Monday, October 19, 2015

A Character a Day 不

Attention please! There is a minor mistake I made in this video. The original writing of character 不 refers to a calyx, not a sepal, as sepal is each leave part of a calyx. 

Video script:
Hello everyone. Today I am going to tell you some story about this character to help you get better understanding of it, and hence remember it in a more meaningful way. This character sounds bu4, means not or no. First, let me show you how to write it.
The most important usage of maybe is used in a negative sentence. Such as, let's see two sentences examples.  我是医生。It means 'I am a doctor.'  That's a positive sentence.  我不是医生。 We add a in front of the character , to be , this character.  I am not a doctor.
One of the oldest writing of looks like this. What does it look like? Maybe you have your own answer. But some linguists think it represent the sepal. What is a sepal? Let's see a picture. Here I drew a flower. And we see the flower's petal. And this part will be the sepal. So the sepal works as a wonderful container. It supports and protects the beautiful flower.
I think this explains why this character means cup. Now I separate the two parts. We see the left part as character ,  means wood. The right part, we know the character,  has the meaning like 'container' , a beautiful container. So, maybe the first Chinese cup was made of wood.
Character finds many different characters as friends to form words. For example, 茶杯 means tea cup; 酒杯 means wine cup; 奖杯 means trophy cup.
also works as measure word. For example, 一杯茶 , a cup of tea;  一杯酒, a cup of wine.
Next time when you go to a Chinese tea house 茶馆. You can use this phrase to order a cup of tea:
请来一杯茶。 A cup of tea, please!
Or wait, maybe a cup of tea is not enough. I always order a pot of tea.
请来一壶茶。 A pot of tea, please!
That's all for today. I will see you soon. Thanks for watching.  :)