Today we’ll look at the Chinese Characters in the Chinese Zodiac.
Each Chinese character of the Chinese zodiac here has an audio file that will help you with pronunciation.
I’m happy to be able to bring you another short beginner’s lesson courtesy of That’s Mandarin. That’s Mandarin have kindly provided these beautiful pictures to introduce some really important Chinese characters. Each graphic has a short mnemonic (memory aid) to help you remember how to pronounce the word, which is super useful!
|Here comes the first Chinese zodiac “shǔ(鼠)” , which means “mouse” and sounds like “shoe”.
People born in 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008 can be said to have been born in the year of the mouse.
They tend to be smart, hard working, and ambitious. These traits make it easy for them to get rich. They make great accountants, engineers, and managers. Their ideal partners are oxen, monkeys, and dragons.
|Today’s link word is “niú” (牛). It means “cow/ox” and sounds like the English word "new". |
The Ox is the second in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac. People born in 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997 and 2009 can be said to have been born in the year of the ox.
They tend to have strong sense of obligation, work hard, and it is easy for them to win the boss’s praise and trust. They make great farmers, businessmen and consultants. Their ideal partners are mouses, snakes and roosters.
|Here comes the 3rd Chinese zodiac “hǔ(虎)” , which means “tiger” and sounds like “who”.
People born in 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010 can be said to have been born in the year of the tiger.
They tend to be independent and have an extremely strong self-esteem. They are always like eldest brothers. They make great politicians, judges, and police. Their ideal partners are pigs, horses and dogs.
|Here comes the 4th Chinese zodiac “tù(兔)” , which means “rabbit” and sounds like the English word“too”. |
People born in 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999 or 2011 can be said to have been born in the year of the rabbit.
They tend to be gentle, quite and polite. People all like to make friends with them. They make great educators, doctors and actors (actresses). Their ideal partners are dogs, pigs and sheep.
Let's learn an interesting expression. "兔子不吃窝边草 tù zi bù chī wō biān cǎo"(the rabbit does not eat the grass around his burrow) means a villain doesn't harm his neighbors.
|Today’s zodiac sign is “lóng” (龙). It means “dragon” and sounds like the English word "long".
People born in 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000 and 2012 are said to have been born in the year of the dragon. (A lot of Chinese parents would like to have a little dragon and it causes a small population boom every dragon year.) Dragons love adventure and they pursue a romantic life. The ideal mates for them are mice, monkeys and roosters.
|Today’s zodiac sign is “shé” (蛇). It means “snake” and sounds like “she” in the English name "Sherlock".|
People born in 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001 and 2013 are said to have been born in the year of the snake. Snakes are tough nuts to crack; they may seem cold, but their heart is very warm. They do things in a planned way and achieve success step by step. They make great designers, beauticians, and educators. The ideal mates for them are oxen and roosters.
|That’s today’s zodiac sign: “mǎ”. It sounds like the “ma” in “mama”, like what children call their mother.
People born in 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002 and 2014 are said to have been born in the year of the horse.
Horses have initiative and refuse to accept defeat. They are always efficient during work, so they make great reporters, translators and salespeople. Chinese parents would like to have a little horse and it causes a small population boom every horse year (just like the dragon year). Nowadays, due to the one child policy, more parents want to do that because they have only got one chance. That could explain why you could hardly find a hospital to give birth in last year, because it was a horse year!
|Here is the new zodiac sign “yáng”! It means sheep or goat in English, and the #Linkword for it is “young”. |
The sentence “All the ‘young’ ‘sheep’ bounce around in the field” may help you remember this animal.
People born in 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003 and 2015 are said to have been born in the year of the horse. (Yes, you are right! This year is yáng nián!) They are always honest, kind and easy to be infected by the unfortunate experience. They make great artists, doctors and teachers. The ideal mates for them are rabbits, horses and pigs.
|Here is today’s zodiac sign: “hóu”! It means monkey in English, and the #Linkword for it is “hoe”.
“The ‘monkey’ is gardening with the ‘hoe’” will help you remember this animal. People born in 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992 and 2004 are said to have been born in the year of the monkey.
They have strong gumption. They like to study at an early age and their intelligence is first inclined toward academia. They are unwilling to lag behind and always hope to get good grades. The ideal mates for them are snakes, dragons and mice.
|Our next zodiac sign is “jī”(鸡). It means both rooster and chicken in English and the #Linkword for it is “gee”|
Now say “Gee, that chicken sure is yellow” to the picture below! People born in 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993 and 2005 are said to have been born in the year of the rooster. They are good at reading people’s emotions. They are sociable, harmonious, and easily make new friends. The ideal mates for them are dragons, oxen and snakes. Now we have only got two zodiac signs left! Can you guess what the next one is?
|The last second zodiac sign is “gǒu”(狗). It means “dog” in English and is very easy to memorize because it sounds like the English word “go”.
People born in 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994 and 2006 are said to have been born in the year of the dog.
They are frank and honest. They always remain faithful to friends. So, if you have a friend born in the year of dog, please treasure your friendship!
|Last but not least on our zodiac sign list is “zhū” (猪), meaning “pig”. |
People, who are born in 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007and so on, are said to have been born in the “year of the pig”. They tend to be calm, careful and attentive. They are open and warm people that+ usually have many friends. When they encounter some difficulty, they will always have good a group of friends to help them. The ideal mates for people born in the “year of the pig” are people born in the year of goat and rabbit.