象形[xiang4 xin2] - The 象形method is when words are created based on what the object they represent looks like.
EXAMPLES: 山 - looks like three mountain peaks 月- looks like a crescent moon 門 - looks like two doors 人 - was derived from a picture of a person standing sideways
刀 - looks like a knife 口 - looks like a mouth.
指事[zhi3 shi4] - The指事 method derives words from the象形 method by adding small strokes to change the word, and show more specific meaning that is hard to describe with pictures.
EXAMPLES: 刃 - looks like刀but it has an extra stroke on the left to represent the knife's sharp edge 上 - derived from 一 but adds extra strokes on top to show the meaning of UP 下 - also derived from 一 but adds extra strokes under it to show the meaning of DOWN 三and 二 - are derived from一, but have extra strokes to show THREE and TWO respectively. 凶 - shows a hole in a ground「ㄩ」and someone walks inside「×」to represent bad things.
形聲[xing2 sheng1] - This method derives words by using a combo of one shape word and one pronunciation word. One side is what it is or its shape, the other side is its sound or a similar sound. EXAMPLES 櫻 - the木 shows that it is some kind of wood or tree, the嬰 is how it is pronounced. 籃 - the竹 shows that it is made of bamboo, the監 is how its pronounced. 齒 - the little 人's on the bottom represent the teeth, and the止 sound is similar to its own pronunciation. 期 -t he right side is its shape because the moon changes as the days change, and the left side is its pronunciation. 頭 - the left is its pronunciation, and the right is the shape of one's head, because it has a line on top which is like the hair and the box in the middle is like your eyes and the two leggy things is like a mustache. 盲- the top is its pronunciation, and the bottom is its shape, in this case it is an EYE because the word means blind.
會意[hui4 yi4] - this method uses two or more words to form a new word. EXAMPLES 酒 - the酉 is the container where the wine is made and the 三點水shows the relevancy to liquid form. 解 - means dissect, and the刀 shows how you use knives to cut it, the牛shows how you cut organisms, like a cow, and the角 means horn, so you use the knife to cut off the cows horns. 鳴 - means the bird's chirp. 鳥 is bird and 口 means that the bird is using its mouth to chirp. 尖 - means sharp, 小is at the top because the top of sharp things is pointy and small, and as the object gets 大-er as it goes down. Sharp objects are small at the top and big at the bottom. 歪 - means slanted or bent, so the word literally says NOT as 不, and STRAIGHT as 正. 涉 - means to traverse water while getting your feet wet. The三點水 shows relation to water, and the 步 shows footsteps. 美 - means beautiful and it has a sheep 羊and a big 大, which means BIG SHEEP, and big sheep means big bounty and big bounties are beautiful. You can get lots of wool and meat from a big sheep.
轉注[zhuan3 zhu4] - this method is used by taking two words that have similar strokes, similar sounds, and similar meaning. EXAMPLES 考,which used to mean old, and老both mean OLD. "顛" and "頂" both mean on top of your head. 竅and空 both mean empty.
假借[jia3 jia4] - this method uses words with different meaning but the same sound to make a new word. EXAMPLES 來 - used to mean "wheat" [麥], but was borrowed to mean come instead. 求 - used to mean fur [裘] but now means plead. 豆 - used to mean food container[器皿]but now it means bean. 花 - still means flower, but now it can also be used to mean spending, like spending money 「花錢」. 北 - used to mean back to back because the sun is always in the south so being north means it is facing away from the sun, but now it is borrowed to also mean north. 自 - used to mean nose"鼻" using the first method象形, but now it means yourself.
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