"I will see him in a bit."
Thank you, but, it is actually rather the 目 radical in the lower portion of 看 that represents an eyeball; 目 (mu4), after all, literally means "eye" (and looks like a "rectilinear" or "squared" picture of an eye, with the smaller box representing the iris and pupil and the larger box representing the "white part," the rest of the eyeball - or, you could think of the middle box as the eyeball and the boxes on top an bottom as the eyelids, either way). What you call "the three lines at the top" is actually 3/4 of one of the radical forms of the 4 stroke character 手 , which means "hand." The "hand above the eye" means "to look;" indeed, we often place "a hand above the eye" to shade the eyes, especially when looking at something in the distance. So, looking with "the hand over the eye" is a deliberate, more concentrated effort, such as searching, or watching; hence 看中 , to pick out (in the sense of to discern and select), to choose, to take a liking to; or 看门 , to act as a doorman, a gatekeeper (the characters literally meaning "watch gate"), someone who "looks after" or guards an entrance.
见 is a simplified form of the traditional character 見 , which depicts an eye, 目, atop a pair of legs, 儿 , as if the eye were walking. "The walking eye" is often apocryphally explained as a sort of epistemological metaphor, as if the walking eye is a messenger who walks from the eye to the object, examines it, then walks back to eye to report to the mind what the object is or at least looks like; however, a less philosophical and more plausible explanation is much simpler: the eye atop a pair of legs represents a standing person (the legs), but the eye is oversized to emphasize that part of the body, the eye, and its function, sight. (We might draw a picture of a face, then draw an arrow pointing to the eyes to indicate "seeing," but that would turn into a rather complicated character; rather, a huge eyeball on a pair of legs is another, simpler way to indicate what part or function of the body we mean.) Whatever the origin, 见 means "to see," from "the eye part" of the character, but maybe it helps to think of "the leg part" to remember that 见 also means "to meet" (as two people might "walk" to "meet" each other, or as the legs "meet" at the hips, if that suggestion aids the memory).
看 , hand above the eye: to look, to guard, to watch, to select.
见 , eye on legs: to see, to meet.
"Reading and Writing Chinese: A Comprehensive Guide to the Chinese Writing System,” by William McNaughton: Tuttle Publishing (Boston; Rutland, Vermont; Tokyo) is an excellent book that has been a standard reference for several decades. The “Third Edition,” revised by Jiageng Fan, 2013, ISBN 9780804842990, is presently available (but I’ve been using the “Revised Edition,” cowritten by Li Ying, 1999. If I were buying a copy today, I would purchase the latest edition rather than paying more for an older one).
The book does indeed explain several hundred of the characters “like” this, but with brevity and concision, that is, typically in just a sentence or two, rather than in the rambling, long-winded, full paragraphs that I wrote in my reply to Sean608899, above. That is, you will not find a paragraph of several sentences explaining every single character, but the book does provide a concise (sentence or two) description of many (hundreds) of the characters. Such selective and brief descriptions are better suited to the book’s format, keeping the book more portable and manageable.
Moreover, “Reading and Writing Chinese” offers so much more than just descriptions of the characters, as the book is basically what its subtitle says: “a comprehensive guide to the Chinese writing system.” The book enumerates over 2,000 characters, in both traditional and simplified forms, with definitions, and pronunciations in standard Pinyin romanization. For the first 1,100 or so characters, the book additionally presents stroke-order diagrams (essential for learning how to write the characters properly by hand), and typically also provides memorization hints, examples of words that contain the characters, cross references to comparable and contrasting characters, and then, of course, the concise explanations that I already mentioned.
I do not care to provide any particular vendor's link, but here is a link to the "Third Edition," on the publisher's official website:
If you hunt around at seller’s websites, you can probably find even more sample pages, or, better, maybe you can find a copy at a local library or bookstore, to see whether “Reading and Writing Chinese” is what you are looking for.
If I find or think of any other good books on the subject, I will edit this reply accordingly.
Just be careful as her tones really need work, and the lesson doesn't quite capture the usage in this Duolingo example, but other than that it's okay.
(This sentence is "I'm seeing him in a little while", not "I'm seeing him for a little while", whereas all of the examples in the video are about "for a little while".)
I wouldn't call it a tense particle, but a time adverb, an adverbial time phrase, or something like that.
Not all time adverbials are alike in Chinese. This one has two positions: between the subject and the verb, where it means "in a little while", and after the verb, where it means "for a little while".
There's also the "一会儿。。。一会儿。。。" structure, which you can look up if you're interested.
Your girlfriend may not be familiar with different regional pronunciation standards. The 儿化音 is common in Beijing and its environs, and its use for certain words and phrases, such as "一会儿", have made it into Mandarin more broadly, but it still hasn't spread to all corners of the native Mandarin speaking world. For example, it's absent from Taiwan Mandarin, where "一会" would be the equivalent of "一会儿".
That said, a Taiwanese Mandarin speaker might prefer to say "我等一下会见他" (literally "I wait-a-moment will see him") or "我快要见他" ("I quickly will see him").
Yes, "I will see him in a bit" is probably elliptical for "I will see him in a bit of time," but we do not say the "of time" part. So, all these phrases mean basically the same thing:
I will see him in a bit.
I will see him in a moment.
I will see him soon.
I will see him shortly.
I will see him momentarily.
I will see him in a jiffy.
You might also hear "I will see him in a second," or "I will see him in a minute," but in these phrases, "second" and "minute" are generally not literal: just "a short time" rather than precisely one second or 60 seconds.
"I will see him in a while" also works, but "a while" might seem "a bit longer than a bit," that is, "a little longer than a bit." So, you could even say "I will see him in a little while," but to me, "in a while" implies less urgency than "in a bit." To imply more urgency, that is, to mean "in an extremely short time, almost immediately, you might say "in a trice," but that phrase is not as common in my experience.
After the subject and before the verb is usually where time references go in Chinese: that is not always the word order, but it typically is.
I do not know "why" the word order is not the same as English, but there is a sort of parallel: English indicates the tense by altering the verb, sometimes with an additional auxiliary verb (such as "am," "have," or "will"); Chinese indicates the tense by adding a word or phrase that indicates the time; but in both languages, the "tense marker" or "time marker" typically occurs after the subject and before the verb, or, in English, with or before "the main part" of the verb. For example, in "I will see him," "will" (the auxiliary verb) occurs after the subject ("I") and before the main part of the verb ("see"), just where 一会儿 occurs in 我一会儿见他 ; the same pattern obtains for "have" in "I have seen him," or "am" of "I am seeing him," mutatis mutandis:
我见他。(I - see - him.) I see him.
我一会儿见他。(I - soon - [will] see - him.) I will see him soon.
我明天见他。(I - tomorrow - [will] see - him.) I will see him tomorrow.
我昨天见他。(I - yesterday - saw - him.) I saw him yesterday.
我现在见他。(I - now - [am] see[ing] - him.) I am seeing him now.
Note that this "explanation" is not really an explanation as such; rather, it's merely a sort of parallel between Chinese and English, and not even an exact parallel at that. The truth is, Chinese is a different language, and different languages structure sentences differently. (In English, word order is relatively flexible, but SVO - subect, verb, object ["I eat apples"] - is a typical pattern; in Irish, the pattern is VSO ["eat i apples"] , and in Japanese, the pattern is SOV ["I apples eat"], with much less flexibility in Irish or Japanese than in English.) Learning the standard word order is part of learning the language. It happens that Chinese word order is rather similar to typical English word order (both are SVO), but there are some differences. To an English speaker, it might seem odd to put "in a bit" between the subject and verb, but to a Chinese speaker, it might seem a little odd to put 一会儿 at the end of the sentence.
"in a bit" is very lazy English. In a bit of what? It should be 'later" or 'in a while' or 'at a later time' "In a bit" is an olden-timey-time kind of phrase that has a limited value to me as an native English speaker needing a proper literal definition or translation. IMHO this section needs upgrading.