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My new favorite Chinese character is 開心 (kai1xin1): happy; joyous; elated.

The first character, 開 (kai1), is defined in Pleco dictionary as either 1) “open;” 2) to “make an opening, open up;” or 3) to “open out, come loose.”

The second character, 心 (xin1), means 1) “the heart;” 2) “heart, mind, feeling, intention;” or 3) “centre, core.”

The Chinese term for happiness – not even a widely understood poetical term, but the most basic, everyday term there is – can be directly translated as “open heart.” Chinese-speaking children grow up relating positive feelings to having an open heart.

What a language.

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