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Marc Wandschneider is a professional software developer with well over fifteen years of industry experience (yes, he really is that old). He travels the globe working on interesting projects and gives talks at conferences and trade shows whenever possible.

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Jun 17, 2009 | 22:42:12
Super Special - Getting your own Chinese Character
By marcwan

A few hundred times a day, I run across a Chinese character that I’ve never seen before. Or – quite frequently – one that I’ve seen and looked up a dozen times, but for which I can never remember the meaning. I make a point of getting off my butt once or twice a day to look it up again. On rare occasions, I will be rewarded with a character whose meaning is: itself.

My favourite two examples so far are:

  • 崂 (láo)
  • 兖 (yǎn)

The first is typically defined as “The 崂 in 崂山 (láoshān)”. 崂山 is a national park / nature area near the city of Qingdao (青岛) in Shandong (山东) province. The 崂 character really has no other use apart from the occasional transliteration of a foreign sound

Similarly, 兖 refers to the Yan River and the major city which lies on it, Yanzhou (兖洲 – yǎnzhōu). That’s it.

You know you’ve made it big in China when you get your own character (汉字 – hànzì) that a zillion Chinese kids have to study and memorise.

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