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Chinese Lesson Blurb: Key Chains and Donuts

A fun word association that came up in my Chinese lesson today is going to help me remember how to say “key chain,” or more accurately “key ring,” in Chinese.

鑰匙圈 means “key chain.” Let me break it down.

鑰匙    ㄧㄠˋ ㄕ˙ (yào shi.) means “key”

圈        ㄑㄩㄢ (quān) means “circle, ring, or loop”


I am most familiar with using the character 圈 (quān) in


甜甜圈 ㄊㄧㄢˊ ㄊㄧㄢˊ ㄑㄩㄢ (tián tián quān),


which is literally “sweet, sweet circle” and means “donut.” If I type the pinyin for that word a cute little chocolate covered donut shows up as an option. 🍩

[This is a fun feature of my Chinese keyboard function and I also get the option for 鑰匙 as 🔑  (see above translation and pronunciation).]

Thus, forever after, I will remember the Chinese word 鑰匙圈 as “key donut.” Hopefully, it doesn’t turn out to be too Pavlovian…

Always take advantage of word associations that come up if they will help you remember vocabulary. It is something we all naturally use in our native language for both spelling (M-i-s-s, -i-s-s, i-p-p-i anyone?) and definitions (if it is an “exception” we “x” it out), so do it with your second (or third, or?) language learning, too.