Learning Chinese, Part 2

Okay, so you’ve survived your fifteen hour flight to China, and you have successfully relieved yourself thanks to your knowledge of 女 and 男 while your fellow passengers have all peed their jeans.

Outside of restrooms, you’ll notice you don’t see 男 very much. But the character for woman/female pops up all the time.

The character for safe, secure, or peaceful, (an) is the character for woman (女) under a roof: 安
You’re most likely to encounter it on signs referring to safety or security. Like caution signs at transit depots imploring scooter drivers not to drive on the sidewalks.

Just kidding! Driving on the sidewalk is an ancient Chinese tradition, just like walking in the street. A more sensible 安 sign might remind passengers to hold onto their belongings and to watch their step.


安 is second from the right on the bottom.

Or to please pay attention to those attention-whore monkeys:


If you combine the character for woman, 女, and the character for son or offspring, 子, it means good: 好 (hao) ‘Cause if you’ve got a woman and a son, things are pretty good.

And you put 好 (good) together with the character for you, 你, (ni), you’ve got 你好.

Ni hao.

Which means “You good.” Or as we say in English, Hello.

You’ll never need to write or read “hello”, but now you know what all those taxi drivers outside the station have been yelling at you.

Actually, no. If there’s one English word taxi drivers know how to say, it’s “Hello”. They will call it out to you as you walk down the street. As you eat your lunch. As you exit your shower. Everywhere, “Hello! Hello! Hello!” It’s the first word drivers learn at Taxi Driving English Academy.

Entering the taxi, you discover it is also the last.

About sinestor

Originally from Los Angeles/Long Beach, California, I'm currently spending a year exploring the amazing world known as China. My main website is Every Day's a Holiday.

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