05 Endeavour

05 Endeavour

Chinese character: 加
Chinese character: 州
Chinese character: 科
Chinese character: 學Simplified Chinese: 学
Chinese character: 中
Chinese character: 心


加 (jiā) resembles the sound of “Ca-” in California just like 美 (měi) resembles the sound of “-me-” in America. Notice the difference between 州 and 洲. These two characters sound exactly the same and visually the only difference is one has the water radical, the three dots on the left resembling water drops.

加州 (jiā zhōu) is California,
科學 (kēx ué) is science, and
中心 (zhōng xīn) is center.


Remember we talked about 美洲 (měi zhōu) being America, the continent, four days ago on September 1st?

Yesterday I told you about the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Let’s talk today about the space shuttle housed there!


First of all, how do you say California Science Center in Chinese? It is 加州科學中心 (jiā zhōu kēx ué zhōng xīn).

州 (zhōu), without the water radical, is a prefecture or a state.


洲 (zhōu), with the water radical—think big water, like oceans—is a continent.

How about Space Shuttle Endeavour?


Space shuttle is 太空梭 (tài kōng suō). 太空 (tài kōng) means outer space and 梭 (suō) means shuttle.

Chinese character: 奮Simplified Chinese: 奋
Chinese character: 進Simplified Chinese: 进
Chinese character: 號Simplified Chinese: 号
Chinese character: 太
Chinese character: 空
Chinese character: 梭


Taking 太空 (tài kōng) apart, we see that 太 (tài) can mean highest, overly, or too. And 空 (kōng) means empty.

A word that is similar to 太空 (tài kōng) but below it is 天空 (tiān kōng), meaning sky.


Endeavour has been translated as 奮進號 (fèn jìn hào). 奮進 (fèn jìn) means endeavor or endeavour. 號 (hào) often means number but here means the name and to indicate a name.

I found that Endeavour was named through a national competition among students in elementary and secondary schools. It is named after the first ship commanded by James Cook, the 18th century British explorer, navigator and astronomer. This is why the name is spelled in the British English manner, rather than the American English.


Endeavor means to try hard to do or achieve something. Another translation for Space Shuttle Endeavour is 努力號 (nǔ lì hào). 努力 (nǔ lì) also means to strive or to try hard.


Just like endeavor is a more formal word than strive or try hard, seldom used in daily conversation, so 奮進 (fèn jìn) generally appears only in writing whereas 努力 (nǔ lì) is used in conversation. Both are fine but if you want to match the style and tone of Endeavour, I’d pick 奮進 (fèn jìn).


It’s Saturday today but just remember you need to use Chinese every day! Pick your challenge for today:


Level 1

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Look at the animated Chinese characters on this page and copy them on paper or try using a Chinese handwriting input method described to enter on your phone or computer.

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Level 3

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Write a sentence or two using one or more of the above mentioned Chinese words.

By the way, if there are too many new words for you, remember to learn at least one word. Just one a day is better than none at all.

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