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Word of the Day-Kai (open)

Posted: Thursday, January 27, 2011 By Ni Hao Books

The Words of the Day for today is 开,kāi (open). Just like the English language, a lot of words in Chinese have more than one meanings, or more appropriately, can be used in more than one situation/setting. One of these words that confuses both my kids is 开 (kāi). Both kids were exposed to Chinese first before English. They both knew 开门 (kāi mén) means "opening the door", 开灯(kāi dēng) means "turning on the light". Note 开 is used for both "open" and "turn on". So when their little minds started translating Chinese to English, they naturally would say things like "open the light". The same goes for 关灯 (guān dēng), which means "turn off the light". 关 can also be used in 关门 (guān mén), which means "close the door". So again, my kids would say things like "close the light". It was very funny hearing them talking like bad translators. But it was very interesting to see how their minds work.


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