19 April 2012

Word riddles in teaching Chinese

As I always say, Chinese words are pictorial words. It helps children remember the words more easily if they can visualise the words. Also, various methods are used to combine parts to form more complex words. It makes learning more effective if we can break the words apart for the the children.

Have you heard of 字谜? Basically it's word riddles. You are suppose to guess the word using the words in the riddle (literally). For example, 十个太阳,十个月亮 = 朝. 太阳 is 日. When  break 朝 up into parts, it contains 十, 日, 十 and 月.

For older kids, you can play the word riddles game with them. For younger kids, you can use the clues in the word riddles as your resource and break down the words to something that is easy for them to visualise.  My son has learnt how to break the words apart to help him learn his 听写 words.    

Here are some word riddles I have consolidated from different sources. These are words that I think are more common to our children. It is also fun for us adults too. The list is not exhaustive. Do feel free to share with me if you know of other word riddles, or have invented some word riddles that are not in the list below =)

Riddles Answer Remarks
cut in between in the heart (心)
草木之中有个人    茶 人 between 草字头 and 木
千里相逢    重 千 and 里 overlap
山上还有山    出 1 山 above another 山
把米分给别人    粉 combine 米 and 分
一口吃掉牛尾巴    告 cut off the "tail" of 牛 and add a 口
兄有债    歌 兄=哥, 有债 means 欠钱. So 哥+欠=歌
句子多多    够 句+多
太阳挂在树顶上    果 太阳=日,树=木。日 hanging on 木 = 果
左边是女,右边是男,并排站立,人人称赞。    好 男=子。女+子
古时候的月亮    胡 古+月
七人头上长了草    花 草 refers to 草字头, 人 refers to 单人旁。单人旁+七+草字头 = 花
大口吃小口    回 smaller 口 inside (eaten by) a bigger 口
一家十一口    吉 十 + 一 + 口
说它小,下边大,说它大,上边小。              尖 look at "下边大,上边小". 大 on top, 小 at the bottom
前後一把刀    剪 前 on top + 刀 at the bottom
上下难分    卡 上 and 下 combine
一斗米    料 米 + 斗
林字多一半    梦 林 on top + half of 多 (ie, 夕) at the bottom
一根木棍,吊个方箱,一把梯子,搭在中央     面 a box hanging from a rod. A ladder inside the box (this riddle is very visual)
一月一日非今天    明 日+月
一只黑狗,不叫不吼    默 狗=犬。黑+犬
一人一张口,口下长只手    拿 人+一+口+手 (combine vertically down)
兩个月亮一起走    朋 月+月
一人在内    肉 another人 inside 内
一牛生兩尾    失 bottom of 牛 has 2 "lines"
又进村来    树 又 in between the parts of 村
十张口,一颗心         思 十 inside 口 + 心
多出各一半    岁 half of 多 + half of 出
坐定左右无人    土 坐 take away 2 people (人) from the left and right
一加一    王 加=plus symbol
有两个动物,一个在水里,一个在山上     鲜 fish in the water, goat on the mountain. 鱼 + 羊
生日到(倒)了    星 生 + 日 in the opposite way
大雨落在横山上    雪 横山 means you rotate the 山 to landscape. 雨 on top of the horizontal 山
田里跑到田外    叶 十 is inside the 田 word. Move the 十 from within to outside the 口
我没有他有,天没有地有    也 what is common between 他 and 地 is 也 (都有也) 
月亮切一半    用 1 cut (line) in between 月
朋友半边不见了    月 half of 朋 disappear
此人有口也有角    嘴 此 + 口 + 角
两人在土坡上    坐 2 persons sitting on a hill (土)

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Welcome to Happy Cottage!

I started 开心屋 - Happy Cottage because I have 凯 and 欣 in the house. Together they are the 开心 (sounds like) team.

Mommy loves Chinese language and is a big fan of Chinese story books. Thus the kids often receive interesting children Chinese story books from mommy. Many of the children Chinese story books are so beautifully drawn and well written that I like to read them myself.

Learning and loving the language is not an easy task in Singapore as our environment is not condusive enough for such learning. Thus I believe I have to create such an environment at home. Through daily communication in Mandarin and regular reading of the Chinese materials, I hope to cultivate their likings for the language. You can find many of the books in the Book Store.

Besides introducing children Chinese story books to you, I would also like to share some learning resources and tips on the usage of the language here. I've met some parents, in their best attempt to communicate with their kids in Mandarin, misread some words or used an incorrect sentence structure. You can find the information in the tabs above.

So, why is this blog written in English? I know of many parents who have kinda lost touch with the language. If I were to share in Chinese, then it may not be as effective.

Do come back often for more updates.