Compound Nouns (3 of 10): You put this in your coffee, you know?


One of the aspects of the Chinese language which I really like is the way it creates nouns by combining two simple nouns. These are called ‘compound nouns’.

For example, in Chinese, a computer is called: ‘electricity brain’ (‘dien-nau’). It is indeed a brain which uses electricity. That’s exactly what it is, so the name is perfectly logical. But in English, we say ‘computer’. But English does have many compound nouns – just not as many as in Chinese. So, let’s practise some compound nouns.

Match a word in A with a word in B to form a compound noun.

dining in-law
film sitter
brother machine
income book
writing room
washing star
cheque paper
baby tax

The answers to the previous post are: credit card, table tennis, T-shirt, ear-ring, sunglasses, parking meter, first aid, and pedestrian crossing. 

I’ll end with two questions. Look at the picture at the top of this post. (1) What is it called, and (2) why is it important? You can obviously realise what it is: another example of ‘tree-skin’ … er … sorry, that’s ‘Chinese English’ ….. I mean …. ‘bark’ …. but this bark is not as useless as you think. The answers to (1) and (2) are at the end of the previous post (2 of 10).

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