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CHINESE BLOCKBUSTER The superscript number written to the right of the building block corresponds to its sequence number in the book and allows you to quickly reference the character or building block. Finally, the components making up a character are listed in the order in which they would be written. Appendix 5: Order for Writing Chinese Characters provides further details. PART 2 9. You will find in this part memory hints and mental images to help you memorize the character as well as other important things to remember, presented as a bullet list when there are more than one, as in Figure 1. In some instances, the ancient form of the character is provided when it may help you understand and remember the character under study, as is the case in Figure 1, where shows a hand begging for money. For this ancient form, we go back to the small seal script, created in the latter half of the 1st millennium BC, when the first emperor of China promulgated the standardization of Chinese calligraphy. Yes, the same emperor who had an army of terracotta soldiers built for his afterlife; a fascinating period in China’s history. This section also presents the fictitious meanings given to some characters in the book. In Figure 3, the character is given the fictitious meaning of road. The fictitious values are always written in italics and underscored with a dotted line when introduced. This is to remind you that when this character serves as a building block in another character, its value will appear in small caps and will be underscored with a dotted line as well (like ROAD in this case). A quick way to know if a character will ever be used as a building block is to look at its Definition and Mnemonics (if present) section. If no values are underscored by a solid line or a dotted line in both sections, as is the case in Figure 4, the character will never be used as a building block. Finally, illustrations often accompany the fictitious definitions in this section, as shown in Figure 3. 10. The Story section is the centerpiece of the whole presentation. This is where all the elements of a character (meanings, building blocks, pronunciation) are brought together in a memorable narrative. The meanings are written in italics, the components in UNDERLINED SMALL CAPS (solid or dotted line) and the sound word in bold. 20 二 十

USER GUIDE In certain situations, these various formats may be combined in a story. For instance, when a BUILDING BLOCK has the same value as one of the meanings for the character under analysis, it is written in ITALICS SMALL CAPS. Likewise, if the sound word has the same value as one of the meanings, it is written in bold italics. There may be cases where either the Mnemonics or the Story section is sufficient to convey a memorable narrative. Typically, only the Mnemonics section is used for ‘non-characters’ and very rare characters. PART 3 11. Seeing Chinese characters in combination with other characters is very useful to be able to read Chinese texts. As such, this section provides, except for very rare characters and non-characters, examples of usage to form words in modern Chinese, presented in a numbered list that corresponds to the numbered list in the Definition section. Most of the examples provided consist of two-character words (as most modern Chinese words are now written), but expressions and sentences are given as well. For economy of space, only simplified characters are used in the examples. Also, although it is usual practice to glue together the pinyin of each character forming a word, the pinyin pronunciation of each character is separated by a space in this series, to help you distinguish them better. In a few cases, a character is pronounced in the neutral tone when used in a specific word. For instance, one such example is the word 儿 子 (ér zǐ) which means ‘Son.’ While the character 子 is usually pronounced in the third tone (as shown by the accent above its pinyin), it is pronounced in this word in the neutral tone. To help you notice these special cases, the pinyin of the character, zǐ, will be underscored with a dotted line. 12. Because learning Chinese characters is so interesting, I am betting you will ‘want a little more.’ This last section indicates: • Whether the character is one of the 100 most common Chinese surnames, based on a report on the household registrations released by the Chinese Ministry of Public Security on April 24, 2007, for Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. • Whether the character is a heavenly stem or an earthly branch. Chinese people make use of ten ‘heavenly stems’ and twelve ‘earthly branches,’ i.e. characters that are used in enumerations (like we use A, B, C … or 1, 2, 3…) or in date calculations. If you are interested in Chinese history or want to understand the meaning of these characters that you may 二 十 一 21

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