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Ed Jaggard's Chinese Words for Week of 01-26-98

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shu4 sheng2

twist tie

shu4 - to bind; bondage; a bundle
sheng2 - rope, cord

Twist ties are cool. I hoard them. Whenever something comes into the house with a twist tie, I unwrap it and save the twist tie in a special drawer. You never know when you'll need a twist tie. Twist ties are one of those little modern conveniences that we've come to take for granted. I bet you never thought you'd see the Chinese word for twist tie!

February 1, 1998


ji3 ya1 shi4 su4 jiao1 ping2

plastic squeeze bottle

ji3 - to squeeze, press, crowd
ya1 - pressure
shi4 - type; style
su4jiao - plastic
ping2 - bottle

Here is the name of something you're all probably very familiar with. From supermarkets to kitchens to recycle/trash, plastic squeeze bottles are ubiquitous in our daily lives. Enjoy the word!!

January 31, 1998


diao4 chuang2


diao4 - to hang; hanging
chuang2 - bed

I'm feeling a little tired today, so I give you the word for hammock Q - hanging bed.

And that's it for today!!

January 30, 1998


mu4 tong1

akebi (vine)

mu4 - wood; tree
tong1 - 1. to go, move or flow unobstructed 2. to communicate; exchange; interchange 3. to lead to; reach 4. understand thoroughly; be versed in 5. let through 6. smooth; fluent 7. open; passable 8. overall; general 9. thorough 10. common; popular

Akebi is a plant that forms vines which are used in parts of Asia for making baskets and other objects.
I wasn't quite sure what meaning of q would apply to this word, so I listed multiple meanings of the character above. Meaning number 10 might apply - common, popular. "I just don't know!" (from a scene at the end of "Birdcage".)

January 29, 1998

Arts and Crafts Akebi vine crafts

Gifu Prefectural Food Processing Research Center
A look at other potential uses for akebi

die2 qi3

fold up; pile up

die2 - 1. to fold up; to pile up 2. to repeat; duplicate 3. a stack of (banknotes)
qi3 - 1. to begin; to start 2. to rise; get up; stand up; go up 3. to happen; occur; take place 4. to unfold; uncover 5. to build; establish 6. numerary adjunct for incidents

I included this word because of the initial character | . You don't run across this character too often, but it's unique form makes it relatively easy to identify and remember. I believe that the character _ in this word is just a sort of verbal adjunct that emphasizes the basic meaning of the first character. True Sinologists and linguists out there may differ with my amateur opinion and if so, my e-mail address is indicated elsewhere on this web page.

January 28, 1998


hui2 wen2 zhen1


hui2 - zigzag; winding
wen2 - stripes; lines; streaks; veins
zhen1 - needle; pin; probe

Paperclips are common enough objects. We see them every day. But how do you say paperclip in Chinese?? Here you are. It has a moderately descriptive name alluding to the shape. hui2 (zigzag) really says it all (especially if you've ever taken one and bent it out of shape). wen2 (lines; stripes) adds a little more to it and zhen1 (needle; pin; probe) firms it up. Now go and put postits with the Chinese characters jw on all your paperclips to reinforce this word.

January 27, 1998


gun3 xue3 qiu2

roll a snowball

gun3 - to roll round and round
xue3 - snow
qiu2 - ball; sphere; globe

Rolling snowballs seems appropriate for this time of the year, at least in this part of the country. The character gun3 pops up occasionally in various compounds. One of the more interesting is in combination with the character for egg (dan4) - gun3dan4, which means "Beat it!!; Get out!!!; Go away!! or even "Get the hell out of here!". There are times when that can be a useful phrase. But today we are rolling snowballs.

January 26, 1998

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