Tuesday, 14 March 2017

少 | shǎo

In Mandarin Chinese, (Pinyin: shǎo 🔊) means “few”, “less”, “not many” and such.

Uncle Hanzi says that is derived by augmentation from (xiǎo) “small”. The modern form of this character makes me think of a lonely samurai carrying a long curved sword. It’s safe to say that by now there are only a few samurai left in the world. The key word to remember is “few”.

Have you heard of Shaolin Monastery or Shaolin Kung Fu? The name 少林 (Shàolín) consists of — which, in turn, is an abbreviation for 少室山 (Shàoshìshān), “Shaoshi mountain” — and (lín) “forest”. Maybe that can help remembering the pronunciation of , although, you may have noticed, there is a tone change (shǎoshào) when is used in combination.

More photos of sea glass @ Shutterstock.

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