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White in Chinese: Character, pronunciation, Sample Sentences

Have you ever felt perplexed trying to figure out how to write or say white in Chinese? With multiple character options and tonal pronunciations, it can seem quite bursty and complex compared to English. However, learning how to write and say white in Chinese doesn’t have to be so confusing! In this blog post, we will guide you step-by-step through how to write white in Chinese characters and pinyin, along with pronunciation tips. 

Part1. Chinese Characters for White

White in Chinese: Character, pronunciation, Sample Sentences - WuKong Education Blog

The most common Chinese character used to write “white” is . This character is composed of the radicals 百 and 田. 白 has a variety of related meanings beyond just the color white, such as being blank, clear or plain.

Here is how to properly write the character 白 in Chinese calligraphy:

  • Start with the 百 radical on top, which looks similar to a capital T with an extra horizontal line in the middle.
  • Add the 田 radical on the bottom. This part resembles two dotted lines with a roof-like shape across the top.
  • Connect the two radicals together slightly off-center, with 百 shifted leftwards.
  • Add the two small dots inside the roof-like shape of the 田 radical.
  • Finish the character by drawing the vertical line that cuts through both radicals. The completed 白 character should be neat and well-balanced.

Now you know how to manually write out the character 白. With some practice writing it out, you’ll commit both its form and meaning “white” to memory.

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Part2. Pronouncing White in Chinese

In Chinese pinyin romanization, “white” is written as bái. Pinyin uses tone markers (accent marks) to indicate the 4 possible pronunciation tones in Chinese:

  • First tone (ā) – high and level
  • Second tone (á) – rising
  • Third tone (ǎ) – falling then rising
  • Fourth tone (à) – falling sharply

The accent mark above bái tells us it is pronounced with a second tone, meaning the pitch should rise up on this syllable.

To get the pronunciation just right:

  • Start by making a “b” sound as in English, with your two lips together.
  • Transition smoothly into an “ai” vowel sound, as in the English word “eye”. This is a bright rather than dark vowel.
  • As you vocalize the vowel, let your pitch curve up into a higher tone. Almost like you are asking a question.
  • Cut off the vowel sound crisply after a very short duration. Chinese syllables sound clipped compared to English.

Listen closely to native speaker recordings of bái to match their enunciation. Imitating the tone curve is key to sounding natural. With practice, you’ll be fluently saying “white” in conversational Chinese in no time.

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Part3. Sample Sentences with White in Chinese

white in chinese

Now we’ll go over how to utilize the character 白 and pinyin bái within some sample Chinese sentences:

  • 这件衣服非常好看。
  • Zhè jiàn bái yīfu fēicháng hǎokàn.
  • This white clothing looks very nice.
  • 我喜欢色因为它代表纯洁。
  • Wǒ xǐhuan báisè yīnwèi tā dàibiǎo chúnjié.
  • I like the color white because it represents purity.
  • 马是一种神秘的生物。
  • Bái mǎ shì yīzhǒng shénmì de shēngwù.
  • The white horse is a mystical creature.
  • 我不喜欢把鸡蛋做成Боте。
  • Wǒ bù xǐhuan bǎ jīdàn zuòchéng bái bōtè.
  • I don’t like making scrambled eggs.

These examples demonstrate common usage of white in Chinese sentences to describe color, discuss preferences, refer to animals, talk about food, and more.

Observe how the character 白 and pinyin syllables bái integrate fluidly within the sentence structures. Also take note of the proper positioning of tones alongside the other vocabulary words. Proper tones are crucial for conveying the correct meaning in Chinese.

With vocabulary words as fundamental as colors, being able to skillfully utilize them in writing and speech is key towards fluency. Take the time to make sample sentences of your own using “white” in Chinese. This repetition will reinforce retention tremendously.

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Part4. Cultural Associations of White in Chinese

Beyond linguistics, it’s also fascinating to analyze the cultural symbolism tied to the concept of white in Chinese culture:

  • Represents purity and innocence – The color white is connected to purity in traditional Chinese culture, including virginity and innocence. White clothing is worn at weddings to represent this.
  • Signifies mourning and death – In contrast to Western traditions where black signifies grief over a death, the color white takes on that symbolic meaning in Chinese culture. White flowers and hemp are incorporated into Chinese funeral rituals.
  • Denotes nobility and divinity – Emperors and heavenly gods were said to embody transcendent whiteness. Noble virtuous figures were also portrayed with white skin rather than darker peasant skin.
  • Symbol of brightness and positivity – More broadly, white carries positive connotations with brightness, openness, and positivity in Chinese culture. The white color brings clarity cutting through darkness and obfuscation.

We can see white in Chinese has a truly rich cultural resonance in Chinese traditions that persists to modern times. When learning languages, having this socio historical context brings much deeper understanding compared to just memorizing vocabulary terms. The past intricately shapes how ideas manifest in language. Keep this cultural symbolism of “white” in mind during your Chinese journey!

FAQs about White in Chinese

Q1. Why are there multiple different characters that can mean white in Chinese?

While 白 (bái) is the most common character for “white”, there are some less frequently used options like 皚 (ái) and 皓 (hào) that also mean white. The etymologies and minor differences in connotation/usage between these characters relates to the unique development of the Chinese writing system over thousands of years.

Q2. Is the character 白 used only for the color white?

No. Due to its meanings related to blankness, clarity, and bright light, 白 shows up in many abstract contexts beyond just the color term. For example, it’s used in words like 空格 (space/blank), 白天 (daytime), 白费 (waste), and more.

Q3. Are there any variations in how to pronounce “bái” for “white”?

Yes, while standard Mandarin only has one pronunciation, you may encounter dialectal and regional varieties that differ slightly in the vowel sound or tone contour. Many Mandarin dialects soften the initial “b” consonant as well, turning it into a “p” or “f” sound.


With this solid base established through our step-by-step guide, conveying white in Chinese should now feel straightforward rather than perplexing! Learning languages opens doors to connect deeply across cultures. As you expand your Chinese vocabulary, remember each word offers a window into new perspectives on life. Keep exploring and let Chinese lead you to horizons once unimagined!

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