Bianging around with Biang

After writing that blog post about the crazy Chinese character “biang a while back, I had to share this tweet by Alexander Zapryagaev @JPRidgeway about biang:

You think you saw biang? Get ready for:

  • to make a biang sound
  • to biang something
  • wild biang in the forest
  • chemical element biangium
  • to catch a biang in the river
  • River Biang
  • to eat biang
  • it’s raining biang
  • World Capital of Biang
  • the demon of Biang
Bianging around with Biang

This is a great illustration of how character components can impart meaning by combining with another character. If you’re a beginner to Chinese characters, you probably still recognize a few of these components. (Feel free to ignore the craziness that is biang!)

Learners: why not try the same exercise with a character that is not biang? You might accidentally “create” a character that already exists, but this is pretty cool in itself, because you can compare your own meaning with the actual meaning and learn something in the process!


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.

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