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Chinese Characters - The Use of The Same Left Radical

By Sujanti Djuanda

Beginner Chinese learners often have a hard time remembering difficult Chinese characters. Once you understand the meaning of Chinese radicals, in particular the same radical on the left, you will have a much easier time.

Here you can learn how to use Chinese character radicals of the left and right structured, such as 妈【mā=mother】which is formed by the radical on the left 女【nǚ=female】and the character 马【mǎ=horse】.

1. The Left Radicals 亻【rén】 , 女【nǚ】and孑【zǐ】

a. As the radical on the left, 亻【rén】 is often used to describe anything that related to a person. For example:

  • 你【nǐ=you】
  • 他们【tāmen= they】
  • 像【xiàng= likeness (of somebody)】

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b. As the radical on the left, 女【nǚ】is often used to describe anything that relates to a female. For example:

  • 她【tā=she】
  • 妈妈【māma=mother】
  • 姐姐【jiějie=older sister】

c. As the radical on the left, 孑【zǐ】is often used to describe anything related to a child. For example:

2. The Left Radicals 忄【xīn】, 礻【shì】

a. As the radical on the left, 忄【xīn】is often used to describe anything that relates to heart. For example:

  • 怪【guài= strange, odd】
  • 怕【pà= fear, dread】
  • 快【kuài= hurry up, happy】

b. As the radical on the left, 礻【shì】is often used to describe anything that relates to spirit. For example:

3. The Left Radicals氵【shuǐ】 , 火【huǒ】and冫【bīng】

a. As the radical on the left 氵【shuǐ】 is often used to describe anything related to water. For example:

  • 汤【tāng=hot water soup】
  • 浇水【jiāoshuǐ= watering】
  • 河【hé= river】

b. As the radical on the left 火【huǒ】is often used to describe anything related to fire. For example:

  • 炒菜【chǎocài=stir-fry, sauté】
  • 烤【kǎo= bake, roast, toast】
  • 烟【yān= smoke】

c. As the radical on the left, 冫【bīng】 is often used to describe anything related to ice. For example:

  • 冰【bīng=ice】
  • 冷【lěng= cold, frosty, cool】

4. The Left Radicals口【kǒu】, 扌【shǒu】, 足【zú】and目【mù】

a. As the radical on the left, 口【kǒu】is often used to describe anything that related to mouth. For examples:

  • 唱【chàng=sing】
  • 叫【jiào=shout, call】
  • 吃【chī=eat】

b. As the radical on the left, 扌【shǒu】 is often used to describe anything that related to hands. For examples:

  • 拍【pāi= clap】
  • 按【àn= press, push down】
  • 握手【wòshǒu= shake hands】

c. As the radical on the left, 足【zú】is often used to describe anything that related to feet. For examples:

  • 跑【pǎo=run, escape】
  • 跳【tiào= jump, leap】
  • 跟【gēn=heel, follow】

d. As the radical on the left, 目【mù】 is often used to describe anything that related to eyes. For examples:

• 眼睛【yǎnjing=eye】

• 眼眶【yǎnkuàng= eye socket】

• 眯【mī= narrow (one's eyes)】

5. The Left Radicals 饣【shí】, 米【mǐ】and 木 【mù】

a. As the radical on the left, 饣【shí】 is often used to describe anything that related to food. For examples:

  • 饭【fàn= cooked rice, meal】
  • 饼【bǐng= biscuit, a round flat cake】
  • 馒头【mántou=steamed bread】

b. As the radical on the left, 米【mǐ】 is often used to describe anything that related to rice or seed. For examples:

  • 粮【liáng=grain】
  • 米粉【mǐfěn=powder】
  • 糯稻【nuòdào=glutinous rice】

c. As the radical on the left, 木【mù】is often used to describe anything that related to tree or wood. For examples:

  • 树林【shùlín= grove】
  • 根【gēn= root of a plant】

6. The Left Radicals 犭【gǒu=dog】, 虫【chóng】and鱼 【yú】

a. As the radical on the left, 犭【gǒu=dog】is often used to describe anything that relates to an animal. For example:

  • 狗【gǒu= dog】
  • 猫【māo=cat】
  • 猴子【hóuzi=monkey】

b. As the radical on the left, 虫【chóng】is often used to describe anything that relates to an insect. For example:

  • 蝇【yíng=fly】
  • 蟋蟀【xīshuài=cricket】
  • 蜂【fēng= bee, wasp】

c. As the Chinese character radical on the left, 鱼 【yú】is often used to describe anything that relates to fish. For example:

  • 鱿鱼【yóuyú= squid】
  • 鲵【ní= salamander】
  • 鲒【jié= oyster】