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 zǎoshàng

morning

山上 shānshàng

on the mountain, on a mountain

光 guāng- ray or beam of light

月光 yuèguāng

moonlight

日光 rìguāng

sunlight

灯光 dēngguāng

lamplight

水 shuǐ- water or liquid

口水 kóushuǐ

saliva

白水 báishuǐ

clear water

自来水 zìláishuǐ

tap water

泉水 quánshuǐ

spring water

江水 jiāngshuǐ

river water

河水 héshuǐ

river water

湖水 húshuǐ

lake water

墨水 mòshuǐ

ink

源 yuán- source, the source

来源 láiyuán

source (of something)

光源 guāngyuán

light source

水源 shuǐyuán

water source

河源 héyuán

river source

果 guǒ – fruit

水果 shuíguǒ

fruit (in general)

苹果 píngguǒ

apple

芒果 mángguǒ

mango

国 guó- country

中国 zhōngguó

China

美国 měiguó

America

英国 yīngguó

England

外国 wàiguó

foreign countries (outside+country)

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

国内 guónèi

domestic (country+inside)

室内 shìnèi

indoors (room+inside)

体内 tǐnèi

inside the body (body+inside)

门内 ménnèi

inside the door (inside+door)

国外 guówài

foreign (country+outside)

室外 shìwài

outdoor (room+outside)

体外 tǐwài

outside the body (outside+body)

门外 ménwài

outside the door (door+outside)

时 shí- time

小时- xiǎoshí

hour (small+time)

到时 dàoshí

at the time of arrival (arrive+time)

同时 tóngshí

at the same time (same+time)

力 lì- power, ability

压力 yālì

pressure, stress (press down+power)

能力 nénglì

ability (ability+power)

智力 zhìlì

intelligence (wisdom+ability)

魄力 pòlì

boldness (spirit+ability)

威力 wēilì

power, might (might+power)

人力 rénlì

workforce (person+power)

活力 huólì

vitality (life+power)

火力 huǒlì

firepower (fire+power)

灾 zāi- disaster

火灾 huǒzāi

fire disaster

水灾 shuǐzāi

flood (or any water-related disaster)

蝗灾 huángzāi

Plague 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 bīnglěng

Cool as ice (ice & cool)

火热 huǒrè

Hot as fire (fire & hot)

笔直 bǐzhí

Straight as a pen (pen & straight)

草绿 cǎolǜ

Green as grass (grass & green)

雪白 xuěbái

White as snow (snow & white)

枣红 zǎohóng

Red as a jujube (jujube & red)

银灰 yínhuī

Grey like silver (silver & grey)

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