Right you are. At the initial stage decomposition is somewhat unusual.
At the same time you know perfectly well that you can see the radical 亻in many characters. Then character 尔 you can meet when a foreign word is transcribed into the Chinese language with the sound [r].
Then you of course remember the radicals 冖 and 亅in a lot of characters. Who does not know this character – 小! And you know its meaning and reading! What does this figure mean 八?
And now again have a look at the decomposition chain of the character 你 — 亻尔冖小亅八. Doesn’t it look more familiar to you?
OK, you can just make a short experiment and see how the results will be astonishing. Try to explain this decomposition to one of your friends. He (she) will appreciate you very much and think of you as a tremendous teacher! Good luck!
Decomposition of the Chinese character 你 nǐ ‘you’
亻 rén man
尔 ěr you
冖 mì cover
小 xiǎo small
亅 jué hook
八 bā eight
- Synonyms: Structural analysis of the Chinese characters, Breakdown of the Chinese characters.
N.B. More information and guidelines about decomposition you can find in each Chinese textbook by Polina Shinkina on http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/polina985
and in the The Chinese Character Decomposition Guidance