Chinese characters are really fun. The way to combine and associate characters could make different words with different meanings. Let’s just play with 工 gōng and 人 rén.
工 gōng means work, craft, and 人 rén person, people.
工人 gōng rén, together means a working person, a worker. He’s not rich, doesn’t have a high qualification and usually works in a production unit to carry on a routine job. According to the communism theory, 工人 gōng rén should be the leading class. As you can see, in this expression, 工 gōng is the description of 人 rén.
How about 人工 rén gōng? 人 rén, here is the description of 工 gōng, a man-made work, the opposite of the nature. 人工湖 rén gōng hú, man-made, artificial lake; 人工 呼吸 rén gōng hū xī, man-made respiration assistance; 人工 智能 rén gōng zhì néng, the artificial intelligence; There are so many 人工 rén gōng, artificial things nowadays, aren’t there?
As you can see with the two expressions here above, the description is always placed before the word to be described in Chinese. This is one of the basic rules in Chinese language.
Repetition of a Chinese character can also bring a different meaning. 人人 rén rén, means everyone. 人人 皆知 rén rén jiē zhī, everyone knows, a perfect slogan for a well known brand; 人人 有责 rén rén yǒu zé, everyone has the responsibility !
The repetition of 工 gōng doesn’t exist in Chinese language, but 工工工 gōng gōng gōng is a famous underground music group in Beijing now, formed by a Hongkonger and a Canadian. Isn’t it surprising and interesting?
Lao Long and Xiao Ling explain some more details in the video hereunder.