More inconsistencies in simplification pt.1

So I enjoyed doing the post on 巤 so much that I’m going to do another one with more examples. Seeing as this post turned out to be rather long, I am going to be breaking it up into seven parts. Each post will contain one of the seven phonetic components that I will be going over; they are 言蜀韋襄韱瞿詹.

I will be showing two sets of characters for each component. The first image will show characters whose traditional (on top) and simplified (on bottom) versions’ component are exactly the same. The second image will consist of characters whose components have been changed in simplified or characters that have been completely changed. Click on the images to view the enlarged versions. Let’s get started.

1. 言


All of these characters, save for the last two, are exactly the same in both scripts.1. The second to last character has had 龍 simplified to 龙 but has left 言 unaltered. The last character in this series is rather interesting; it has its radical simplified to 讠 yet it contains another 言 that has not been simplified. How confusing…

So wait, why have we only seen one simplification so far? I thought China simplified the 言 radical? Well, it was simplified, but not everywhere. Take a look at the next image.


So here you see some of the other changes that 言 goes through. Normally 言 is simplified to 讠. However, you can see here that many different changes are occurring.

Let’s look at these 3 characters back to back: 狺獄嶽, with each character a component is added2. Consistency. The simplified versions: 狺狱岳, one unsimplified 言, one simplified one, and then a completely new character to reduce the number of strokes.

Next look at 諸儲櫧藷蠩. Again we have consistency. In simplified we have 诸储槠藷蠩3, the first 3 have simplified 讠s, and the last 2 do not. Why?

The 言 in the character 這 has been replaced with 文 for no reason other than the reduction of strokes.

Lastly, we can see in the second to last character that 言 has been part of a unique simplification based on the shape of the character.

All of this can be rather difficult to remember. When do I simplify? When don’t I? The simplification process created many problems such as these. I have only included characters and examples that I was able to think of in the past few days. 言 may have 7 strokes, but it is easy to remember and even to write quickly.

  1. The grass component 艸 and the top part of 雚 are written different in both scripts. Click here and here to see examples. [return]
  2. 獄 is a 會意(the place where dogs 犭犬 yell 言 at each other = jail). [return]
  3. 藷 is not really used anymore, 薯 has taken its place. [return]