獨 vs. 独

I don’t have much time, but I would like to at least make a new post. So here I am going to show you another simplification. This one deals with the removal of a phonetic component to reduce stroke count.

du2 alone

So here is 獨(dú), which means “alone, independent, single”. It is a phono-semantic compound. On the left is quan3 dog 犬(quǎn), a pictogram of a dog, here used as the radical. The idea is that dogs are lone animals. On the right is shu3 place 蜀(shǔ, the name of an ancient state). While its pronunciation has changed a lot over time, it still has kept its rhyme. Most characters that have 蜀 as their phonetic value are pronounced “zhu”(usually 3rd tone^^), “du”, “shu”, or “chu”. My next post will include more about pronunciation changes and similarities.

So, onto the simplified version.

du2 alone SC

So what happened? A part of the phonetic component was removed in order to reduce the number of strokes. This leaves us with 虫(chóng/huǐ, insect), which is not at all a phonetic or semantic component. We are now left with two pictograms and no pronunciation.

So what do you call a phono-semantic compound with no phonetic component? …I don’t know either…


說文解字

SW du2 alone

Shuowen says: 犬相得而鬬也。从犬蜀聲。羊爲羣,犬爲獨也。一曰北嚻山有獨