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禾 | A Beautiful Simple Character that You Can't Miss!

Dec.20, 2019

In the last post about characters, we talked about how many HSK1-3 characters are in Jing'an Temple Metro Station. What I wanted to tell you is that to learn the Chinese characters are not as difficult and abstract as you thought.

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But of course, I hope what you know/feel about the characters, goes far beyond the signs of the metro stations.

Chinese Characters, one of the most important Chinese culture basis, enjoy a long history along through the development of Chinese culture. They are blended into every Chinese people's "blood" therefore are still shaping the temperament and thinking of China today. I personally encourage every Chinese learner to learn characters as nowadays we are losing more and more connections with our ancestors and history. If you have an opportunity, don't miss it, seize this old writing system to open your oriental dimension.

Today, I'll introduce a beautiful character - "禾", a very simple character but also used very commonly as a component in many complicated characters:

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See? The shape of "禾" is like a rice crop bending with heavy ears. "禾" means crop and gain. Now, let's take a look at some characters containing "禾":秋, 季, 香.

1. 秋(qiū)- autumn

秋 contains "禾"(left part)and "火" (right part).

The oldest shape of "秋" is like this:

How to Start Learning Chinese Reddit  → Best Online Course to Learn Chinese

The top part is a cricket →Best Summer Camps for Kids; The bottom part is fire → How Can I Learn Chinese Language Online

People hear crickets chirp a lot when autumn comes, and the fire means farmers will burn the straw after the harvest to prevent pests.

So the ancestor took "cricket" and "fire", these two most typical items to symbolize the season of autumn.

Later on, people deleted the complicated "crickets" during the simplification and kept fire(火) and the straw-crop(禾) to interpret autumn.

Chinese Character

2. 季(jì)- season

季 contains "禾" (top part) and "子" (bottom):

"禾hé" means "crop" → I Want to Learn Chinese Language Online

"子zǐ" means "baby" →Learn Chinese Online App

季 originally means "young crop" with a 子(zǐ, baby)in the bottom to indicate the young stage.

Now the meaning of "季" drifts to "season, a certain period". But there's still a connection between "young crops" and "season" right? Here's a trick for helping memorize "季": young crops need a season to harvest.

Chinese Character

3. 香(xiāng)- good-smelling; good taste; fragran

香 contains "禾"(the top part) and "日" (the bottom part):

"禾hé" means "crop" →How to Learn Mandarin Online

"日rì" was derived from "口 (mouth)" →How to Start Learning Chinese Reddit

The Ancient Chinese people understand "fragrance" as a tasty grain from the crop.

Chinese Character-history

But I still prefer understanding  "香xiāng" as 禾(crop)+日(the sun): "the sun shines over the croplands". Imagine you are standing in the picture below. What you can smell isn't the definition of "香"?

Chinese Character

That's the "禾" story in Chinese characters! You got it?

Chinese characters are a magical window from where you can see ancestors' world through thousands of years from ancient to modern society, through all the evolutions and simplifications. Thanks to the characters, we still get to see the landscape that our ancestors saw; we still get to read these "thoughts" behind characters either trivial or grand.

That's all for today! I hope after reading all this, you will recognise "禾" in the characters more rapidly! I'll see you next time!
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