Sure you can learn Chinese but 'easy' & '5 minutes a day' are marketing at their worst

This is kind of a random post but I laughed after searching for the word pei.  I had heard it used in a song and didn't know what it meant so I was like, hey, a dictionary, that could help. Using just the 'sound of the word', here's what I got.

Search Results For: pei

佩 佩 pèi / to respect / to wear (belt etc) /
呸 呸 pēi / to spit (in contempt) /
培 培 péi / to cultivate / to earth up /
帔 帔 pèi / cape /
斾 斾 pèi / variant of 旆, pennant / banner /
旆 旆 pèi / pennant / streamer /
柸 柸 pēi / to hate / bear grudge /
沛 沛 pèi / copious / abundant /
珮 佩 pèi / girdle ornaments /
胚 胚 pēi / fetus /
賠 赔 péi / lose in trade / pay damage /
轡 辔 pèi / bridle / reins /
配 配 pèi / to join / to fit / to mate / to mix / to match / to deserve / to make up (a prescription) /
醅 醅 pēi / unstrained spirits /
錇 锫 péi / berkelium Bk97, actinoid element /
陪 陪 péi / to accompany / to keep sb company /
霈 霈 pèi / torrent of rain /

Yeah, errp, that's a #fail.

It's just one example but I know it happens to all of us and it is one of the 'issues' with Chinese.  The structure of the language itself can work to suppress or dampen the random 'desire to learn', in this case learning a new word from a song, that is much easier in other languages.

I am reminded of this every time I see some stupid marketing ad saying 'Chinese is easy' or 'learn Chinese in 5 minutes'.  Screw that - I can't even figure out the meaning of pei in 5 minutes.

Now, time to look up another word...

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Comment by Gen on January 20, 2012 at 4:03pm

I believe those '5mins a day', 'easy chinese learning' are targeting easy phrases for people who are travelling and those who wants to learn for fun,

they always provide teachings regarding very basic chinese and sentence and it always revolves around living needs like; ordering food, going out, basic conversations, and those learning programme don't give you a whole list of words with a certain pinyin to know each of their meanings.


it's impossible to expand your chinese with the 5mins course a day, I'd say.

and even if you learn 5 vocabs a day, it doesn't mean that you'll know the meaning of all the words you mention above.

you need to take time to absorb what you learn but not saturated yourself with too much of them.


I think you are very hard working. though

maybe everyday, you learn one or two 生字, vacabularies.

practice to write it for 10 or more times to learn writing chinese. and review it everyday and give yourself some test, 听写(spelling)or 默写(dictation) to ensure you really manage to understand the meaning and how to use it. besides that, put use to the words you have learned either in conversations or writing.

I spent a lot of years doing that. I thought I'd share.  


knowledge is gained through accumulation of studies, to ask for the moon is impossible.


Zhīshì yào tōngguò xuéxí zhújiàn jīlěi, xiǎng yībùdēngtiān shì bù kěnéng de.

I mean those marketing campaign, they are not wrong but we're looking for more than basic chinese, we're just of different approach.


to be honest, I don't even know some of the words from your (pei) pinyin. I've learned a lot and still learning but I still haven't know all of them, (shame)


I hope you get my point, the initiativeness to learn chinese culture and the language from all the members here amazed me, and I'm glad I'm a part of this community :)

two thumbs up for you and all members :)

Comment by Shu on January 14, 2012 at 2:34pm

For some reasons, some of the words in my comment don't show up-- they are

which labels the level of difficulty of the words. Start from the common ones and then move to the difficult ones. Keep up the good work.

Comment by Shu on January 14, 2012 at 2:30pm


You are studying pretty hard:) I am impressed.

Some of the words or words phrases are common, some are not so common.

Common ones:

赔本 péi běn / a loss /

配对儿 pèi duìr / matched pair /

配偶 pèi ǒu / consort / mate / spouse /

配合 pèi hé / matching / fitting in with / compatible with

賠償 赔偿 péi cháng / compensate /

胚胎 胚胎 pēi tāi / embryo /

欽佩 钦佩 qīn pèi / to admire / to look up to / to respect sb greatly /

敬佩 敬佩 jìng pèi / esteem /

培養 培养 péi yǎng / to train / culture / to bring up / to groom (for a position) /

Some you will only find them in Classic literature:

轡 辔 pèi / bridle / reins /

There is a poem:



醅 pēi / unstrained spirits /

醅,未经过滤的酒 (unfiltered wine)。
Come from:


It would be good for the learners to get a Character book which labels the level of words. Start from the most common ones, and gradually move to the difficult ones. Keep up the good work.

Comment by Brandon on January 14, 2012 at 1:35pm

Of course, the above table excluding the 2-character uses of pei... 

久陪 久陪 jiǔ péi / to accompany over long term /
交配 交配 jiāo pèi / mating / copulation (esp. of animals) /
佩劍 佩剑 pèi jiàn / saber (fencing) /
佩帶 佩带 pèi dài / to wear (as accessories) / carry at the waist /
佩戴 佩戴 pèi dài / to wear (as accessories) /
佩服 佩服 pèi fú / admire /
佩蘭 佩兰 pèi lán / orchid / fragrant thoroughwort / (bot.) Eupatorium fortunei / Herba Eupatorii (used in Chinese medicine) /
倒賠 倒赔 dào péi / to sustain loss in trade /
傾佩 倾佩 qīng pèi / to admire greatly /
充沛 充沛 chōng pèi / abundant / plentiful / vigorous /
分配 分配 fēn pèi / to distribute / to assign / to allocate /
包賠 包赔 bāo péi / guarantee to pay compensations /
匹配 匹配 pǐ pèi / to match /
培修 培修 péi xiū / to repair earthworks /
培土 培土 péi tǔ / to earth up /
培根 培根 péi gēn / bacon /
培植 培植 péi zhí / to cultivate / to train /
培育 培育 péi yù / to train / to breed /
培訓 培训 péi xùn / to cultivate / to train / to groom / training /
培養 培养 péi yǎng / to train / culture / to bring up / to groom (for a position) /
失陪 失陪 shī péi / Excuse me, I really must go. / (modest set phrase on taking leave) /
奉陪 奉陪 fèng péi / (honorific) to accompany / to keep sb company /
婚配 婚配 hūn pèi / to marry /
安培 安培 ān péi / ampere /
家培 家培 jiā péi / cultivated / home grown /
征旆 征旆 zhēng pèi / pennant used on expedition / war pennant /
感佩 感佩 gǎn pèi / to admire with gratitude /
搭配 搭配 dā pèi / to pair up / to match / to arrange in pairs / to add sth into a group /
支配 支配 zhī pèi / to dominate / to allocate /
敬佩 敬佩 jìng pèi / esteem /
栽培 栽培 zāi péi / to grow / to cultivate /
欽佩 钦佩 qīn pèi / to admire / to look up to / to respect sb greatly /
珮林 佩林 Pèi lín / Palin (name) / Sarah Palin (1964-), US Republican politician, State governor of Alaska from 2006 /
相配 相配 xiāng pèi / to match / well-suited /
碳碚 碳碚 tàn péi / roasted / carbon roasted /
索賠 索赔 suǒ péi / compensation / (be awarded) damages /
統配 统配 tǒng pèi / a unified distribution / a unified allocation /
胚層 胚层 pēi céng / germ layer / layer of tissue in embryology /
胚珠 胚珠 pēi zhū / ovule /
胚胎 胚胎 pēi tāi / embryo /
裁培 裁培 cái péi / to grow (crop) / cultivation /
裝配 装配 zhuāng pèi / to assemble / to fit together /
裴 裴 péi / surname Pei /
裴濟 裴济 Péi jì / Fiji, island of Oceania /
許配 许配 xǔ pèi / to betroth a girl (in arranged marriages) /
認賠 认赔 rèn péi / to agree to pay compensation / to accept liability /
調配 调配 diào pèi / to allocate / to deploy /
調配 调配 tiáo pèi / to blend (colors, herbs) / to mix /
賠償 赔偿 péi cháng / compensate /
賠本 赔本 péi běn / a loss /
賠款 赔款 péi kuǎn / reparations / to pay reparations /
賠禮 赔礼 péi lǐ / to offer an apology / to make amends /
賠罪 赔罪 péi zuì / to apologize /
適配 适配 shì pèi / adaptation /
配件 配件 pèi jiàn / fittings / mountings / replacement (parts) / accessories /
配偶 配偶 pèi ǒu / consort / mate / spouse /
配備 配备 pèi bèi / to allocate / to provide / to outfit with /
配價 配价 pèi jià / valence /
配合 配合 pèi hé / matching / fitting in with / compatible with / to correspond / to fit / to conform to / rapport / to coordinate with / to act in concert with / to cooperate / to become man and wife / to combine parts of machine /
配售 配售 pèi shòu / to ration merchandise (esp. food in times of shortages) /
配套 配套 pèi tào / to form a complete set /
配子 配子 pèi zǐ / gamete / sex cell /
配對 配对 pèi duì / to pair up / to match up / to form a pair (e.g. to marry) / to mate / matched pair /
配對兒 配对儿 pèi duìr / matched pair /
配屬 配属 pèi shǔ / troops attached to a unit /
配料 配料 pèi liào / ingredients (in a cooking recipe) /
配方 配方 pèi fāng / prescription / cooking recipe / formulation / compl

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