A word is the smallest meaningful unit in a language, and is used as the basic material to express ideas. If a word is represented by a single syllable, we call it a monosyllabic word. If a word is represented by two syllables, we call it a dissyllabic word. Words composed of three or more syllables are called polysyllabic words. In writing, a syllable is a character. So a monosyllabic word is represented by one character, a dissyllabic word by two characters, and a polysyllabic one by more than two characters. For example: 人、我、书、家, etc. are monosyllabic words; 汉语,客厅,沙发,同伴,etc. are dissyllabic words:自行车,公共汽车, etc. are polysyllabic words. There are a few characters which are meaningless by themselves and they must be combined with other characters to make up words, e. g. in the word 葡萄( grapes), neither 葡or 萄 carries any meaning by itself, 琵 and 琶 in 琵琶 as well as 玻 and 璃 in 玻璃 are all such cases.