in both words.

小心翼翼 (xiǎoxīnyìyì) means with great care, or cautiously.

不翼而飞 (bù yì ér fēi) is a commonly used Chinese idiom that means to disappear all of a sudden (taking off without wings).

如虎添翼 (rúhǔtiānyì) refers to redoubled power, like a tiger that has grown wings.

有了一百辆坦克车加入他强大的阵容, 这将是如虎添翼.
Yǒule yībǎi liàng tǎnkè chē jiārù tā qiángdà de zhènróng, zhè jiāng shì rúhǔtiānyì.
With a hundred tanks joining his powerful battle array, this will be like a tiger with wings.

Following are a few more commonly used words that include the 羽 (yǔ) radical.

翔 (xiáng) is to circle in the air. This word is made up of the character for goats and a pair of feathers. 飞翔 (fēixiáng) is to fly and 滑翔 (huáxiáng) is to glide in the air. The glider aircraft is called a 滑翔机 (huáxiángjī).

好久没看到滑翔机了。
Hǎojiǔ méi kàn dào huáxiángjīle.
I haven’t seen a glider for a long time.

扇子 (shànzi) are handheld fans, while 电风扇 (diàn fēngshàn) or 电扇 (diànshàn) are electric fans. Fans made with real feathers are called 羽毛扇 (yǔmáo shàn).

煽动 (shāndòng) is to incite. Notice how the word 煽 (shān) also takes on the fire radical.

翁 (wēng) and 老翁 (lǎowēng) refer to men or old men. A millionair is called a 百万富翁 (bǎi wàn fùwēng).

When speaking of someone with an ulterior motive, you could say,

醉翁之意不在酒.
Zuì wēng zhī yì bùzài jiǔ.
The old tippler’s heart is not in the cup.

蹋 (tà) is to stamp one’s foot or to step on something. 糟蹋 (zāotà) is to spoil, waste, wreck something, or to abuse someone.

把碗里的食物吃完, 不要糟蹋东西.
Bǎ wǎn lǐ de shíwù chī wán; bùyào zāotà dōngxi.
Finish eating the food in the bowl; don’t waste things.

With the “soil” radical on the left side, 塌 (tà) means to collapse. Therefore, 倒塌 (dǎotā) means to collapse or to topple down. 一塌糊涂 (yītāhútú) means a whole mess, and 死心塌地 (sǐxīntādì) means to have one’s heart set on or to be hell-bent on doing something.

分开了50年, 她依然死心塌地的爱着他.
Fēnkāi le wǔshí nián, tā yīrán sǐxīntādì de àizhe tā.
After 50 years of separation, she still loves him with all her heart.

摺 (zhé) is to fold. 摺紙 (zhézhǐ) means folding paper, or origami.

寥 (liáo) means few. 寥寥无几 (liáoliáo wújǐ) is an idiom that means very few.

翡翠 (fěicuì) is jade. 翠绿 (cuìlǜ) is emerald green.

翻 (fān) means to turn over. 翻滚 (fāngǔn) is to tumble. 翻车 (fānchē) refers to the rollover of a vehicle.
天翻地覆 (tiānfāndìfù) is an idiom describing total confusion and chaos, or being topsy-turvy.

翻脸 (fānliǎn) or 闹翻 (nào fān) means to have a fall out with someone and no longer be friendly with that person.

他们为了争夺女友而闹翻了.
Tāmen wèile zhēngduó nǚyǒu ér nào fān le.
They fell out fighting over the same girlfriend.

翻译 (fānyì) means to translate from one language to another.

推翻 (tuīfān) means to overthrow or to overturn.

翻山越岭 (fān shānyuè lǐng) is a Chinese idiom describing an arduous journey climbing over many mountains.

廖 (liào) is a Chinese surname. This word is the answer to an interesting riddle you can find in Chapter 24 of “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes“.

中秋節快樂!
Happy Moon Festival!

Pizza Time in Chinese

Home-made Pizza

Home-made Pizza

Well, the Chinese translation for “Pizza time!” depends on how you interpret this expression:

來吃比萨!
Lái chī bǐsà!
Come and eat pizza!

來做比萨!
Lái zuò bǐsà!
Come and make pizza!

Pizza is a popular fast food that originated in Italy. 意大利 (Yìdàlì) means Italy, and 意大利人 (Yìdàlì rén) refers to Italians. If you are interested in making pizzas, you will find the links to a few relevant YouTube videos as well as a link to Mel’s quick and easy foolproof pizza dough recipe in the following conversation.

你知道怎么做比萨吗?
Nǐ zhīdào zěnme zuò bǐsà ma?
Do you know how to make a pizza?

应该不会太难吧.
Yīnggāi bùhuì tài nàn ba.
It shouldn’t be too difficult.

我喜欢看维拓的示范.
Wǒ xǐhuān kàn wéi tuò de shìfàn.
I like to watch Vito’s demonstrations.

他做的比萨看来近乎完美.
Tā zuò de bǐsà kànlai jìnhu wánměi.
The pizzas he makes appear to be nearly perfect.

我想向他学习.
Wǒ xiǎng xiàng tā xuéxí.
I would like to learn from him.

如何甩比萨? 掉到地上怎么办?
Rúhé shuǎi bǐsà? Diào dào dì shàng zěnmebàn?
How to toss a pizza? What if it falls on the floor?

你可以用一条湿毛巾来练习.
Nǐ kěyǐ yòng yī tiáo shī máojín lái liànxí.
You could use a damp hand towel to practice.

光是等酵种发好就要十二到十六小时.
Guāngshì děng jiào zhǒng fā hǎo jiùyào shí’èr dào shíliù xiǎoshí.
Just to wait for the poolish to be ready will take 12 to 16 hours.

我不能等那么久. 我饿了.
Wǒ bùnéng děng nàme jiǔ. Wǒ è le.
I cannot wait that long. I’m hungry.

那么, 我们来做简易的那一种.
Nàme, wǒmén lái zuò jiǎnyì de nà yī zhǒng.
Well then, let’s make the quick and easy type.

谢谢. 这种其实也蛮好吃.
Xièxiè. zhèzhǒng qíshí yě mán hǎochī.
Thank you. This kind actually tastes quite good, too.

If making pizzas is not your cup of tea, perhaps you could try your skill at playing this simple Spinning Game.

To learn the names of some common food items, please read Chapters 20 and 21 of “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes“.

父亲节快乐!
Fùqīnjié kuàilè!
Have a Happy Father’s Day!

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