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Mandarin chinese picturedictionary




MANDARINCHINESE
PICTUREDICTIONARY
LEARN1,500KEYCHINESEWORDSAND
PHRASES

YiRen


Contents

ABasicIntroductiontoMandarinChinese
1
2
3
4
5
6


Sonicetomeetyou!
很⾼兴和您⻅⾯!
Myfamily
我的家
Myhouse
我的房⼦
Thehumanbody
⼈类的⾝体
Countingandnumbers
计数和数字
Dailyactivities
⽇常活动


7
8

Colors,shapesandsizes
颜⾊,形状与尺⼨
Opposites

反义词
9 Talkingaboutmoney
中国钱怎么说
10 Goingshopping
去购物
11 Lifeinthecity
城市的⽣活
12 Gettingaround
美好出⾏



13 Askingandgivingdirections
问路与指路
14 Talkingabouttheweather
关于天⽓
15 Tellingtime
谈时间
16 Yearsanddates


年和⽇期
17 Theseasonsoftheyear
⼀年的四季
18 Celebratingtheholidays
欢庆节⽇
19 Ilovetolearn
我爱学习
20 Atschool
在学校
21 LearningMandarinChinese
学汉语


22 CountingWords
量词
23 ComputersandtheInternet
电脑和⺴络
24 Ilovemysmartphone!
我爱我的智能⼿机
25 Atwork
谈⼯作

26 Musicanddance
载歌载舞


27 Seeingadoctor
看病
28 Protectingourenvironment
保护我们的环境
29 Theanimalkingdom
动物世界
30 Let’skeepfit!
让我们保持健康!
31 Doyouliketotravel?
你喜欢旅⾏吗?
32 Countriesoftheworld
世界上的国家
33 Foreignlanguages
外语
34 DoyoulikeChinesefood?
你喜欢吃中国饭吗?
35 PopularWesternfood
受欢迎的⻄⽅⻝物
36 Drinks
饮料
37 Freshfruits,nutsandgrain
新鲜⽔果,坚果和⾕物
38 Atthemarket
上市场
English-ChineseIndex
PhotoCredits


ABasicIntroductiontoMandarin
Chinese
Thisillustrateddictionarypresents1,500frequently-usedMandarin
Chinesewordsandphrases,includingthosethatstudentsneedto
knowtopasstheAdvancedPlacementChineseLanguageandCulture
Exam,andLevels1–3oftheofficialHSKgovernmentproficiency
exams.Thedictionaryisorganizedinto38themes,eachofwhich
presents25–35words.Eachsectionalsohasfivetoeightsentences
demonstratingtheusageofthewords.Thewordsandsentencesinthe
dictionaryallappearinthefollowingorder:Chinesecharacters
(Hanzi),followedbythepronunciationinstandardHanyuPinyin
romanizedform,followedbytheEnglishmeaning.
TheChinesecharacters
ItisoftensaidthatChinesecharacters(Hànzì汉字)arepictographs
orideographs,meaningthattheyliterallyrepresentapictureoran
ideaofsomethinginstylizedform.Longago,thismayhavebeen
true,anditisstilltrueforasmallnumberofbasiccharacters,though
mostofthesecharactershavechangedquiteabitovertime.Hereare
someexamplestogiveyouanideaofhowthesecharactershave
changed:


Most Chinese characters quickly evolved towards abstraction, as
different elements or pieces of characters were combined or fused
together to form new characters that no longer provided a literal
picture of something. As a result, only about 4-5% of the Chinese
characters currently in use are actually pictographs or ideographs.
Most of the characters are more abstract in nature, although certain
elementsofthecharactersmayretainacorepictographicmeaning.
For example, the character shù 树, meaning “tree,” has the
pictographiccharactermù⽊(representingatree)ontheleftsideof
it.Infact,manycharactershavingtodowithwoodorthingsmadeof
wood contain the mù⽊ element (this is commonly referred to as a
“radical”or“root”).Herearesomeexamples:lín林(forest),lán栏
(railing),yǐ椅(chair),andbǎn板(plank,board).Sometimesinthe
modernmeaning,thelinkto“wood”canbehardtosee,however.For
example,duǒ朵hasthe⽊radical,butmeans“earlobe”.Itisusedin
combination with the character ěr ⽿ to mean “ear” (ěrduō ⽿朵).
Theoldmeaningofduǒ朵,however,is“flower”or“blossom,”like
one you would see on a tree or bush. An earlobe might thus be
thoughtofas“thefloweroftheear.”
One reason Chinese characters became more abstract has to do
with pronunciation. The Chinese language long ago developed
differentregionaldialectswhichovertimebecameseparatelanguages
—asdifferentfromoneanotherasthelanguagesofEurope.Asthese
languageschangedandnewwordsdeveloped,peopleneededtoknow
how to pronounce the characters used for those words. Thus, for
example, an existing character which had the sound shù 尌 was
addedtomù⽊torepresentanewwordmeaning“tree”whichwas
pronouncedasshù樹.Here,theelement⽊indicatesthat樹means
“tree,”whiletheelement尌showshowitispronounced—asshù.In
morerecenttimes,thecomplicatedtraditionalform樹wassimplified
to树.Today,about80%ofallChinesecharacterscombineasemantic
element (something which gives meaning) and a phonetic element


(something which gives a clue to pronunciation). Here are some
examples:
waterradical⺡(avariationof⽔)+phoneticyáng⽺
(sheep)=yáng洋(ocean)
womanradical⼥+phoneticmǎ⻢(horse)=mā妈(mother)
rainradical⾬+phoneticlìng令(toorder)=líng零(falling
[rain];zero)
grassradical⻀(fromtheoldcharacter )+phonetichuà化
(tochange)=huā花(flower)
Inthecharactersabove,thephoneticelementaddsnothingtothe
meaning:itjustprovidesthesound.
As they became more complicated, Chinese characters also
becamemoredifficulttolearnandremember,aswellasmoredifficult
and time-consuming to write. The process of using simplified or
shorthandformsforthecharactershadbeengoingonforalongtime,
andwasaccelerateddramaticallyinthe1950sand’60sbytheChinese
government,whichcreatedsimplerversionsofmanycharacters—now
called“SimplifiedChineseCharacters”—topromoteliteracyinChina.
Under this new system, many common Hanzi elements were
simplified.
Forexample,whenyán⾔(tospeak)isusedasapartofanother
character,itisrenderedas⻈andnot .Thus,thetraditionalcharacter
qǐng (“please”)whichhasyán⾔ontheleftsideisnowwrittenas
请.Inothercases,wholecharactersweresimplified.Forinstance,the
commonlyusedcountingwordgè hasbeenchangedto个,andjǐ
(many) has been changed to ⼏ (this character can also mean
“table”). Here are some other examples of traditional and simplified
formsofcharacters: → 么me(what?); → 兴xìng(mood);
→ 问wèn(toask;question);and → ⼉ér(child).


WritingChinesecharacters
EachHànzìcharacterismadeupofanumberofindividuallinesor
“strokes”thatweretraditionallywrittenusingabrushandink.The
orderofstrokes,alongwiththewritingofthestrokesthemselves,
followstheconventionoftoptobottomandlefttoright,although
therearesomeexceptions.Notallstrokesareinasingleline;some
involveachangeofdirection.Forexample,thecharacteryuè⽉
(meaning“moon”or“month”)hasonlyfourstrokes,andiswritten:

Note that the second stroke begins at the left, and then hooks
straightdown.Itshouldbewritteninonecontinuousmotion,without
thepenorpencilleavingthepaper.
If a character has multiple components, the general rule is to go
from left to right, and from top to bottom. For example, this is the
strokeorderforthecharacterqǐng请(please):

Sometimes,oneelementofacharacterenclosesanothercharacter.
Thegeneralruleisthatyouwritetheenclosingelementfirst,except
forthefinalclosingstroke,whichiswrittenlast.Forexample,guó国
(country):

Finally, some characters have an element that encloses another
element,butonlyontheleftandthebottom.Inthiscase,youusually
writetheenclosingcharacterlast.Anexampleissòng送(tosend):


WordformationinChinese
InmostcasesinChinese,Hànzìarenotusedalonetoformwords.
Rather,wordsareformedwithtwoorsometimesthreeHànzì.In
somecases,thesameHànzìisjustrepeated.Thisisparticularlytrue
offamilynames,suchasmāma妈妈(mother),bàba爸爸(father)
anddìdi弟弟(youngerbrother).Inothercases,theChinese
charactersformcompoundnounsjustasinEnglish,forexample,
gāoxìng⾼兴(“highspirits,”i.e.,joyful),qǐchuáng起床(“riseup
[from]bed,”i.e.,wakeup)anddòuyá⾖芽(beansprouts).Finally,
therearemanycaseswherebothHànzìcharactersinawordhavethe
sameorverysimilarmeanings,forexample,yāoqiú要求(to
request),xuéxí学习(tostudy),andwǔdǎo舞蹈(dance).Insuch
cases,youmayonlyneedtoknowoneofthecharactersinthe
compoundtoguessthemeaningofthewordfromcontext.
Learningthecharacters
ThetraditionalmethodoflearningChinesecharactersistowritethem
overandoveragainthousandsoftimes,untiltheystickinyour
memory.Rotememorizationisstillrequiredtosomeextent,nomatter
what.ButitalsohelpsagreatdealifyoulearntheHànzì,either
individuallyorincombinations,aspartsofwordsorphrases.And,of
course,itisalwaysbetterifyouareabletospendtimeinaChinesespeakingcountrywhereyouareseeingandusingthecharactersallthe
time.Itisalsousefultoassociatethemeaningandpronunciationof
eachcharacterwithamemorablestoryorpicture(thesearecalled
“mnemonics”).Justtogiveyouanexampleofhowthisworks,the
characterqǐng请(please)ismadeoftheelementsyán⾔(tospeak)
andqīng⻘(green).Throughvisualizationorthroughastory,you
canlinkyán⾔(tospeak)andqīng⻘(green)inawaythatwillhelp
yourememberthatthesetwoelementscombinetomeanqǐng请


(please).LearningChinesecharactersisabitlikeapuzzleorgame
anditcanbequitefun!Therearemanybooksandflashcardsonthe
marketthatusemnemonicdevicessuchasthesetohelpyoulearnthe
Hànzì.
TheHanyuPinyinalphabet
ThesystemusedinthisbookforromanizingtheChineselanguageis
thestandardHanyuPinyinalphabet.Inthissystem,Latinlettersare
used.Mostthemhavepronunciationsquiteclosetothesoundsthey
haveinEnglishwords:
Pinyin
a
b
ch
d
f
g
j
k
l
m
n
p
s
sh
t
w
y

Pronunciation
“a”asincar
“b”asinbaby
“ch”asinchange
“d”asindad
“f”asinfat
“g”asingame
“j”asinjeep
“k”asinkettle
“l”asinlong
“m”asinmail
“n”asinnot
“p”asinpint
“s”asinsome
“sh”asinshop
“t”asintune
“w”asinwife
“y”asinyes

Chineseexample
kàn看
bóbo伯伯
chuānghù窗户
dà⼤
fēn分
gāo⾼
jiàn⻅
kāi开
lóu楼
māma妈妈
nín您
péngyǒu朋友
sì四
shénme什么
dìtiě地铁
wèi胃
yào要

Englishmeaning
tolook
olderbrother
window
large
cent
high
tosee
toopen
building,floor
mother
you(polite)
friend
four
What?
subway
stomach
towant

ThefollowingHanyuPinyinlettershavepronunciationswhichcanbe
slightlydifferentfromthestandardEnglishpronunciations:
e

“uh”asinduh,voicedinthebackofthethroat(Insomevowel


h
i

o

r

u
ü

combinationsandsyllablesendinginconsonants,itispronounced
“e”asinbed.)
“h”asinhotel(somespeakersstronglystressthehsothatitsounds
almostlikeaScottish“ch,”asinloch)
usuallypronouncedasalong“ee”asinfeet(However,afterthe
consonantsc,ch,r,s,sh,z,andzhtheiisnotpronouncedas
“ee,”butindicatesthattheconsonantshouldbedrawnoutwithno
vowelafterit.)
long“o”asinowe(exceptaftertheconsonantsb,f,m,andpitis
pronouncedasuo[“oo-uh”].)Thewordwo我[I]takesthissame
pronunciation:Itshouldbepronounced“woo-uh.”)
“r”asinrain(AlthoughsomenorthernChinesespeakerspronounce
theratthebeginningofasyllableinamoregutturalway,almost
likezh.Attheendofasyllable,rispronouncedasinthe“r”inthe
Americanpronunciationofstart.)
“oo”asinbootorroot
“ü”asinGermanorFrench(purseyourlipswhilemakingan“eu”
sound.)

ThefollowingHanyuPinyinlettersarepronouncedtotallydifferent
thaninEnglishandsoyouneedtopayspecialattentiontothese:
c
q
x
z
zh

“ts”asincats
“ch”asincheese(spokenwithawidecheekslikeyouaremaking
an“ee”sound)
“she”asinshe(Thesoundisclosertoadrawnout“s”followedby
an“ee,”ratherthanasimple“sh”.)
“ds”asinsands
acrossbetween“ch”and“j”(noEnglishequivalent)

Mostvowelandconsonantcombinationsflownaturallyfromthe
pronunciationsgivenabove.However,becarefulofthefollowing:
ei
er

“ey”asinhey
astheEnglishwordare;sometimesaserr


ian
iu
ou
ui
uo
ye
yi

likethewordyen,withanunstressed“y”
pronouncedasiou(e.g.,liù六[six]shouldbepronouncedLeoas
inLeotheLion,butwithoutstressingthe“e”)
“o”asinso
pronouncedasuei(e.g.,duì对[right,yes]shouldbepronounced
“doo-ey,”andshuǐ⽔[water]as“shoo-ey”)
“oo-uh”
“ye”asinyesterday
“ee”asinfeet(theyisnotpronounced)

WhiletoanativeEnglishspeaker,thePinyinletterschandq,sh
andx,andzhandjmaysoundidentical,nativeChinesespeakerscan
heardistinctdifferencesinpronunciation.Youshouldcloselylistento
theaudiotomasterthedifferencesinthesesounds.
Finally,innorthernChina,itiscommontoaddaguttural/r/atthe
end of nouns (to pronounce this sound, imagine a pirate saying
“Argh!”). To show this in Pinyin, an “r” is added to the end of a
syllable;inHànzì the character ⼉ is used. In most cases, the “r” is
merely added to the pronunciation of a syllable. However, when the
“r”isusedafterani,n,orng,thesesoundsaredroppedaltogether,so
yī diǎn ⼀点 (a little) becomes yī diǎnr ⼀点⼉ (pronounced “ee
dee-ar”), and xiǎohái ⼩孩 (child) becomes xiǎoháir ⼩孩⼉
(pronounced“shee-ow-har”).Theretroflex/r/isgenerallynotusedin
PinyinorHanziinthisbook.However,sinceitissocommonlyused
innorthernChina,Mandarinlearnersshouldbeawareofit.
Awordofwarning:PinyinisusedforromanizingChinesewords,
forteachingChinesetoforeigners,andforsomesignsandrestaurant
menus,butitisnot generallyusedforcommunicationwithinChina.
SincemanypeopleonthestreetmaynotbeabletoreadPinyin that
well,donotimaginethatitcanbeusedasasubstituteforHànzìora
substitutefororalcommunication.
Tones


MandarinChineseisatonallanguage.Thesamesyllablecanhave
severaldifferentmeaningsdependingonitsintonation.Asthereare
fourtones,eachChinesesyllableusuallyhasatleastfourdifferent
meaningsdependingonthetone,soyouneedtolearnthetonewhen
youlearnthepronunciationofasyllable.Hereisanexampleofthe
samesyllable,butwithdifferenttonesanddifferentmeanings:
1sttone
2ndtone
3rdtone
4thtone
5th(neutral)tone

mā妈(mother)
má⿇(hemp)
mǎ⻢(horse)
mà骂(tocurseortoscoldsomeone)
ma吗(questionmarkorparticle)

Thetoneofasyllableiscommonlywrittenbyaddingadiacritical
markabovethevowel,asshownabove.ThefourtonesinMandarin
Chinesecanbevisualizedinthefollowingchart:

Thefirsttonestartshighandstayshigh,likeholdingahighnote
whensinging.
Thesecondtonebeginsatamediumpitch,thenslowlyrises—like
youareaskingaquestioninEnglish.
Thethirdtonestartslow,drops,andthenrisessharply.


Thefourthtonebeginshighanddropsquickly.
In addition, there is a fifth, or neutral, tone, which is used for
syllablesthatarenotimportantorcompletelyunstressed.
Please note that in certain syllable combinations the tones can
change,butthischangeisnotreflectedinthewrittenPinyinforms.
It may be easier for some students to learn the proper
pronunciationofthetonesbypracticingwholephrasesandsentences
inChinese,ratherthanbyjustpracticingwordsinisolation.Listento
the online audio carefully, and practice repeating the phrases and
sentencesexactlyasyouhearthem,overandoveragainuntilyoustart
gettingitright.
Chinesegrammar
ThegoalofthisbookistoteachvocabularyandphrasesinMandarin
Chinese,allowingstudentstolearnChinesegrammarthrough
induction.Thatis,studentsseehowthegrammarisusedincontextfor
communication,anddrawconclusionsastogrammarrulesfromthese
observations.Havingsaidthat,hereareafewquicknotesonChinese
grammartogetyouoriented.
Generally,Chinesesentencesfollowthesamesubject-verb-object
word order as in English. However, unlike English, Chinese lacks
articles (a, an, the), verbs never change form (no tenses, etc.), and
pluralsarenotgenerallyused(thoughthereareexceptions).
TwofactorsthatmightbepuzzlingtoEnglishspeakersaretheuse
of counting words, and the use of particles. The most common
countingwordisgè个.Itisusedtolinknumberswiththenounsthat
follow.Forexample,inChinese,ifyouwanttosay“oneperson,”you
havetosayyígèrén⼀个⼈(notyìrén⼀⼈).Aparticleisasmall
word, like gè 个, which has no meaning in itself, but which is
grammatically necessary. The most common particles include de 的
(showing possessive), ma 吗 (a verbal question mark), and le 了
(oftenusedtosignifythepasttense).


TherearesurelymanyotheraspectsofChinesegrammarthatyou
willnoticeandlearnasyouusethisbook.
Howtousethispicturedictionary
First,whenlearningChinese,itisbesttoplaytoyourstrengths.Focus
onwhatyoudobest(forexample,speakingorreading),andcome
backandlearntherestlater.
Second,asthevocabularyinthisbookisarrangedbytheme,itis
best to approach this dictionary topically, rather than systematically.
Find the topics that are useful or of interest to you, and learn those
words first. Third, practice and use the words in context with the
conversationsandphrasesprovided.
Fourth,listentotheaudiorecordingsseveraltimesandreadorsay
theChinesewordsaloudasyoulookatthepictures.Youcanalsouse
yourfingertotraceout thecorrespondingChinesecharactersasyou
doso.Ifyouhavetime,practicewritingthecharactersinanotebook
oronblanksheetsofpaper.Thiswillhelpreinforceyourmemoryof
thevocabularyandphrases.
Finally,thispicturedictionaryshouldbejustabeginning,andnot
anend.Ifyoufindatopicthatinterestsyou,usetheinformationinthe
picturedictionaryasajumpingoffpointtolearnmoreaboutthattopic
inChinese.
Theindexattheendofthebookwillhelpyoufindthemeanings
of words you have learned, but which you may have forgotten. The
following information is included for each entry—the English word,
the Chinese word in simplified Chinese and spelled in Pinyin, the
lesson number and the order in which the word appeared in that
lesson, followed by the page number where the word appears. For
example:
English
word
abrief

Chinese
word
⼀段时间

Pinyin
yíduànshí

Lessonand
order
[15-30]

Pagein
book
39


moment

jiān

The free online audio contains recordings by native Mandarin
speakers reading all the vocabulary and sentences, so students can
quickly acquire the correct pronunciation. A link to download the
recordingscanbefoundonpage96.


1
很⾼兴和您⻅⾯!
Hěngāoxīnghénínjiànmiàn!
Sonicetomeetyou!




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