the cave radical

The Cave Radical 穴: Overview, Mnemonics, and Vocabulary

Hey, Pandanese universe! How are you doing with your Chinese learning? 

Have you been improving since this radical series began? We hope you are! Your satisfaction is our motivation to keep pulling out a radical article every week.

Today, Pandanese brings you another article in the radical series. Our main character today is the radical cave

Without any further ado, let’s scroll down to get interesting information about the cave radical and, as always, a fun mnemonic to help you remember this radical for a long time! 

What is the cave radical?

The cave radical , which is pronounced as “xué” in Mandarin Chinese, is also known as radical 116 according to the Kangxi radical chart (a system of radicals of Chinese characters). Also, according to the Kangxi dictionary, 298 characters (out of 49,030) contain the radical cave

Similar to such radicals as 厂 hǎn (cliff), 目 mù (eye), or 牛 niú (cow) which illustrate the object which each character describes, the radical cave also shows how the character and the object they describe are closely related. This is because all of them were originally pictograms. Similar to other characters, the radical cave has been standardized and simplified through time to make writing easier. Let’s have a look at how this radical has transformed over the years.

Shuowen Jiezi (compiled in Han)(202 BC – 220 AD)Liushutong (compiled in Ming)(1368  – 1644)
Small seal scriptTranscribed ancient scripts
穴-seal.svg穴-bigseal.svg
Historical forms of the character

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What is the stroke order of the cave radical?

The cave radical has five strokes, written in the following order:

Source: Visual Mandarin

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How can you memorize the cave radical?

The cave radical gives you an image of the mouth of a cave, so learning it by heart is not difficult. However, there’s a learning technique that lets learners memorize this word with fun – the mnemonics technique.

Here at Pandanese, we employ mnemonics flashcards to help Chinese learners like you get the most out of your learning. Your Chinese learning journey couldn’t get any easier! Or could it? Have a look at how mnemonics work in this example:

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Can you create mnemonics for yourself?

When it comes to using mnemonic devices to learn vocabulary, we recognize that a mnemonic may work well for one individual but not for another. In other words, everyone has their own individual logic behind their mnemonics. Let your voice be heard!

Pandanese can see that coming. Therefore, we’ve created the “Synonym Feature” that allows you to make your own mnemonics. It may be easier to memorize a character or radical with your personalized mnemonics. 

Check out the GIF below for a visual walkthrough of the Synonym Feature.

A cave radical vocabulary list for you!

Thrilled to know more about the cave radical and other related terms? Pandanese is here to help you enrich your knowledge.

CharacterPinyinEnglish meaning
洞穴dòngxuécavern
岩穴yánxuégrotto
阴穴yīn xuéunderground cave
兽穴shòu xuéanimal den
穴居人xuéjū réncaveman
kōngto empty
jiūto study or investigate
qióngexhausted
穿chuānto dress
Cave radical vocabulary list

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Learning Chinese shouldn’t be hard — it should be easy and full of joy! Ditch the textbook and rote learning method and instead try mnemonics; using mnemonics is proven to help learners digest new pieces of information more easily and more efficiently.

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If you’re interested in the Chinese language, especially Chinese radicals, we encourage you to check out our Pandanese blog and read as much as you like before starting your learning!

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