Next on our list is a pair of characters that were merged into one in the simplification process.
髒(zāng, dirty) is a 形聲 made up of the semantic 骨(gǔ, bone) and the phonetic 葬(zàng). It’s pretty straight forward…an association of filth with bones. As an extra bonus, 葬 means to inter or bury the dead, so it has association with the meaning of 髒.
Next is 臟.
臟(zàng, organ) is also a 形聲 made up of the semantic 肉(ròu, meat) on the left and the phonetic 藏(cáng, zàng) on the right. Again, pretty self-explanatory. The meat radical is very often used with parts of the body.
On to the simplification of these two beautiful characters.
So here we have 脏. It’s semantic component is 月, which can either be 月(yuè, moon) or 肉(ròu, meat). You can find more about this simplification in my previous post here. It’s phonetic component is 庄(zhuāng) which is the simplification (or variant) of 莊(zhuāng).
So while the semantic part of this character is arguably accurate, (you still have to guess whether it is moon or meat), the phonetic part is less accurate than its traditional counterparts. What’s more, we have even more confusion since 脏 has 2 pronunciations and 2 meanings.
I don’t want dirty organs 🙁