In lieu of an introduction, I thought to share some of my favorite Mandarin Chinese characters with all of you.
??: ? bing3
This is a beautiful food-related word that doesn't translate perfectly into English. Somewhat similar to the French crepe or 'galette', a ? is a generally delicious and very thin flatbread or pancake. Usually round, examples include ?? bing3gan1 which means 'cookies' or English-style biscuits and ??? 'green onion pancakes' as frequenters of Northern-influenced Chinese Restaurants might be aware. Given its flexibility and overall tastiness, it will point you in the direction of some lovely things on your average menu. If it's a ?, I'd generally recommend it!
??: ? zhou1
Another food-related word, I love this one especially for its visual appeal. 'Zhou' is congee, or rice porridge, a beloved Chinese breakfast food. Sometimes eaten with ?? (you2tiao2, fried Chinese breadsticks) and generally savory, ? is a staple all over China and beyond. The hanzi has the character ? mi3 for rice right in the center of it, which makes sense, since that's what its typically made of!
In spite of my adoration of Chinese cooking, this character might be my favorite. It belongs to the fabulous family of toneless exclamations like ?, ? and ? and it may be the most commonly used. It's pronunciation says it all, turns out screaming "Aaah!" is multilingual. Examples include "?????~!“ [Ah! So cuuute (as that)!] and “???” (Aaa, so tired!). It definitely adds a little 'fluent flavor' and becomes pretty fun and addictive to use.
Do any of you have favorite characters so far? I'd love to hear them!