Thursday, November 8, 2012

Permit Access (permit+permit+exist+take)

The following word appeared in my flashcards this morning:
     yǔnxǔ cúnqǔ
     permit access

I remember the day when I added it to my flashcards! I was trying to log in to a Chinese-based website, and one of the buttons I was asked to press was [允许存取]. I had never seen this word before, so looked it up, and found it it means "permit access".

That seemed like a mouthful, so I dug a little further into the phrase to understand it better, and hopefully to be able to remember it in future.  In this short post, I want to do two things: (1) give you the chance to copy & paste this phrase into your flashcards if it's not there already; and (2) take you through my thinking while I dissected the word, in case that's helpful to you for your own learning.

My starting point in understanding the phrase was to consider the meaning of the characters, and for this I used the Heisig keywords:
     sufficient permit deposit take

What?  Here's another example of when using Heisig keywords doesn't help - although I am (as you probably know) a big fan of the method. Anyway, so let's try something more powerful ...

If you use a dictionary, you get a more meaningful breakdown of the characters:
     (permit) (access)
     = (permit permit) + (exist take)

And I guess that's why I thought this was an interesting phrase ...

 - The first word is an example which is made up of two characters, both of which have the same meaning as the word they make up. (permit+permit=permit)
 - The second word is made up of two characters which build up logically (access = take something that exists)

In future when you read or hear the phrase, you will automatically know what it means without having to dissect again. Practice helps! But when faced with new words & phrases, it's worth taking a few moments to explore them, and this is an example of how I did that.

PS. If you did not know the phrase before reading this article, and you haven't already copied it into your flashcards, you have to ask yourself why not?


  1. Here's another way to think of 存取... 'access' is not a bad gloss, but when you parse it as 存-取 as short for 保存 讀取, save / read information in the computer sense, it makes a lot of sense to me. You could also 存錢 and 取錢 deposit and withdraw cash at an ATM.

  2. Hello K, that's a really interesting observation - thanks.

    Firstly, using 存 as 'deposit' rather than 'exist' means we could write 'permit access' as (permit+permit)+(deposit+take). The first pairing is using words with the same meaning, while the second pairing uses words with opposite meanings. That's certainly an interesting alternative!

    And yes, I've also noted that there are many times when words are abbreviated ... like 高级管理 (high level)(management) is often written as 高管. Or 体格检查 is abbreviated to 体检. In this pattern, 1234 is abbreviated to 13.

    And that matches, for example, with your example above.

    So thanks again for the comment, great insight!