字. July 2010

  • 搬家

    bānjiā - move house

    I moved house today, which involved hiring a van and carrying all my belongings up two flights of stairs.

    咱们考虑一下搬家的利弊吧。
    Let's consider the pros and cons of moving house.

  • 开始

    kāishǐ - begin

    I picked this word despite knowing it for some time because it seems appropriate, since today I started my new postdoc job.

    我今天开始新工作。
    I started my new job today.

  • 藻类

    zǎolèi - algae

    My new job will involve research into the algae, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.

    我研究藻类。
    I do research on algae.

  • 鞭毛

    biānmáo - flagellum

    Like my PhD, my postdoc involved research on flagella, only this time in algae, not trypanosomes. Like the English, the Chinese for flagellum is from the word to whip. Below is a sentence from Baidu.

    纤毛和鞭毛由3个主要部分组成:中央轴纤丝、围绕它的质膜和一些细胞质。

    Cilia and flagella have three main components: the central microtubules, the surrounding membrane and some cytoplasm.

  • gài - calcium

    My postdoctoral research will be into calcium signalling in algal flagella, so I might as well learn the word for calcium. It probably won't be very useful except for discussing my work.

    我们每天需要些钙。
    We need some calcium everyday.

  • 信令

    xìnlìng - signalling

    As I mentioned in the previous post, my postdoc will involve research into cell signalling. Interesting, the Chinese word consists of the character for 'a letter' and 'to command'.

    细胞形态和活动中的信令网
    Signalling networks in cell shape and motility

  • 探望

    tànwàng - visit

    Today Victoria visited me in Plymouth and realised that I don't really know the word for visit, although go and see would probably work fine. The character, 望, is interesting because I know it to mean 'hope', but it can also mean 'expect', 'gaze into the distance', 'full moon' as well as 'visit'. 探 basically means 'to explore'.

    我们出国前匆匆探望了她一次。
    We paid her a fleeting visit before leaving the country.

  • 阳台

    yángtái - balcony, porch

    I picked this word because today, Victoria and I sat in the sun on my balcony, drinking gin and tonic. I like it that this word is made up of the characters for 'sun' and 'platform'.

    我们在阳台坐了喝金酒奎宁水。
    We sat on the balcony and drank gin and tonic.

  • 博士后

    bóshìhòu - postdoc

    Since I'm now a postdoc, I thought I should learn the word (not that most people know the English). It's simply the word for PhD, 博士, followed by 后, meaning after, so that's easy enough.

    我现在是一位博士后。
    I'm now a postdoc.

  • - popular; everywhere, universal

    I chose this character because it is the first in translation of Plymouth, 普利茅斯 (guess what my next three characters will be). It means universal or common as in 普通话, which is Chinese for Mandarin, the common language. It is also used phonetically quite often, as in The Simpsons: 辛普森一家.

    这个计划被普遍地接受了。
    The plan has been generally accepted.