Tuesday, November 24, 2009

They "ran" to the end of the word

I have been so focused on learning to read & write Chinese, that I lost track of some of the fun stuff I was doing in Mandarin beforehand.

However, although I haven't provided any Wordpacks in Mandarin Segments for a while, I have actually been using them more and more often as I work my way through the first 1500 characters in Heisig's Book 1.

There has been one character that has been popping up quite often of late, which I think is really useful to know. Especially if you're learning Chinese :-)

The header image of today's Wordpack shows the hanzi for: rán​.   Dictionary definitions include:  like this / thus / correct. 

Aside: In Heisig's book it is defined as "sort of thing" - and the three primitives are 'flesh' (月), 'chihuahua' (犬) & 'cooking fire' (灬).  The image I have created isn't exactly the same as his ... mine is centred around a hotdog - which can be thought of as the flesh of a small dog, on a cooking fire.  It's not exactly what hotdog means - but it's the same 'sort of thing'.

And although the individual character's definition is very confusing (well, it is to me), you do see the word rán appearing in a number of common Chinese words, and so the goal of grouping them together into a Wordpack is to make it easier to memorise them and to recall them again in future.

当然    dāng​rán​:    Of course!
虽然    suī​rán:​    although
自然    zì​rán:​    natural / naturally
突然    tū​rán:​    sudden / unexpected
果然    guǒ​rán:​    as expected
偶然    ǒu​rán:​    incidentally / randomly

These are the ones I'm seeing most often.  If you want to see a full list, check here for dozens more example where a word ends with rán.

If you're quite new to Mandarin, I would say that as a minimum you should learn dāng​rán​ & suī​rán.

Are there any others you think are common enough to be worth mentioning? Drop us a note to let us know, and even just to say hi.


  1. Haha, that's funny that you actually said that because 当然 虽然 are the only ones that I know of the list above! Thanks for the 生词! :D


  2. Just popping in to say Happy Thanksgiving, Greg! Have a great weekend ;)


  3. Hi Kara. Hope you're having a great Thanksgiving weekend. Gives you a great chance to learn words like "Turkey" and "I've eaten so much I'm going to burst" :-)

  4. I just love this post, don't I?

    Here's another synonym for 突然 that also uses 然:

    忽然 hu(-)ran(/) :)


  5. Kara, glad you like the post. These words are actually really useful ones! I found that although I can speak in short sentences and thus avoid using these (if I choose to), when others speak Chinese to me they use these words often, so definitely worth learning.

    And thanks for the extra one!