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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Remembering 獸 forever

What the hell is this thing? What a crazy 野獸!

I'm not really sure why, but 獸 has been an elusive character for me for quite some time. I always seem to get it wrong when ever I want to talk about beasts (野獸) or Unicorns (獨角獸), which is more often than some would care to admit. I however find unicorns to be totally badass (or at least the mystical properties of their blood) and would love to be able to actually write the word at will should I choose to. So after months of struggle (I have a 62.5% success rate writing it on Skritter) I figured it was time to do something about it.

Rather than just copy the character a zillion times onto paper like I would have in my formative years of Chinese study, I decided to step back and actually look at the character, specifically the left side of the character, and find a way for it to stick in my head. See, the issue I was having at first was that it reminded me a bit of the left side of 顫; at least just enough to through me off, but upon closer inspection the difference is huge.

Take a look at the left side. What do you see?
So how did I remember this character forever? I came up with a sick mnemonic worthy of its very own blog post. You see, rather than try to remember all the stokes of the left side I broke them down into little components, and came up with 口、口、田、一、口, basically a bunch of characters that I could write after just a few days of studying Chinese. Once I did that it dawned on me. 獸 is the character for beast or wild animal (see image at top of blog), and everyone knows that beasts are mean and ferocious... so in order for the left side to really stick in my head I just pictured some kind of crazy dog feral (because of 犬 on the right), or rather two crazy feral dogs (口、口) entering a field (田) and fighting to the death until one (一)dog (口) walked away the victor.   

Seriously, how could I forget how to write it now?


  1. Awesome mnemonic Jake! I need to make more of these myself.Funny thing is, though I don't get too lazy to skritter, I will get too lazy to bother making mnemonics often - not smart, i know.

  2. You know the left side of the character actually looks to me like the head of the beast. Lemme explain. The two 口 口 are the eyes, the 田 is the nostril/nose (see picture of the dragon you posted for inspiration), then the 一 is the moustache and the last 口 is the mouth :)

  3. That is the great thing about mnemonics, everyone has something that works. For me using the original meaning of the components helps to solidly meaning, but everyone learns using different tactics. Thanks for sharing yours!

  4. Oh great, now *I* know it forever. (roll eyes) Thanks a lot.

    (school starts tomorrow so I'm practicing my ungrateful sarcasm.


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