Image courtesy of Chineasy.
Do you know that in China lots of single women try to get married between the age of 25 to 27?
The character for ‘marriage’ 姻, comprises the characters woman (女) and reason (因).
女 (woman) + 因 (reason) = 姻 (marriage)
An easy way to remember the character 姻 is to think of a reason ‘因’ for woman ‘女’ to get married.
There is another two-character phrase used for ‘marriage’ – 婚姻 (hun1 yin1).
You can check how the character 姻 is pronounced here http://bit.ly/1K0RWm9
姻 pinyin: yīn/yin1
This character is a combination of the 女 (woman) radical and 馬 (horse) radical. Together, the compound “媽” means “mother”. 女 (woman) represents the meaning of the compound, and 馬 (horse) represents its pronunciation. It doesn’t mean that moms have anything to do with horses!
媽 = 女 (Woman) + 馬 (Horse) = (Mother), (Mom), (Ma), (Mommy)
媽 as noun: mother, mom, mamma, aunt, maidservant, madam
P.S. The East is quickly adopting Western holidays and adding or merging them into traditional calendars and festivals. Mother’s Day has become increasingly popular in China, even though it’s not exactly an official holiday. Some may worry that it’s simply consumerism driving the adoption of western holidays, but, according to China’s “People’s Daily” newspaper, mother’s day was originally set up in China as a day to pay special attention to poor mothers. There have been many fundraisers and a special project titled “Project Happiness” to raise money for impoverished mothers in China.
長 can mean “long” (chang2) or “to grow” (zhang3) depending on how you pronounce it.
If 長 is pronounced as zhang3, it can also mean “eldest” in Chinese. So, when we put 長 (zhang3; eldest) and 子 (son; child) together, we have 長子, which means “eldest son”.
please note that 長 only mean “eldest” when it is used as an adjective. Don’t try to use it like the English noun “the eldest”, ok? Great 🙂
長女 = 長 (Elder) + 女 (Woman, girl, daughter) = (Eldest Daughter)
The first character in our phrase is the compound character 長, which means “long” or “length”.
長 can have different pronunciations depending on its contextual meaning:
長 (long) = chang2
長 (grow or elder) = zhang3
When 長 means “long”, we will pronounce it like this: chang2
長 as adjective: long, distant, profound, tall, good, deep, lasting
長 as noun: length, strong points
長 as adverb: permanent, very long
When it means “grow or elder”, the pronunciation changes to: zhang3
長 as verb: (PINYIN: zhang3), to grow (ex: 長大, pinyin: zhang3da4, zhǎngdà)
長 as adjective: (PINYIN: zhang3), chief, elder (ex: 長輩, pinyin: zhang3bei4, zhǎngbèi)
We’re already quite familiar with the character 女 (woman), but if you need to review you can check out the section below. As always, feel free to quiz yourself on some of the more uncommon definitions of this character.
女 as noun: woman, daughter, name of constellation
女 as verb: marry off a daughter, resemble a girl, become a female slave
女 as adjective: delicate, weak, female
女 as pronoun: refers to the Chinese character 汝 (ru3, you)
長女 as noun: eldest daughter