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The Chinese language is unique in that it consists of just about 425 morphemes. Morphemes are words with a meaning that cannot be further divided. One could say, Chinese consists of just 425 unique words. All further meanings are derived from double meanings, from combining words, and from pronouncing them in a different tone.
To further explain the term morpheme: the English word "house" is a morpheme. It is a word with a meaning that cannot be divided into other words with a meaning. The English word "housewife" is not a morpheme. It is a combination of two morphemes, "house" and "wife". The letter sequence "ouse" is not a morpheme: it does not have a meaning. The letter sequence "use" is a morpheme, but "house", even though the letter sequence "use" is contained in it, is not a combination of two morphemes, "ho" and "use". Rather, the sequence "use" only accidentally occurs in the written representation of the morpheme "house".
To learn to speak Chinese, it is important to be aware of the very limited number of morphemes in this language. Because this awareness is so important, this dictionary starts with listing below the 425 morphemes of which the Chinese language builds all meanings.
For each morpheme, we have an own page. But please be aware that while we are ordered like a standard Chinese dictionary, our learner's dictionary is not complete. Rather, it suggests for each morpheme which meanings should be learned to arrive at a basic knowledge of Chinese.
a, ai, an, ang, ao
ba, bai, ban, bang, bao-3, bao-4 bei, ben, beng, bi, bian-1, bian-4 biao, bie, bin, bing-4, bo, bu
ca, cai, can, cang, cao, ce, cei, cen, ceng, cha, chai, chan, chang, chao, che, chen, cheng, chi, chong, chou, chu, chua, chuai, chuan, chuang, chui, chun, chuo, ci, cong, cou, cu, cuan, cui, cun, cuo
da, dai, dan, dang, dao, de, deng, di, dia, dian-3, dian-4, diao, die, ding, diu, dong, dou, du, duan, dui, dun, duo
fa, fan, fang, fei, fen, feng fo, fou, fu
ga, gai, gan-3, gan-4, gang, gao, ge, gei, gen, geng-1, gong, gou, gu-4, gua, guai, guan-1, guan-3, guang, gui, gun, guo
ha, hai, han, hang, hao, he, hei, hen, heng, hong, hou, hu, hua, huai, huan, huang, hui, hun, huo
ji-1, ji-2, ji-4, jia, jian, jiang-1, jiang-3, jiao, jie, jin, jing, jiong, jiu, ju, juan, jue, jun
ka, kai, kan, kang, kao, ke, kei, ken, keng, kong, kou, ku, kua, kuai, kuan, kui, kun, kuang, kuo
la, lai, lan, lang, lao, le, lei, leng, li, lia, lian, liang, liao, lie, lin, ling, liu, lo, long, lou, lu, luan, lue, lun, luo, lv
ma, mai, man, mang, mao, me, mei(1), mei(2), mei(3), mei(4), men, meng, mi-4, mian, miao, mie, min, ming, miu, mo, mou, mu
na, nai, nan, nang, nao, ne, nei, nen, neng, ni, nian, niang, niao, nie, nin, ning, niu, nong, nou, nu, nuan, nue, nuo
pa, pai-1, pai-2, pan, pang, pao, pei, pen, peng, pi, pian-1, pian-4, piao, pie, pin-1, ping, po, pou, pu
qi , qia, qian, qiang, qiao, qie, qin, qing, qiong, qiu, qu, quan, que-4, qun
ran, rang, rao, re, ren-2, reng, rong, rou, ru, ruan, rui, run, ruo
sa, sai, san, sang, sao, se, sen, seng, sha, shai, shan, shang, shao, she-2, she-4, shei, shen, sheng, shi, shu-1, shu-4, shou, shui, shua, shuai, shuan, shuang, shuo, song, sou, su, sui, sun, suo-3
ta, tai, tan, tang, tao, te, tei, teng, ti, tian, tiao, tie, ting, tong, tou, tu, tuan, tui, tun, tuo
wa, wai, wan, wang-4, wei, wen, weng, wo, wu
xi-1, xi-2, xi-3, xia, xian, xiang-1, xiang-3, xiang-4, xiao, xie, xi, xin, xing, xiong, xiu, xu, xuan, xue, xun
ya, yan, yang, yao, ye-3, yi, yin-1, yin-4, ying, yo, yong, you, yu, yuan, yue, yun
za, zai, zan, zang, zao, ze, zei, zen, zeng, zha, zhai, zhan, zhang, zhao-1, zhao-3, zhao-4, zhe-2, zhe-4, zhei, zhen, zheng, zhi zhong, zhou, zhu, zhua, zhuai, zhuan, zhuang, zhui, zhun, zhuo, zi, zong-1, zou, zu zuan, zui, zun, zuo
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