Loss of tǐng

Today we are going to look at ting. Surprisingly this character is not included in most fonts, so don’t be alarmed if you cannot see it on your computer. I will be using an image instead of the actual character to avoid any problems.

ting

ting is pronounced tǐng. It is made up 丿(piě) and 土(tǔ, earth). Originally, this character was made from 人(rén, man, human) and 土(tǔ, earth) as you can see below.

ren(人) + tu(土) = ting sw(ting)


So why are we talking about this character? Well, it usually serves as a phonetic component for characters. However, since most people no longer recognize it, they now see it as 壬(rén) or 王(wáng,wàng), which is incorrect. Let’s look at a few characters where ting is used.

ting hanzi


Be sure not to write these with 王 or 壬, the differences are very slight, but they are nonetheless there.

ting lookalikes


Here are the same 4 characters in 小篆.

ting sw 王 sw 玉 sw 壬 sw

They were even harder to spot the differences back in the day.


Here is the rule as stated by the Taiwan Ministry of Education(台灣教育部)

ting MoE

CNS11643 shows several pronunciations, however I believe they are all based on similar-looking characters, e.g., 正(zhēng)、壬(rén)、王(wáng,wàng)、and 玉(yù).