(ㄖㄨˊ ㄏㄜˊ)(ㄓˋ ㄔㄥˊ)(ㄨˋ ㄆㄧㄣˇ)
(rú hé)(zhì chéng)(wù pǐn)
(how to, in what way)(to turn out [a product])(thing, object + product, good)
How to make things (or How things are made)
When we were discussing all the things it is impossible for me to do in Chinese, my tutor decided it was time to introduce me to the specific vocabulary used when making certain things. She says that while people would probably understand me if I used 做 ㄗㄨㄛˋ (zuò) for everything, it would not sound right to them. In Chinese, the words that can be generally translated as “to make” vary according to the way something is made.
The word 做 ㄗㄨㄛˋ (zuò) is used if the hands are directly engaged in the process of making something from scratch, sans motorized machinery.
(ㄐㄧㄣ ㄊㄧㄣ)(ㄨㄛˇ)(ㄗㄨㄛˋ)(ㄇㄧㄢˋ ㄅㄠ)
(jīn tiān)(wǒ)(zuò)(miàn bāo)
(today)(I)(to make)(wheat flour bundle)
Today I made bread.
While it is true that nowadays bread is often made in factories, it is traditionally made by hand. If factory-made bread is specifically being spoken of, one of the “to make” verbs below might be used. However, I do make most of our bread at home, so I would use that sentence.
(she)(to make)(very)(many)(pottery/ceramic bowl)
She made very many ceramic bowls.
You can see here that there is no time specified. We are not told when she did this.
If something is assembled from parts somehow prepared to be attached, one of these words is used:
to assemble and install
The 「拼」used is the same 拼 ㄆㄧㄣ (pīn) that is used in the character combination 拼音 ㄆㄧㄣ ㄧㄣ (pīn1 yīn), which most Chinese learners are familiar with as being the Roman alphabet of the English language used to approximate the sounds of the Chinese language. The literal breakdown of its translation is
(to join or piece together, to spell) (sound)
[(ㄊㄚ)(ㄉㄜ˙)](ㄅㄚˋ ㄅㄚ˙)(ㄅㄤ)(ㄊㄚ)(ㄆㄧㄣ ㄓㄨㄤ)(ㄐㄧ ㄑㄧˋ ㄖㄣˊ)
[(tā)(de.)](bà ba.)(bāng)(tā)(pīn zhuāng)(jī qī rén)
[(he)+(possessive)=his] (father)(to help)(him)(to assemble, to put together)(machine + instrument + person)
His father helped him build a robot.
(ㄨˇ)(ㄅㄨˋ)(ㄓ ㄉㄠˋ)(ㄖㄨˊ ㄏㄜˊ)(ㄗㄨˇ ㄏㄜˊ)(ㄔㄜ ㄗ˙)
(wǒ)(bù)(zhī dào)(rú hé)(zǔ hé)(chē zi.)
(I)(not)(to know)(how to)(to assemble) (automobile)
I do not know how to make a car.
(ㄊㄚ ㄇㄣ˙)(ㄧ ㄑˇ)(ㄗㄨˇ ㄓㄨㄤ)(ㄆㄧㄣ ㄊㄨˊ ㄨㄢˊ ㄐㄩˋ)
(tā men.)(yī qǐ)(zǔ zhuāng)(pīn1 tú wán jù)
(they)(together)(to assemble)(jigsaw puzzle)
Together, they finished a jigsaw puzzle.
For things that are typically made with machines, the proper word is 製造 ㄓˋ ㄗㄠˋ (zhì zào)。This is similar to the English word “manufacture.”
(ㄊㄚ)(ㄒㄧˇ ㄏㄨㄢ)(ㄓˋ ㄗㄠˋ)(ㄉㄧㄢˋ ㄋㄠˇ)
(tā)(xǐ huān)(zhì zào)(diàn nǎo)
(he)(to like)(to manufacture, to make)(computer)
……….(as a result)(he)(also)(to earn)(emphasize completion)(very)(much)(money)
He likes to make computers, consequently he also earns a lot of money.
製 ㄓˋ (zhì) is combined with the character 縫 ㄈㄥˊ (féng), for “to sew,” in the next sentence for the same basic meaning, since machines have been a part of the sewing process for quite a while now, even at home.
(ㄊㄚ)( ㄈㄥˊ ㄓˋ)(ㄌㄜ˙)(ㄓㄜˋ)(ㄐㄧㄢˋ)(ㄆㄧㄠˋ ㄌㄧㄤˋ)(ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄧㄤˊ ㄓㄨㄤ)
(tā)(féng zhì)(zhè)(jiàn)(piào liàng)(de.)(yáng2 zhuāng)
(she)(to make by sewing)(this)(MW for clothing)❸ (pretty, good looking)(adjective marker)(western-style dress)
She sewed this pretty dress.
This is similar to the use of 製成 ㄓˋ ㄔㄥˊ (zhì chéng) the title and pinnable photo above. 製 ㄓˋ (zhì) implies a comprehensive meaning that includes all things that are made or produced, whether by hand or machine. 成 ㄔㄥˊ (chéng) emphasizes that this has been finished.
If you want to read the Chinese on packages in the store, you might see something like one of these lines of these characters:
(ㄊㄞˊ ㄨㄢ)(ㄓˋ ㄗㄠˋ)
(tái wān)(zhì zào)
(Taiwan)(to manufacture, to make)
Made in Taiwan
(ㄇㄟˇ ㄍㄨㄛˊ)(ㄓˋ ㄗㄠˋ)
(měi guó)(zhì zào)
(America)(to manufacture, to make)
Made in America
(ㄖˋ ㄅㄣˇ)(ㄓˋ ㄗㄠˋ)
(rì běn)(zhì zào)
(Japan)(to manufacture, to make)
Made in Japan
If what is made is of a more abstract nature, such as producing a movie or designing a pattern, the correct word is 製作 ㄓˋ ㄗㄨㄛˋ (zhì zuò).
(ㄊㄚ)(ㄓˋ ㄗㄨㄛˋ) [(ㄙㄨㄣ ㄗ˙)(ㄗㄞˋ)(ㄏㄞˇ ㄊㄢ)(ㄨㄢˊ)] (ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄉㄧㄢˋ ㄧㄥˇ)
(tā)(zhì zuò) [(sūn zi.)(zài)(hǎi tān)(wán)] (de.)(diàn yǐng)
(she)(to make) [(grandchild)(at)(beach)(to play)] (adjective marker)(movie)
She made a movie of her grandchildren playing at the beach.
(ㄊㄚ)(ㄓˋ ㄗㄨㄛˋ)(ㄋㄚˋ)(ㄕㄡˇ)(ㄧˋ ㄨㄟˋ ㄕㄣ ㄔㄤˊ)(ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄍㄜ)
(tā)(zhì zuò)(nà)(shǒu)(yì wèi shēn cháng)(de.)(gē)
(he)(to make, to produce)(that)(MW for song)(expressive, meaningful)(adjective marker)(song)
He wrote that expressive song.
When something is composed in writing, like an essay or short story, the word is 作文 ㄗㄨㄛˋ ㄨㄣˊ (zuò wén).
(ㄊㄚ)(ㄗㄨㄛˋ ㄨㄣˊ)(ㄍㄨㄢ ㄩˊ)(ㄕˇ ㄕ ㄒㄧㄥˋ)(ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄍㄨˋ ㄕˋ)
(tā)(zuò wén)(guān yú)(shǐ shī xìng)(de.)(gù shì)
(she)(to make, to produce)(about, with regard to)(epic)(adjective marker) (story)
She wrote an epic story.
If creativity is of the degree that something is completely original, such as a person creating their own, unique language, then 創造 ㄔㄨㄤˋ ㄗㄠˋ (chuàng zào) can be used.
(ㄧㄡˇ ㄕˊ ㄏㄡˋ)(ㄕㄨㄤ ㄅㄠ ㄊㄞ)(ㄔㄨㄤˋ ㄗㄠˋ)(ㄊㄚ ㄇㄣ˙)(ㄗˋ ㄐㄧˇ)(ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄩˇ ㄧㄢˊ)
(yǒu3 shí hòu)(shuāng bāo tāi)(chuàng zào)(tā men.)(zì jǐ)(de.)(yǔ yán)
(sometimes)(twins)(create, initiate, bring about, produce)(their)(own)(adjective marker) (language)
Sometimes twins create their own language.
And finally, there is a fun way to say “it was put together from bits and pieces from here and there.”
ㄆㄧㄣ ㄆㄧㄣ ㄘㄡˋ ㄘㄡˋ
pīn pīn còu còu
to join or piece together + to gather, pool, or collect
(ㄨㄛˇ ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄌㄠˇ ㄍㄨㄥ)(ㄔㄤˊ ㄔㄤˊ (ㄆㄧㄣ ㄆㄧㄣ ㄘㄡˋ ㄘㄡˋ)(ㄗㄨㄛˋ)(ㄉㄨㄥ ㄒㄧ)(ㄍㄟˇ)(ㄨㄛˇ)
(wǒ de.)(lǎo gōng)(cháng cháng)(pīn pīn còu còu)(dōng xī)(gěi)(wǒ)
(my)(husband)(often)(puts pieces together to make)(things)(to give)(me)
My husband often makes me things out of bits and pieces.
❶ The literal translation of this word 拼圖玩具 is
拼 ㄆㄧㄣ (pīn), meaning “piece together”
圖 ㄊㄨˊ (tú), “a picture or drawing”
玩具 ㄨㄢˊ ㄐㄩˋ (wán jù) literally a “to play implement,” but better translated as “toy.”
So, we have a toy from a picture that is pieced together, or “a jigsaw puzzle.”
❷ What we call “a dress” for women was not part of the Chinese mode of attire until exposed to Western culture. Hence, that specific type of dress is called a 洋裝 ㄧㄤˊ ㄓㄨㄤ (western dress)
❸ For the sake of review, “MW” is a common abbreviation for “measure word.” In Chinese, measure words are used for specific nouns. In this case, it is like speaking of an “article” of clothing. It is comparable to the more old fashioned English way of saying things like “a length of string” or the more modern “a pair of shoes.” Such word usage is more prevalent in Chinese grammar.
❹ Names of countries can be some of the hardest or easiest vocabulary to remember. They are almost always an attempt at translating the sounds of what the people of a given country call it, but since not all language have all sounds, the end result can be very creative.
❺ In Chinese, all the adjectives or modifiers of the noun are listed, then connected to the noun being described by the character 的 ㄉㄜ˙ (de.).
❻ Once again, understanding the literal translation can be helpful is what might otherwise seem to be a complex word. In order, the characters in this row mean
史 ㄕˇ (shǐ) history
詩 ㄕ (shī) poem
性 ㄒㄧㄥˋ (xìng) quality
To the Chinese, that is what defines “epic.”
❼ I think this word is fun, because it literally mean “former or old affair.”
故 ㄍㄨˋ (gù) former, old
事 ㄕˋ (shì) affair, matter