There are four tones when speaking Mandarin Chinese.
It's easy if you think of reading a musical note and singing.
Chinese rdical is basic component of chinese charcaters, chracters formed by 1-5 radicals then many characters are formed into compound words.
There are total 214 radicals, from stroke 1 to stroke 18.
Some of them are already self charcters and rest helps to determan the meaning of characters and sometimes pin yin as well.
Here you can see some examples and also you can see the list of radicals every month.
examples of character formation:
1. 明 (míng: bright, clear);
日 (rì: sun) +月 (yuè: moon) = 明 (míng: bright, clear)
2. 天 (tiān: day, sky);
一 (yī: one) + 大 (dà: big) = 天 (tiān: day, sky)
example of compound word:
明 (míng: bright, clear) + 天 (tiān: day) = 明天 (míngtiān: tomorrow)
radical: stroke 1
|4 丿, 乀(fú), 乁(yí)||piē||slash|
|5 乙, 乚(yīn)||yì||second|