Classical Chinese/Vocabulary

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This is a list of basic verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and grammatical particles. Pronunciations used are from Mandarin Chinese (see Mandarin Chinese Tones).

Character Romanisation Meaning
I, me
tái you, thou
ěr you, thou, thus
wéi/wèi become, as, do, because, for
jìn near, close
yuǎn far, distant
yán word, speak, language
day, sun (not to be confused with 曰)
yuē say (not to be confused with 日)
I, me, we, us
chén I (used when speaking to a superior or for sign of respect; literally, servant, official)
jūn lord, ruler, monarch
guó country, state, nation, empire, kingdom, fief
large, great, big
xiǎo small, tiny
shàn good, virtuous, benevolent
hài bad, evil, corrupt
ē/wù bad, evil, hate
duō many, much, multiple
niǎo bird
dào the Dao; way, path, road; Daoism, school of thought
fēng wind, style, news
xìng/xīng growth, prosperity, flourish, grow
shì this, that, these, those
shì scholar, warrior, official, minister
earth, soil
shuǐ water
huǒ fire
jīn metal, money, gold
jīng Chinese Classic, sacred book
wood, tree
shí time, when, period
shì time, generation, world, era, epoch
tiān sky, heaven
shén spirit, god, soul, mysterious
zhì rule, govern, government
zhī know, knowledge, understand
jiù old, ancient, antiquated
law, method, way, Legalism
son; prince; sir; gentleman; you or him (depending on usage)
word, character
使 shǐ cause, make, enable, use, employ
to, in, for, at (depends on usage)
zuó yesterday

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