The Chinese Alphabet Letter “A”









月 (yuè) Moon


Picture a crescent moon and you have a Chinese pictorial symbol of the moon. The first and the second strokes form the outline of the moon. The third and fourth strokes are two horizontal lines within the outline. Remember to make two strokes by relating to the fact that the moon is the second brightest object in the sky.


What is the brightest object in the sky? The sun, of course. The Chinese character for the sun is 日 (rì). It looks like a rectangular outline of the sun with one horizontal line within. Think of it to represent the number one brightest object. When you write this character, make sure it’s tall, not wide and not square. If you write it like this: 曰, with its width greater than its height, then it’s a different character with a different meaning. 曰 (yuē) means “say.” You see this most often in the Analects of Confucius (論語, Lúnyǔ). In this book there are hundreds of sentences the start with 子曰 (zǐ yuē), meaning “Confucius says . . .” The first character 子 (zǐ) represents 孔子 (Kǒngzǐ), which is Confucius.


The Chinese character 日 (rì) — The Sun

日 (rì) — The Sun


The Chinese character 曰 (yuē) — Say

曰 (yuē) — Say


子 (zǐ) of 子曰 (zǐ yuē) means “Confucius says . . .”曰 (yuē) of 子曰 (zǐ yuē) means “Confucius says . . .”

子曰 (zǐ yuē) means “Confucius says . . .”


論 (lún) of 論語 (lún yǔ) — Analects of Confucius語 (yǔ) of 論語 (lún yǔ) — Analects of Confucius

論語 (lún yǔ) is Analects of Confucius


月 (yuè) also means month. We will see this character again later.


What happens when you combine the sun and the moon, the brightest and the second brightest objects in our sky, into one character, like this, 明 (míng)? You get a character that means bright or clear!


明 (míng) means bright or clear.


How about placing two moons next to each other, like this, 朋? 朋 (péng) means friend or companion.


朋 (péng) means friend or companion.

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