Friday, February 20, 2009

Shui - Water Water Everywhere!

Shui means water, and boiled, among other things. It's such a basic thing, that we can now use some of the characters we've already learned to look at the whole names of some simple dishes.

As a radical, it indicates liquid, including oils and sauces. That radical is one that looks different than the base character. It may look like three dots splashing off to the left, as we saw yesterday with hai, or the lower dot could take on a little more structure and look like a bent stick. The difference depends on the font, and I'll try to mix it up in the next few days so you can see both versions in the illustrations. (For those who missed what a radical is, here's the post about radicals.)

How to remember: Shui splashes down like a waterfall, irregular and rushing. The character it most looks like is tree 木. Tree, however is very solid and symmetrical. (Fire 火 also looks a little like water, and so we'll get to that soon too, now that we're into cooking methods. I'll just point out that fire looks more ephemeral, less weighty.)

The Pinyin spelling is shuǐ or shui3 (third tone)

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