Chinese Words are Easy, but Maybe We Are BIASED

Word Structure: “Biased” 偏正式

This is part 7 of an 8-part series exploring all 7 types of Chinese compound word. Click below for the other parts:

Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6 – Part 7 – Part 8

Biased 偏正式

The second morpheme in a “Biased” word is the more important of the two. The first morpheme is merely describing the second morpheme. There are three types:

practice Chinese, Chinese Words are Easy, but Maybe We Are BIASED

The Characteristic of Nouns

practice Chinese, Chinese Words are Easy, but Maybe We Are BIASED
工人 gōngrén凡人 fánrén文人 wénrén
富人 fùrén外人 wàirén土人 tǔrén
穷人 qióngrén名人 míngrén黑人 hēirén
女人 nǚrén外国人 wàiguórén白人 báirén
男人 nánrén大人 dàrén 死人 sǐrén

All of these are people 人, and what characteristic each one has is described by the first morpheme.

工人 is a worker (worker person). 女人 is a woman(woman person) 富人 is a rich person, etc.

工具 gōngjù 刀具 dāojù玩具 wánjù

具 means “tool.” 工具 (work tool) is a general term for all tools, 刀具 (knife tool) is a knife that is specifically used as a tool, and 玩具 (play tool) is a toy for children. All are “tools” (the 2nd morpheme), and the first morpheme describes the characteristic of the tool.

中文 zhōngwén日文 rìwén英文 yīngwén

文 refers to the language, and which language it is referring to is explained in the first morpheme. Chinese (中), Japanese (日) & English (英)

Further Examples:

上 shàng – on, upon

早上 zǎoshàngmorning

山上 shānshàngon the mountain, on a mountain

光 guāng- ray or beam of light

月光 yuèguāngmoonlight

日光 rìguāngsunlight

灯光 dēngguānglamplight

水 shuǐ- water or liquid

口水 kóushuǐsaliva

白水 báishuǐclear water

自来水 zìláishuǐtap water

泉水 quánshuǐspring water

江水 jiāngshuǐriver water

河水 héshuǐriver water

湖水 húshuǐlake water

墨水 mòshuǐink

源 yuán- source, the source

来源 láiyuánsource (of something)

光源 guāngyuánlight source

水源 shuǐyuánwater source

河源 héyuánriver source

果 guǒ – fruit

水果 shuíguǒfruit (in general)

苹果 píngguǒapple

芒果 mángguǒmango

国 guó- country

中国 zhōngguóChina

美国 měiguóAmerica

英国 yīngguóEngland

外国 wàiguóforeign countries (outside+country)

内 nèi- within/in & 外 wài- outside, out of

国内 guónèidomestic (country+inside)

室内 shìnèiindoors (room+inside)

体内 tǐnèiinside the body (body+inside)

门内 ménnèiinside the door (inside+door)

国外 guówàiforeign (country+outside)

室外 shìwàioutdoor (room+outside)

体外 tǐwàioutside the body (outside+body)

门外 ménwàioutside the door (door+outside)

时 shí- time

小时- xiǎoshíhour (small+time)

到时 dàoshíat the time of arrival (arrive+time)

同时 tóngshíat the same time (same+time)

力 lì- power, ability

压力 yālìpressure, stress (press down+power)

能力 nénglìability (ability+power)

智力 zhìlìintelligence (wisdom+ability)

魄力 pòlìboldness (spirit+ability)

威力 wēilìpower, might (might+power)

人力 rénlìworkforce (person+power)

活力 huólìvitality (life+power)

火力 huǒlìfirepower (fire+power)

灾 zāi- disaster

火灾 huǒzāifire disaster

水灾 shuǐzāiflood (or any water-related disaster)

蝗灾 huángzāiPlague of locusts

First Morpheme adjusts the Second Morpheme

practice Chinese, Chinese Words are Easy, but Maybe We Are BIASED

热爱 rèài

ardently love, have a deep love for (hot/passionate & love, not just any kind of love, passionate love. “Love” is still the “biased” morpheme)

痛恨 tònghèn

hate bitterly, utterly detest (pain & hate, not just any kind of hate, hate that causes pain. “Hate” is still the “biased” morpheme)

迟到 chídào

to arrive late (late & arrive, not just any kind of arrival, late arrival. “Arrive” is still the “biased” morpheme)

轻视 qīngshì

belittle, look down on, underrate (not important & look at, not just “looking at” anything, looking at something with a feeling that it is unimportant. “Look at” is still the “biased” morpheme)

公审 gōngshěn

Open Trial (in court) (public & interrogate, not just any interrogation, a public one. “Interrogate” is still the “biased” morpheme)

公演 gōngyǎn

Public performance (public & performance, not just any performance, a public one. “Performance” is still the “biased” morpheme)

静坐 jìngzuò

Sit Quietly (quiet & sit, not just any type of sitting, quiet sitting. “Sit” is still the “biased” morpheme)

高涨 gāozhǎng

rise; upsurge; run high (high & rise, not just any kind of rise, a *high* type of rise. “Rise” is still the “biased” morpheme)

Modifying Adjectives

practice Chinese, Chinese Words are Easy, but Maybe We Are BIASED

These Biased words are similar to how we would make metaphorical comparisons in English like “as cold as ice” or “as straight as an arrow.” The second morpheme is still the more important; the first one is the “comparative” morpheme.

冰冷 bīnglěngCool as ice (ice & cool)

火热 huǒrèHot as fire (fire & hot)

笔直 bǐzhíStraight as a pen (pen & straight)

草绿 cǎolǜGreen as grass (grass & green)

雪白 xuěbáiWhite as snow (snow & white)

枣红 zǎohóngRed as a jujube (jujube & red)

银灰 yínhuīGrey like silver (silver & grey)

practice Chinese, Chinese Words are Easy, but Maybe We Are BIASED
Compound Words
28 March , 2019
Gain Instant Access To Our Curriculum