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【Learn Chinese】10 Very Easy Chinese Characters (Part 1)
Most people think that learning Chinese characters must be very difficult. But guess what? There are Chinese characters so straightforward that you can pick them up in mere minutes.
Here are ten of the simplest characters you’ll ever encounter.
One 一
We’ll start with the straightforward character for “one”: 一 (yī). It’s nothing more than a single horizontal line—how intuitive!
While it primarily represents the number “one,” it can also mean “a” or “an.”
Curious? With that logic in mind, see if you can guess the meanings of 二 (èr) and 三 (sān). Take a moment to think!
Person 人
Next is the character for “person”: 人 (rén). Originally designed to represent a human in profile, it now resembles a person in mid-stride.
Tip: Envision 人 as an individual on the move, taking steps. That help you to remember the meaning of 人.
Big 大
Building on what you’ve learned, add a horizontal line 一 atop 人 and voilà, and you have the character for “big”: 大 (dà).
Imagine someone with arms stretched wide as if they’re showing just how “big” something is.
Depending on its use, 大 can also convey “large” or “great.”
Small 小
Moving on, we have the opposite of 大: 小 (xiǎo), which stands for “small.” Historically, it was sketched to depict grains of sand—a fitting symbol for “smallness.”
Tip: Visualize 小 as something minute, perhaps like a tadpole darting in a pond.
No/Not 不
Now, let’s explore a character with a twist: 不 (bù). Beyond simply meaning “no,” 不 carries a negative connotation, akin to the English prefixes “un-,” “im-,” or “dis-.”
Tip: Picture the three bottom strokes as a path leading astray—a path you’d prefer not to take, symbolizing negation.