Sunday, 5 March 2017

山 | shān

In Mandarin Chinese, (Pinyin: shān 🔊) means “mountain”.

Why ? Easy: think of three mountain peaks. Historical forms of this character look even more like children’s drawings of mountains.

Combining (fire) with , we get a word for volcano: 火山 (huǒshān). Now recall the word for sky, (tiān). If we stick it in front of , we get 天山 (Tiānshān), “Mountain of Heaven”, the name of a great mountain range in Central Asia. That’s how I remember the pronunciation of . For Russian speakers, or indeed anybody who is familiar with Cyrillic alphabet, there is an additional mnemonic: looks very much like Ш, the first letter in the Шань.

More photos of mountains and sea glass @ Shutterstock.

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