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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 ...


14

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 ...


12

的 in its function as a particle is attested in the 四大名著 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 ...


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

Actually they all came from their pronunciation. America: 美利坚 ("美国" for short) England: 英格兰 ("英国" for short)


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

角 came from 銀角, which was historically a currency that represented a fraction of the silver coin (銀元). 元 came from 圓, a description of the coin's circular shape. A theory for 角's use is that since the basic meaning of 角 is a horn; by extension it came to be used to describe "things that looks like horns". And from there, "corners" 角落, "angles" 角度, etc. ...


9

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 ...


8

The dog refers to the son. The term 犬子 originally meant "puppy": 【漢·列仙傳·邗子】邗子者,自言蜀人也,好放犬子。時有犬走入山穴,邗子隨入。 So calling one's son 犬子, would have been in essence referring to a child as "my little pup". That was not originally a self-deprecation. Instead, it was a childhood nickname for a famous poet, Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju: ...


8

There's no difference in meaning. They are not actually all that distinct: both words came from 哪, a generic interrogative character used for indicating a question. Given an appropriate context (e.g. 在哪), the character expresses the meaning of "where". Both 哪儿 and 哪里 builds upon that. The suffix 儿 is generally meaningless, and reflects the northern ...


8

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 ...


8

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 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 ...


8

The 月子旁 was originally '肉' & not '月' - 肉 has the meaning of 肉体 meaning 'flesh' or having to do with the 'human body' so it's often seen with body parts. Wikipedia: 肉字旁:臺灣標準中,凡肉字旁的字,都寫作「提肉旁」即,使其不會與「月字旁」相混。《字形表》中,肉字旁只在字的左旁時才寫作「提肉旁」,在字的右旁時採用首筆豎的方式與「月字旁」區分(「月字旁」在右方時,首筆為撇)。但在下方時,則「肉」與「月」首筆都作豎,兩者會相混。


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 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. ...


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

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

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.


7

一二三 should be self-evident, they are equivalent to Roman numerals, that is, simple enumeration symbols. Then it gets murky, but note that even numbers 二四六八十 are all symmetrical, whereas the odd numbers (一三)五七九 are not. 四 is defined by this symmetric property, as an even number that can be halved. 六 is actually a 四 with a dot above, using old seal script. 八 ...


6

In Old Chinese, it is generally thought that some words followed regular morphological alternations (which are preserved in a few places in MSM, but "frozen", i.e., no longer productive). For instance: Verb/Noun 处 chu3 "to dwell" / chu4 "a place" 数 shu3 "to count" / shu4 "a number" 知 zhi1 "to know" / (also 智) zhi4 "knowledge" Similarly: ...


6

This is 协和语, it used to help Japanese officials and soldiers to communicate with Chinese in Manchukuo and the Second Sino-Japanese War(中国抗日战争). “协和语”中的“干活”、“新交”,这是两个动词,“干活”是汉语“工作”的意思,在协和语中汉语干活就变成许多意的动词了。 "干活", "新交", which are the two verbs, "干活" is the Chinese "work" means, so in 协和语 "干活" becomes a verb of many meanings. see ...


6

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

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

It's not a classifier here. From dictionary: 列车 lièchē (1) [train]∶众多连续的车辆。一般指火车,尤指由牵引机车和运货或载客的车厢组成的连挂成列的火车 So you can see, 列 is short for 成列的 (lined up in a row), therefore it's put before 车 as an adj.


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

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 through its metaphorical usage becoming more and more closely tied to the word by ...



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