In Level 14 of The Mandarin Blueprint Method, students acquire the Chinese character 去, qù or (Go in Chinese), and several words that contain 去. First of all, with the acquisition of 去, you have the two main directional verbs in your arsenal – 来 & 去. ‘Come’ and ‘go’ function pretty much the same way in Chinese as they do in English. It’s all about your perspective. If something is moving away from the subject, use 去. If something is moving towards the subject, use 来 — simple stuff.
Go in Chinese is Such a Dynamic Character
Consider the words 去年 & 过去 show how 去 (go in Chinese) can function in the abstract. Sure, ‘going’ is somewhat obscure as it is, but at least you can visualize a car ‘going’ away from you. 去年 shows that what has gone is the year, hence why it’s last year. The things that are ‘experienced’ (过) and ‘gone’ (去) are in the past. Want to use the meaning of ‘to cross’ for 过? No problem, suddenly 过去 means “go over” (ant. 过来 “come over”).
Later, you’ll learn the word 去世 shì, which means “to go from the world” or “pass away.” It’s a gentle way to refer to death, but whoops, you make anything relate to death, and it will almost definitely evolve a harsh& insulting meaning like 去你的！(你 nǐ – you) – ‘Go die!’ -or- ‘f@#k you!’
Chinese is Rarely ‘Random’
It isn’t necessary to memorize these less common usages of the Character 去 or ‘Go in Chinese’ in this early stage. Still, it’s worth marveling at how consistently Chinese words & characters retain their sphere of meaning. In other words, Chinese is very rarely random. If you dig a bit, you can almost always figure out why a secondary or tertiary usage of a word exists. “Why the heck does 去年 mean ‘last year’?” you may have thought, but it does make sense.
Keep Falling in Love Over and Over
Mandarin Chinese is a beautiful language, and (spoiler alert) the feeling of awe about the language doesn’t stop; it only deepens. If you ever feel like your study is getting repetitive or lackluster, take a moment to step back and reflect on how glorious it is that you’re reading a PICTURE LANGUAGE holy moly. So there you 去. See you on the course.