Chinese character challenges, August 2016

In Chinese by Olle Linge

chinese-character-challenges-augustIn a way, learning characters is easy. When you know roughly how characters work and how they are composed, learning a new character is not hard. The difficulty comes from the large number of steps you have to take, not the difficulty of each individual step.

However, relating characters to each other is also part of the challenge. How are they similar? How are they different?

The challenges in this article are meant to help you practice that by solving tricky character puzzles. The answers are posted at the very end of the article, but don’t peek unless you have really tried to solve the challenges on your own. Also note that while we only provide one answer here, some challenges could have more than one right answer.

Without further ado, let’s get on with this month’s Chinese challenges!

Chinese character challenges for August 2016

  1. Guess what character can form (common) words with all of the the following characters:
    老、 路、 園、 寓
  2. Find and fix the incorrect character in the following sentence:
  3. Which character does not belong in this group? Why?
  4. What character is this a mnemonic to?
    “When it’s clear, you can see the sun and the moon.”

Answers with explanations

  1. 公 can form common words with all the listed characters (老公, 公路, 公園, 公寓).
  2. 孓 should be 子 (it’s actually a different character; there’s also 孑)
  3. 千 does not belong because it has the final “-ian” whereas the others have “-an”.
  4. 明 (pictographs of sun and moon, and the meaning is “bright”).

As mentioned above, there are probably other possible solutions. Just because you didn’t find the solution listed here doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re wrong.

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