|Pinyin||shì (fourth tone)|
|Pronunciation is a bit like 'shur' as in 'shire' in 'yorkshire'.|
This widely used character is not quite the same as the English 'am, is, are' existential verb, it has much more of the meaning of confirmation and correctness. It is often used as 'yes' in response to a question. The character is made up from the element for the sun (ri) with the character for straight, correct (zheng).
It has the same sound as shi meaning 'ten' but has a fourth rather than a second tone. This is the reason why tones are so important in Chinese. Another example of homophones and the importance of getting the tone correct is that mǎi - to buy is only distinguished from mài - to sell by a change of tone.
|he||is||south||capital||person||= He comes from Nanjing|
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