Chinese Culture

Enjoy Your Future
- Culture (1)
Carmen Li
from Hong Kong SAR, China
Chinese Culture - Language
6 categories of Chinese Words
Chinese Language
Unlike English alphabets, each Chinese character represents
a monosyllabic Chinese word or morpheme (smallest
grammatical unit in a language)
In 100 CE (AD 100), the famed Han Dynasty scholar Xu
Shen classified Chinese characters into six categories:
Pictographs (象形)
Simple Ideographs (指事)
Compound Ideographs (會意)
Phonetic Loans (假借)
Phonetic Compounds (形聲)
Derivative Characters (轉注)
The oldest Chinese characters
Stylized drawings of the objects they represent
Of these, only 4% were categorized as pictographs, including
many of the simplest characters
Have a Guess!
Simple Ideographs
Characters that are direct iconic illustrations
上 (shàng) : up
下 (xià) : down
originally a dot above and below a line
Compound Ideographs
Xu Shen placed approximately 13% of characters in this
Translated as logical aggregates or associative compounds,
these characters have been interpreted as combining two or
more pictographic or ideographic characters to suggest a
third meaning
休 (xiū) : rest
composed of the pictograms 人 : person and 木 : tree
酒 (jiǔ) : wine
composed of 酉 : wine brewing container and 水 : water
Phonetic Loans
Covers cases where an existing character is used to
represent an unrelated word with similar or identical
Sometimes the old meaning is lost completely
自 (zì) : its original meaning of "nose” has lost
completely and exclusively means "oneself” now
萬 (wàn) : originally meant "scorpion" but is now used
only in the sense of "ten thousand”
Phonetic Compounds
Xu Shen placed approximately 82% of characters into
this category
Composed of two parts
one of a limited set of characters (the semantic indicator,
often graphically simplified) which suggests the general
another character (the phonetic indicator) whose
pronunciation suggests the pronunciation
Phonetic Compounds
河 (hé) : river
湖 (hú) : lake
have a radical of three short strokes on the left, which is a
simplified pictograph for a river, indicating that the
character has a semantic connection with water; the righthand side in each case is a phonetic indicator
鎂 (měi) : magnesium
have a radical of 金, which is a simplified pictograph for
gold, indicating that the character has a semantic
connection with metal; the right-hand side in each case is
a phonetic indicator
Derivative Characters
The smallest category of characters
Also the least understood
The term does not appear in the body of the dictionary, and
is often omitted from modern systems
考 (kǎo) : to verify
老 (lǎo) : old
similar old Chinese pronunciations
may once have been the same word, meaning "elderly person",
but became lexicalized into two separate words
Cultures in Hong Kong
Hong Kong (HK)
Cultural Background
Majority of Hong Kong's
people are ethnically Han
From 1842 to 1997, HK
was under the rule as a
separate British colony for
155 years
Political separation from
the rest of mainland
China have resulted in a
unique local identity
Cultural Background
Elements of Traditional
Chinese culture
combining British western
influences have shaped
Hong Kong in every facet
of the city
Spanning from law,
politics, education,
language, food, and the
way of thought…
“Biliterate and Trilingual”
Official Languages
(Traditional) Chinese
Spoken Languages
Let’s try!!!
What’s your Chinese name?
Let’s learn to write your Chinese name and
some Chinese blessing phrases on Red Banners!!
Chinese New Year (CNY)
Chinese New Year is an
important traditional
Chinese holiday
Also known as the Spring
1st day of the 1st month in
the Chinese Lunar
CNY Origin
According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started
with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nian
Nian would come on the first day of New Year to eat livestock, crops, and
even villagers, especially children
To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at
the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nian ate the food
they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people
One day people saw that the Nian was scared away by a little child wearing red.
The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the color red
Every time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang
red lanterns and red spring scrolls (RED BANNERS!!) on windows and doors
People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian. From then on, Nian
never came to the village again
Common Blessings
恭喜發財 : Wishing you prosperity
招財進寶 : May money and treasure be plentiful
生意興隆 : Business prospers
出入平安 : Wishing you safety wherever you go
萬事如意 : Everything goes as you hope
青春常駐 : Full of youthful vigour
和氣生財 : Harmony brings wealth
學業進步 : May you excel at your studies
Common Blessings
一本萬利 : May you make great profits
步步高昇 : Be promoted to a higher position
花開富貴 : Fortune comes with blooming flowers
身壯力健 : Be healthy and vigorous all year
金玉滿堂 : Treasures fill the home
新春大吉 : Good fortune in the New Year
心想事成 : May all your wishes come true
龍馬精神 : The energy of a dragon and a horse