Finding the hand in the action
The character 打 has the particle in it that is derived from the character 手. Here are their respective pronunciations, along with basic translations:
打 ㄉㄚˇ (dǎ) to beat, to strike, to hit, to break, to type
手 ㄕㄡˇ (shǒu) hand
Perhaps you have already picked up on why a “hand particle” would be part of the character 打? It is because it involves actions that are typically associated with the hand.
Radicals are particles
Radical is another name for particles. Radicals, aka particles, are the simplest characters that are then used to build all other characters. Radicals are one way that is used to organize Chinese words in the dictionary. Exploring the key in the dictionary can help you become familiar with them. Right away what you will see is that when characters are used as particles, their shape frequently changes. How much it changes and in what way depends on what part of the new character it is used. For the “hand particle” in 打, you can see that the original 手 loses one of its horizontal lines, the bottom horizontal line gets slanted, and the whole character gets skinnier.
Do you need to be so violent?
You don’t actually need to be hitting something hard to use the character 打 in a word. It just needs to be an action that uses or infers the hand in some sort of firm way. For instance, dialing a telephone used to mean pushing buttons. Hence the common sentence:
(nǐ)(yīng gāi)[(dǎ)(diǎn)(huà)](gěi)(tā) (you)(should)[(to hit, to strike)(electric)(speech)](to give)(her)
You should give her a call!
Another one that has to do with technology:
(ㄉㄥˇ)(ㄨㄛˇ)(ㄧˊ)(ㄒㄧㄚˋ), (ㄨㄛˇ)(ㄉㄟˇ)[(ㄉㄚˇ)(ㄨㄢˊ)](ㄓㄜˋ)(ㄧㄝˋ)(ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄐㄩˊ ㄗˋ)
(děng)(wǒ)(yí)(xià), (wǒ)(děi)[(dǎ)(wán)](zhè)(yè)(de.)(jú zì) (to wait)(me)(one, a)(moment), (I)(must)[(to hit = to type)(to finish)](this)(page)(‘s)(sentence)
Wait for me a moment, I must finish typing the sentences on this page.
Lets play ball!
打 is used to mean “play” for ball games that are predominantly done with hand action.
(ㄊㄚ ㄇㄣ˙)(ㄏㄣˇ)(ㄒㄧˇ ㄏㄨㄢ)(ㄉㄚˇ)(ㄨㄤˇ ㄑㄧㄡˊ)
(tā men.)(hěn)(xǐ huān)(dǎ)(wǎng qiú) (they)(very)(to like)(to play, to hit)(tennis)
They very much like to play tennis.
(ㄋㄧˇ)(ㄎㄢˋ)(ㄌㄜ˙)(ㄩˇ ㄇㄠˊ ㄑㄧㄡˊ)(ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄅㄧˇ ㄙㄞˋ)(ㄇㄚ˙)
(nǐ)(kàn)(le.)(yǔ máo qiú)(de.)(bǐ sài)(ma.)
(you)(to see)(emphasize completion)(badminton)(adjective marker)(competition, match)
Did you watch the badminton tournament?
What other games are you playing?
Some board games are more energetic than others.
(ㄍㄨㄛˋ)(ㄋㄨㄥˊ ㄌㄧˋ ㄒㄧㄣ ㄋㄧㄢˊ)(ㄉㄜ˙ ㄕˊ ㄏㄡˋ)(ㄕㄞˋ)(ㄊㄞˊ ㄨㄢ)
(guò)(nóng lì xīn nián)(de. shí hoù)(zài)(tái wān) (to pass)(Chinese New Year)(when)(at)(Taiwan)
(to pass)(Chinese New Year)(when)(at)(Taiwan)
……(ㄏㄣˇ ㄉㄨㄛ)(ㄏㄣˊ)(ㄒㄧˇ ㄏㄨㄢ)(ㄉㄚˇ)(ㄇㄚˊ ㄐㄧㄤˋ)
……(hěn duō)(rén)(xǐ huān)(dǎ)(má jiàng)
……(very many)(people)(to like)(to play, to hit)(mahjong)
Over Chinese New Year, many people in Taiwan like to play Mahjong.
Some people prefer other games.
(ㄨㄛˇ ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄙㄨㄣ ㄗ˙ ㄇㄣ˙)(ㄒㄩㄟˊ)(ㄉㄚˇ)(ㄉㄧㄢˋ ㄉㄨㄥˋ ㄧㄡˊ ㄒㄧˋ)(ㄏㄣˇ)(ㄎㄨㄞˋ)
(wǒ de.)(sūn zi. men.)(xué)(dǎ)(diàn dòng yóu xì)(hěn)(kuài)
(my)(grandchildren)(to learn)(to play, to hit)(video game)(very)(fast)
My grandchildren learn to play video games very quickly.
Something is hitting the head?
Sneezing and dozing are interesting applications of the use of 打.
(ㄅㄨˋ ㄏㄠˇ ㄧˋ ㄙㄧ˙)! (ㄨㄛˇ)(ㄒㄧㄤˇ)(ㄨㄛˇ)(ㄏㄨㄟˋ)(ㄉㄚˇ)(ㄆㄣ ㄊㄧˋ)
(bù hǎo yì si.)! (wǒ)(xiǎng)(wǒ)(huì)(dǎ)(pēn tì)
(to be sorry, to be embarrassed)! (I)(to think)(I)(will)(to hit, to)(sneeze)
I’m sorry! I think I’m going to sneeze!
(ㄐㄧㄣ ㄊㄧㄢ)(ㄨㄛˇ ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄌㄠˇ ㄍㄨㄥ)(ㄎㄢˋ)(ㄉㄧㄢˋ ㄧㄥˇ)(ㄕˊ)(ㄉㄚˇ)(ㄎㄜ ㄕㄨㄟˋ),
(jīn tiān)(wǒ de.)(lǎo gōng)(kàn)(diàn yǐng)(shí)(dǎ)(kē shuì),
(today)(my)(husband)(to watch)(movie)(when, time)(to hit, to)(doze, to nap)
……(ㄧㄣ ㄨㄟˋ)(ㄊㄚ)(ㄍㄢˇ ㄇㄠˋ)(ㄌㄜ˙)
……(yīn wèi)(tā)(gǎn mào)(le.)
……(because)(he)(caught a cold)(emphasize)
Today my husband dozed off while watching a move, because he has a cold.
Then there are leftovers –
(ㄨㄛˇ)(ㄗㄞˋ)(ㄘㄢ ㄊㄧㄥ)(ㄔ ㄈㄢˋ)(ㄕˊ),
(wǒ)(zài)(cān tīng)(chī fàn)(shí),
(I)(at)(restaurant)(eat a meal)(time, when),
……(ㄗㄨㄥˇ ㄕˋ)(ㄏㄨㄟˋ)(ㄉㄚˇ ㄅㄠ)(ㄕㄥˋ ㄘㄞˋ)(ㄏㄨㄟˊ)(ㄐㄧㄚ)
……(zǒng shì)(huì)(dǎ bāo)(shèng cài)(huí)(jiā)
……(always)(will)(to wrap, to ask for doggy bag)(leftovers)(to return)(home)
When I eat at a restaurant, I always take leftovers home.
And manual labor…
(ㄨㄛˇ ㄇㄣ˙ ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄒㄧㄠˇ ㄍㄡˇ)(ㄏㄨㄟˋ)(ㄧㄠˇ ㄎㄣˇ)(ㄉㄨㄥ ㄒㄧ),
(wǒ men. de.)(xiǎo gǒu)(huì)(yǎo kěn)(dōng xī),
……(ㄨㄛˇ)(ㄉㄟˇ)(ㄉㄚˇ ㄙㄠˇ)(ㄓㄥˇ ㄌㄧˊ)(ㄈㄤˊ ㄗ˙)
……(wǒ)(děi)(dǎ sǎo)(zhěng lí)(fáng zi.)
Our dog chews things, so I must clean and organize the house.
(ㄍㄟˇ)(ㄐㄧㄠˇ ㄊㄚˋ ㄔㄜ)(ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄌㄨㄣˊ ㄊㄞ)(ㄉㄚˇ ㄑㄧˋ),
(to give)(bicycle)(adjective marker/possessive)(tire)(to pump up, to inflate)
…..(indicates passive voice)(me)(tired)(to death)
Pumping up my bicycle tire makes me extremely tired!
Don’t forget the encouragement －
(ㄊㄚ)(ㄧㄠˋ)(ㄘㄢ ㄐㄧㄚ)(ㄓㄜˋ )(ㄘˋ)(ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄇㄚˇ ㄌㄚ ㄙㄨㄥ)(ㄙㄞˋ ㄆㄠˇ),
(tā)(yào)(cān jiā)(zhè)(cì)(de.)(mǎ lā sōng)(sài pǎo),
(he)(to want)(to participate, to join)(this)(next)(adjective marker)(marathon)(race)
……(ㄨㄛˇ ㄇㄣ˙)(ㄊㄧˋ)(ㄊㄚ)(ㄉㄚˇ ㄑㄧˋ)(ㄐㄧㄚ ㄧㄡˊ)
……(wǒ men.)(tì)(tā)(dǎ qì)(jiā yóu)
……(we)(for, on)(him)(pump up)(add oil)
(If) he wants to run this next marathon, we will encourage him!
(ㄒㄧ ㄨㄤˋ)(ㄋㄧˇ ㄇㄣ˙)(ㄌㄜˋ)(ㄒㄧˊ)(ㄓㄨㄥ ㄨㄣˊ),
(xī wàng)(nǐ men.)(lè)(xí)(zhōng wén),
(to hope)(plural ‘you’)(happy, cheerful, fun)(to practice, to study)(Chinese language),
……(ㄨㄛˇ)(ㄨㄟˋ)(ㄋㄧˇ ㄇㄣ˙)(ㄉㄚˇ ㄑㄧˋ)(ㄐㄧㄚ ㄧㄡˊ)
……(wǒ)(wèi)(nǐ men.)(dǎ qì)(jiā yóu)
……(I)(for, to)(you)(to pump up)(to add oil)
I encourage you to have fun learning Chinese!
Can you make up some sentences to use 打？
❶ The literal meaning of 農曆 is lunar from the combination of
農 ㄋㄨㄥˊ (nóng) agriculture, farming
曆 ㄌㄧˋ (lì) calendar, era
❷ The 4 characters used to mean video game are literally
電 ㄉㄧㄢˋ (diàn) electric
動 ㄉㄨㄥˋ (dòng) to move, action
遊 ㄧㄡˊ (yóu) to wander, to travel
戲 ㄒㄧˋ (xì) theatrical play, show