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58 DEFINITION Nine. PRONUNCIATION jiǔ 九 MNEMONICS SOUND WORD jThe old lady Let’s picture a very old lady here. (See ‘Special sound mnemonics,’ page 111) • Baseball. We give it the meaning of baseball in some of the stories because a baseball team has 9 players on the field and a regular game counts 9 innings. • Its ancient shape, , looks like a man getting ready to throw a ball. • You can also view the character as a fancy letter ‘n’, for nine. STORY The old lady, a bit senile, insists to be part of a young baseball team. “I’m a nine-year-old girl! Why can’t I play?” she asks. EXAMPLES 九 月 (jiǔ yuè) September. 明 天 九 点 (mínɡ tiān jiǔ diǎn) At 9 o’clock tomorrow. WANT A LITTLE MORE? Usage frequency: Top 500. 84 八 十 四

59 DEFINITION 1. Ten. 2. Complete; perfect. PRONUNCIATION shí SOUND WORD 十 Sherpa An ethnic group living in the Himalayas. They are often used as guides and porters during climbing expeditions. MNEMONICS • Cross, because of its appearance. • Needle, because of its resemblance with a syringe. • You can also picture this as the letter ‘t,’ for ten. • Its ancient form, , looks identical to the modern form: a complete, perfect ten. STORY Once the first part of the climb is complete, the Sherpa and his ten aspiring climbers all mark a pause at the base of the big cross. EXAMPLES 1. 十 个 人 (shí ɡe rén) Ten people. 2. 十 分 (shí fēn) Fully, completely, entirely. WANT A LITTLE MORE? • This is the 24th of the 214 Kangxi radicals. • Usage frequency: Top 500. 八 十 五 85