The fire has played such a momentous role in human civilisation. It changed our culinary practices, forged new materials, revolutionised energy generation and introduced new forms of warfare. The Chinese translation for “fire” is 火 (Huǒ). Characters associated with 火 (Huǒ) uses 火 as its radical. This radical appears on the left-hand side of the character. Let’s take a look at some examples below.
The character is a Chinese noun, directly translating to “light” or “lamp”. In the past, lamps are usually in the form of torches which involved the combustion of fuels. Apparently, fire is involved in combustion. Thus, the fire radical is included. For example, I turn on the light translates to 我开灯 (wǒ kāi dēng).
爐 (lú) directly translates to “oven” in Chinese. It is used as a noun. Although most ovens now no longer use naked flames, this still uses heat. Either way, fire is somehow involved in the equation. Therefore, the fire radical is included.
The direct translation of this character is “to fry” or “fried”, acting as both an adjective and a noun. To fry something, one requires heat which often comes in the form of fire. This was denoted by the inclusion of the fire radical.
For instance: “Fried chicken” translates to 炸鸡 (Zhá jī). In this case, it is used as an adjective. “I fried the chicken” translates to 我把鸡肉油炸了(Wǒ bǎ jī ròu yóu zhà le). In this sentence, it is used as a verb.
This character means “to burn”, “burnt” or “barbecued”. It can be used as a noun or a verb. To burn something, fire is necessary and is indicated by the fire radical. Let’s look at two examples sentences which use 燒 (Shāo) as a verb and adjective respectively.
“I eat barbecued beef” translates to 我吃烤牛肉 (Wǒ chī kǎo niú ròu). In this sentence, it is used as an adjective, “barbecued”.
“I burn the book” translates to 我烧这本书 (Wǒ shāo zhè běn shū). In this case, it acts as a verb, “to burn”.
The meaning of this character to “to roast” or “roasted”. Akin to the two characters above, it works as both a verb and adjective. As fire is involved in the process of roasting, the fire radical is included.
To say “I roasted the beef” in Chinese, one should say “我烤了牛肉” (Wǒ kǎo le niú ròu). 烤 (Kǎo) is used as a verb, “to roast”.
“I like roasted beef” translates directly to “我喜欢烤牛肉” (Wǒ xǐ huān kǎo niú ròu). 烤 (Kǎo), in this case, is used as an adjective, “roasted”.
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