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19

There are some historical reasons, in short: 一: one bar. May mean the whole, the universe. Reference. 二: two bars. May mean the positive and negative. The upper may refer to the heaven, the lower the earth. Reference. 三: three bars. The upper may refer to the heaven, the lower the earth, and the middle the human. Reference. 四: First |||| (four bars), then ...


13

Etymology of 一, 二, and 三 Explanation of 一/二/三 in 象形字典 (Dictionary of Pictographs) “一”是特殊指事字,抽象符号“一”既代表最为简单的起源,也代表最为丰富的浑沌整体。造字本义:最小原始单位,最小的正整数。古人认为“道立于一,一生二,二生三,三生万物”。就是说,混沌太初的存在整体是“一”;然后由太初混沌的“一”,分出天地“二”极;天地二极之间,又生出人这第“三”部分;天地人三者,衍化出宇宙万物。一 ,代替混沌太初的整体;二,上面的一横代表“天”,下面的一横代表“地”;三,上下两横代表“天地”,中间的一横代表“人”。 一 is a special self-explanatory character. The ...


11

Let the "foot" meaning of 足 be A, the "plenty, enough" meaning be B. Will discuss about this topic in the following two sections. Different Root First, 現代漢語規範詞典 第二版 ("Modern Chinese Standard Dictionary" 2nd Edition) suggests that meaning A and meaning B come from different origin, though they share the same character currently. Figure 1. Meanings of 足 in ...


11

Wiki page of 牛排 gives a clue of its etymology, written by, 姚德懷, the current chairman of 香港中國語文學會 (The Chinese Language Society of Hong Kong Ltd.), a non-profit organization in Hong Kong. Here's a summary: According to 漢語大詞典, the word 牛排 has been cited in some novels in Qing Dynasty in the beginning of 20th century. Such as: ...


10

This radical is called the 双耳旁 or 双二刀, due to it looking somewhat like an ear or the 刀 character. There are actually two radicals depending on whether it's placed to the left or right: 左耳刀 if on the left, 右耳刀 if on the right. The two radicals have different origins and different meanings. http://baike.baidu.com/view/457766.htm The left version is derived ...


9

Nope. The radical was simplified from 玉 (jade), originally referring to a polished sphere of jade. 求 is the phonetic component. For reference, Baxter's Old Chinese reconstruction has 求 *grju, and 球 *grju. In this particular case, 求 has remained a good phonetic for three millennia! The sense of 'sounding stone made of jade' can be seen in the Kangxi ...


9

Have a look at http://zh.wiktionary.org/zh-hant/%E5%9C%8B%E5%AE%B6, which explains lots of traditional meanings of 国家. The basic meaning is related to 古代諸侯的封地稱國,大夫的封地稱家. In the classical age of China, there were vassal states and the land of a vassal was called 国. There were also officials titled 大夫 who were given land as well, and a 大夫's land is called 家. ...


8

In a literal sense, 加油 means to step on the gas pedal when you drive a car. Imagine what happens when you step on the gas pedal? More gasoline is added to the engine. What happens when more gasoline is added to the engine? The engine roarsssss! If someone is having a hard time, they are like a car being stuck in the mud or a similar situation and unable to ...


7

The Phonology of Standard Chinese by San Duanmu (端木三) has an entire chapter devoted to this topic (The Word Length Problem): In this section I review six previous approaches to the disyllabic phenomenon in Chinese. For convenience, I call them (a) the homophone-avoidance approach, (b) the speech-tempo approach, (c) the grammatical approach, (d) the ...


7

Yep, they do As you can find on the great and all knowing wiki, the word for tea in most languages comes from the Chinese: Cognate to Min tê: English tea Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish te Finnish and Estonian tee French thé German Tee Greek τέϊον Hebrew תה Indonesian and Malay teh A great many others Cognate to Mandarin chá: Greek τσάι ...


7

Wikitionary has an etymology for this character 四 which says: The original shell and bone character was 一 written four times, 亖 (compare 二 and 三). The bronzeware style of the character featured a repositioning of those four lines inside 口; this later evolved into the combination used today of 口 mouth and 八 divide which meant a dispersal of ...


7

Etymology of 五 Explanation of 五 in 象形字典 (Dictionary of Pictographs) “五”也是特殊指事字,“五”的甲骨文字形用一个叉号寓意天、地万物的交汇,以表示大于“四”的正整数。有的甲骨文在字形(万物交汇)基础上加(天地之间),造字本义:金、木、水、火、土等宇宙的构成要素,代表天地间万物构成元素的极限数,大于四,小于六。在造字时期的远古时代,一,二,三,四,五,六,七,八,九,十,都曾是极限数。 五 is also a special self-explanatory character. Its oracle glyph uses a cross to imply "meeting of everything between ...


7

In Classical Chinese, the word 乎has several other uses besides as an interrogative marker. In Ch 27 of ‘Classical Chinese, A Basic Reader’ by Yuan, Tang and Geiss, it occurs with an adjective: 巍巍乎若泰山 ‘solemn and majestic like Mount Tai’ (referring to lute playing). They describe 乎 here as ‘an enclitic particle attached to an adjective to intensify or ...


7

They are not really called beautiful kingdom and hero kingdom. When Chinese come up with phonetic names of foreign things, they try to find a character that come close enough in sound while having a good meaning. Luckily 英 and 美 happen to correspond well with "Eng-" and "-me-" while having suitable meaning. Just like France 法兰西 (法国) has meaning of 法 Law. ...


7

About the "乔" part of "George[dʒɔ:dʒ]", you can find some material in the 译音表(the Form of Ttransliteration). Besides, "奇" should be instead of "治" following the form. However, "约定俗成(the convention)" is one of the important rules of 《英文人名翻译准则》. Everybody often use "乔治" refer to "George", so that "乔治" is agreed upon gradually. Anyway, I don't know why did ...


6

的 in its function as a particle is attested in the 四名大著 Four Great Classical Novels, which are written in a vernacular Mandarin-type language, dating from the Ming dynasty. The particle use of 的 is also attested from the Yuan dynasty, when it seems it was adopted for the grammatical particle of the emerging new literary language. Its earliest attestation is ...


6

Some says that "乔治" is very close to George in Shanghainese (上海話) since Shanghai was the big harbor allows international trades in 17th century. Lots of phrases are created/translated at that time. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Pidgin_English


6

Actually this association comes from Japan, as written in 百度百科:招财猫. The article says there are stories of cats repaying their masters in Japan since Edo period and this is the origin of different kinds of 招财猫s. There is also a movie Neko no ongaeshi about this kind of stories.


5

Etymology of 四 Explanation of 四 in 象形字典 (Dictionary of Pictograph) “四”是特殊指事字,甲骨文的字形,表示其为“二”的两倍。造字本义:两倍于二的正整数。金文承续甲骨文字形。将金文的横笔竖写,就成了;将与(二,表示4是2的倍数)合写,就成了。有的金文在的基础上再加“二”,强调“四”与“二” 的倍数关系。篆文省去金文中的“二”。 四 is a special self-explanatory character. Its oracle glyph represents it is the twice of 二. The original idea of character construction: twice of 二. ...


5

喝西北风,originally as 吸风, from 《庄子·逍遥游》: 藐姑射之山,有神人居焉……不食五谷,吸风饮露。 Its original meaning is to live with just breathing the air, not eating or drinking anything else. It's a state in Tao. Nowadays, in oral Chinese, 喝西北风 usually means having nothing to eat because of poverty. For example: 他工作要是丢了,全家都得去喝西北风。


5

Pronunciation of 輸 Stumpy's answer is correct, 輸 hasn't been pronounced as 俞 before. I add some Chinese materials to state this: 郭錫良《漢字古音手冊》 輸 (上古音)書侯 ɕǐwo (廣韻)式朱切,書虞合三平遇 ɕǐu where ɕ in international phonetic system sounds [舌上音]書. 《廣韻》 式朱切 where AB切 means initial consonant is from A and the vowel is from B. 《集韻》《韻會》 舂朱切 《正韻》 商朱切,𠀤音鄃 ...


5

You are correct in thinking that is 俞 the phonetic for 輸, but even "originally", they had distinct pronunciations: In Baxter's Middle Chinese reconstructions: yu2 俞 MC yu shu1 輸 MC syu In Baxter-Sagart Old Chinese reconstructions: yú 俞 OC *lo shū 輸 OC *l̥o That is, "originally", one of them had a devoiced initial, and the other ...


5

One of the meanings of 白 is, roughly "in vain": 没有成就的,没有效果的:~忙。~说 I think it's easier to imagine how white/plain become "without effect" than it is to imagine how it became "nonsense". P.S. 白话 means "plain speech" = vernacular, as far as i know.


5

說文解字 has both references for 氣 and 气. Put simply, 气 and 氣 comes from different origin and somehow merge together into one stream later. In detail: 米 is not added to 气 to get 氣 in Tang Dynasty. Long time ago, 氣 appears in the form of Bronze inscription, though different meaning as 气. 氣 is originally designed to mean the "air generated from digesting food". ...


5

As @50-3 has mentioned, the 难 is the simplification of the traditional character 難. Most Chinese characters are phono-semantic compounds (形声字), in which the radical hints at the meaning while the phonetic hints at the pronunciation. In the case of 難, the phonetic component is 堇 while the radical is 隹. In modern Chinese, the pronunciation of 堇 has diverged ...


5

The 250 page of Chinese wikipedia state this as : (http://zh.wikipedia.org/zh/250) 250是辱骂或调侃他人的俚语,意为“笨蛋”或“傻子”,该措辞来源于“半吊子”一词。古时五百两为一封,二百五十两为半封,谐音“半疯”,渐渐演化而来。 Literally translated as: 250 is an offending or teasing slang, interpreted as "idiot", "dumb". It originated (probably) in a way similar to that of another Chinese phrase 半吊子 (half a diaozi) ...


5

According to one source, the expression originally comes from racing, used in its most literal sense. Another source claims that it has its roots in 明代, in a family of expressions including "火上加油". Both agree, though, that "加油" became a general expression of encouragement though its metaphorical usage becoming more and more closely tied to the word by ...


5

In Thai, they use ‘chaiyo!’ [ไชโย] for cheers. Thai has borrowed a lot of vocabulary from Sanskrit and Pali, and ‘chaiyo’ is likely derived from the Sanskrit verb ‘jayati’ meaning ‘to win’. If the Mandarin term was borrowed from the same source (also likely in my view), it could have been written with various characters down through the centuries. The ...


5

外子 an archaic term, parallel to calling one's wife 内子. It was very common in Song dynasty(between 960 and 1279). Regarding its origins, the third volume of 《恒言录》 written by 钱大昕, a famous scholar in Qing dynasty(1636-1912), gives the following origin for 外子: "in Liang dynasty, a country during Southern and Northern Dynasties of China(420 - 589), the poet ...


5

爱不释手 is idiom in Chinese. You cannot split and use it. In most time, we use it as adjective or adverb to describe that you love something very much. Common Usage: 爱不释手的{Object} 他对他的{Object}爱不释手 {Object}让我爱不释手 Sorry ,I miss the etymology: 南朝·梁·萧统《陶渊明集序》:“余爱嗜其文,不能释手。”



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