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Ed Jaggard's Chinese Words for Week of 02-23-98

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C - qi1 sai1 man2


qi1 - seven
sai1 - gill (of a fish)
man2 - eel

The lamprey is an odd looking aquatic vertebrate that has suckers instead of jaws. They tend to be parasitic, attaching themselves to other fish by means of their sucker mouthparts.

March 1, 1998

The Lamprey Family

Zoology Class Dissects Lampreys
Definitely check out this link!!!

qi4 men2

air valve (as on a bike tire)

qi4 - air; gas; vapor; atmosphere
men2 - door; gateway; opening

Here is another of those obvious, everyday words that are not always the easiest to find at the time you're looking for them.

February 28, 1998


tie3 gong1 ji1

iron cock - stingy person; miser

tie3 - iron (Fe)
gong1 - male (animal)
ji1 - chicken
gong1ji1 - cock; rooster

Once in a while I find a new word or expression in another language that brings a smile, chuckle or laugh. When I first ran into this word, I couldn't suppress a laugh. And then came admiration for a very descriptive term for a miser - an iron rooster or iron cock. And of course, part of the humor was based on the slang usage of the word cock in English, which probably doesn't play a role in this word in Chinese. For those of you familiar with the slang term ji1ba5 in Chinese, there is a tenuous connection.

Anyhow, every time I run across this word in my review program, I smile.

February 27, 1998


mei3 fen1 zhong1 zhuan4 shu4

rpm; revolutions per minute

mei3 - each; every
fen1zhong1 - minute
zhuan4 - turn; revolve; rotate; revolution
shu4 - number; a count

Here's a common and useful term from the field of mechanics or mechanical engineering.

February 26, 1998


shi2 zi4 gou1 tou2

phillips head (of a screw)

shi2 - ten; complete; (in this word - used for its shape)
zi4 - word; character
shi2zi4 - a cross
gou1 - groove
tou2 - head

Here you are!! The Chinese for the "other" type of screw (other than flathead, that is.) The word is obviously refers to the shape of a phillips head screw.

February 25, 1998


shou4 huo4 ji1

vending machine

shou4 - to sell
huo4 - commodities; goods; products
ji1 - machine

This is a pretty straightforward word and its component characters spell out the meaning. For Chinese word review, I would favor giving this word in English with the answer given in Chinese.

February 24, 1998



ren2 lei4 ji1 yin1 zu3 ji4 hua4

Human Genome Project

ren2lei4 - man; mankind; the human race
ji1yin1 - gene
zu3 - organize; form
ji1yin1zu3 - genome
ji4hua4 - plan; project; program

Here's a word from the forefront of modern science. As you can see, it's a compound word consisting of several component words which will greatly inflate my dictionary attached to this web project. Take special note of the word for gene - ji1yin1. The characters were obviously chosen for their phonetic value, but the characters ji1 (base, foundation; primary, base; radical, base [chem]) and yin1 (cause, reason) or, roughly, "basic cause", have a conceptual value as well. (All this speculation is my own personal opinion.)

I've found some interesting web sites that address the Human Genome Project. The one from the U.S. DOE has quite a bit of info about the science behind the project.

February 23, 1998

To Know Ourselves: The U.S. Department of Energy and the Human Genome Project
An overview of the science underlying the Human Genome Project.

Human Genome Centers

HUGO - The Human Genome Organisation

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