Time for a new word-building, water edition! In today’s Play with the Chinese word, we explore the word 冲. When you combine it with a second word, you get a new Chinese word that is really fun to do. It’s also a great way to understand how word-building works in Chinese! Can you imagine what the Chinese word for to surf is? Surfing? Are you ready to hit the waves?
The answer is the Chinese word 冲浪:
[zh py=chōng làng]
[zh en=to surf]
It’s funny because the Chinese manage to give you a very clear idea of what surfing is about, just by associating words. Of course, it helps that these words literally show you what is going on when you surf. Think about it for a second: if you were to describe the action of surfing to someone who has no clue what it is, AND were only allowed to use two words, which would you pick?
Think about it for a second: if you were to describe the action of surfing to someone who has no clue what it is, AND were only allowed to use two words, which would you pick? Would you pick the ones the Chinese used to create the word 冲浪, to surf in Mandarin?
Let’s breakdown 冲浪 to understand the meaning of the invidual characters that compose it.
First, 冲浪 is composed of the character 冲
[zh en=to collide with]
Notice how the character 冲 contains 冫, a very useful semantic component to know, as well as the phonetic component 中?
The word 冲浪 also contains the character 浪
So in Chinese, surfing = colliding with waves! Can’t say we disagree with that way of putting it 😀
That’s all for today folks! See you next week for the next Play with Chinese words! In the meantime, have fun colliding with the waves!
In the meantime, we hope you have fun colliding with the waves!
The Nincha Team