The Chinese character 言

And its component form


  1. speech
  2. words
  3. to say
  4.  to talk

The Chinese character 言 is composed of 口 kǒu which means mouth. Do you see it?

言 is both a character and a character component

Everything you need to know about the Chinese character component 火 fire in an easily downloadable and sharable image

can be used as a meaning component in a Chinese character. You’ll find 言 in characters and words related to speaking.

These characters all contain 言:


to warn

to give an example


oath; vow; to swear; to pledge

to interrogate; to question

When used as a character component 言 can also change shapes.

The component 言 is usually easy to spot, once you know it can also take another form.

You can find the character component 言 looking like this in words like:

rèn : to recognize; to know; to admit

shuō : to speak; to say; to explain; to tell off; to scold; a theory

Do you see how the Chinese character component 言 in this讠shape is always placed on the left?

You’ll also find the meaning component 言 in many other Chinese characters. Browse the full list here.

All 80,000+ Chinese characters share the same character components. Chinese character components are therefore essential for Chinese learners: they are the building blocks of Chinese. Character character components help tremendously with understanding a character: they provide information on its meaning or on its pronunciation. In short, knowing character components will help you analyse, learn and remember each Chinese character much better.

Join us on Ninchanese as we teach you everything about the Chinese character components you need to know, little by little.

Related: Explore the key character components to know one by one, with this selection of meaning components and phonetic components.

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NinchaneseChinese Character Component 言 speech (meaning)