Loss of tǐng

rypervenche Posted in 雜項

Today we are going to look at


rypervenche Posted in 雜項

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 🙁


rypervenche Posted in 雜項

Today’s character is 聖 which means “holy, sacred, saint, sage”. It is a 形聲 so let’s break it down. (It can also be considered a 會意)

So we have 耳 along with 呈. It’s meaning is interpreted either as a 形聲 or a 會意.

形聲:The semantic component is 耳(ěr, ear) and the phonetic one is 呈(chéng)
會意:”the person who speaks 呈 into the ear 耳 – sage”.

So how did they decide to simplify this one? Take a look.

So what’s wrong with this? The character already exists. 圣(kū) is a 會意, “to till the ground 土 with the hand 又 – till”.

So isn’t it nice that what once was holy is now just scattered dirt? That’s some nice imagery.

Anyone can comment now!

rypervenche Posted in 雜項

Hey guys, I just realized that I could allow anyone to leave comments on my posts, so go nuts now. You don’t need an account to do so anymore. I hope to get a lot of comments from now on 😀


rypervenche Posted in 雜項

So it’s been a while since my last post. I’ve been thinking I should start doing 1 character per post, that way they are easier to read and they come more frequently.

So let’s start with the character 发.

What is it? Well, it’s two characters merged into one. In Traditional Chinese those two characters are 發 and 髮, and they both have two completely different meanings.

I have found two different etymologies for the character 發, they both make sense to me, so I’ll post them both.

1. 發(fā) is made up of the semantic 弓(gōng, bow) and the phonetic 癹(pō/bá). It has the meaning of “to send out”, which you could do with a bow. The 說文解字 uses this etymology.

2. 發(fā) is a 會意 made up of 癶(bō, footprints)弓(gōng, bow)殳(shū, action with the hand). Therefore, its meaning could be seen as “the action of 殳 on a bow 弓 to make the arrow go forward 癶 – shoot”.

Whichever origin you believe to be true, both work. Either way, both methods (形聲 and 會意) are normal ways of creating characters.

As for the second character, 髮, it goes a little something like this.

On top we have the semantic 髟(biāo, hair) and on the bottom the phonetic 犮(bá). Thus, we have the character for “hair”, 髮(fà[PRC]/fǎ[TW]).

So the simplification for these two characters is the same. 頭髮 and 發音 become 头发 and 发音 respectively. 发 is apparently based on the 草書(grass script) of both characters. It is a new character with no semantic or phonetic components. It does reduce the number of strokes but it doesn’t really simply things. What’s more, it looks a lot like 犮 and 友.

2 pronunciations, 2 meanings, 1 character, lots of confusion 囧