Basic Language | Men

Previous Index Next 
men : plural people Pinyinmén (second tone)
EnglishIndicates plural for people
Sounds like 'man' in 'woman'

One of the beauties of Chinese is that some concepts are so elegant that you wonder why other languages do not follow the same scheme. In English there is no distinction between 'you' singular and 'you' plural and other languages have at least six different pronouns. The Chinese have the wo, ni, ta for single people pronouns and a single extra character to indicate more than one. So adding 'men' to 'wo' (I) gives 'women' (we) , with 'ni' (you) gives 'nimen' (you plural) and with 'ta' (he,she, it) gives 'tamen' (they). The pictogram once again uses the person element (or radical) to make it clear it concerns people combined with the symbol for a gate. This is an example of a phonetic character, as the sound is the same as for gate (men) so the two are only distinguished in the written form by the addition of the ren (person) radical in front.

mén shì yīng guó rén
ta : she men : s shi : is; yes; correct ying : flower; hero; english guo : country; kingdom ren : person
he/she (plural) are english country person = They are English people

Copyright © SACU 1965-2017. If you have any comments, updates or corrections please let us know via our Contact page.