New answers tagged etymology
The earliest texts with 乒乓 I can find is vernacular novels of Ming dynasty. 《西遊記》 Journey to the West as an example: 如此二三日，又聽得後宰門乒乓乒乓，磚瓦亂響。——Chapter 10 他掄槍舞劍，一擁前來，照行者劈頭亂砍，乒乒乓乓，砍有七八十下。——Chapter 14 乒乒乓乓，好便似殘年爆竹；潑潑喇喇，卻就如軍中炮聲。——Chapter 16 “乒” and “乓” are used together as onomatopoetic in classical Chinese. :)
乒 is onomatopoetic, like bang! or crack! 乓 is a complementary character to 乒, to denote 乒乓 table tennis, ping pong. They are not used in classical Chinese. 乒 may be used in older vernacular texts, but all modern usage is about table tennis, if zdic.net and Wenlin are to be trusted.
The historical reason behind it is kind of surprising though. From a Chinese Characters Roots book: The earlier form [of the character] looked like a yoke and a pair of saddles of a two-horse carriage. The initial meaning was two or double. It was also a unit to count vehicles and written as 辆 later. That is why we have: 一辆车 ― yī liàng chē ― ...
From a calligraphic perspective, the character 两 represents two people (人人) attached to some kind of vehicle or container. Thus it depicts a more accurate description of two objects or subjects, in opposition to 二 which has a purely numeric meaning. From the phonetic point of view, it also sounds better, as it is harder to misunderstand its meaning when in ...
Canny and selfish. 例句：英国是世界上最鸡贼的国家。
Although the current usage of 怪兽 is dominated by the Japanese 'kaiju' concept, the word is probably not a Japanese creation. Sima Xiangru (司马相如) used it in one of his works, 封禅文 (2nd century BC): 然后囿驺虞之珍群，徼麋鹿之怪兽，䆃一茎六穗于庖，牺双觡共抵之兽，获周馀珍、放龟于岐，招翠黄、乘龙于沼。 The modern word 怪兽 was probably reintroduced into Chinese by Japanese filmmaking, as this word only ...
This might be what you are looking for: http://xh.5156edu.com/html3/1700.html 两, or 兩: 双。用于鞋娄〖two〗 一两棕鞋八尺藤,广陵行遍又金陵。——唐·戴叔伦《忆原上人》 It's used as "pair" along with describing shoes. Noted that this is more a usage than the origin of the word.
@BillyChan's answer is pretty good. This is just an additional thought. There is a difference in intention and perception about the word 老外. What I mean is, what a Chinese speaker intends or means by the use of this word, and how the foreigner listener often perceives it are two different things. Although it may be mildly impolite, most Chinese people do ...
Traditional to Simplified is many-to-one, right?? It is almost the case that each Traditional character maps to exactly one Simplified character (possibly itself). This is certainly the mental model that most people have about simplification, and it's not far from the truth. Alas, there are exceptions. One of my favorite references on this topic lists out ...
Time and space. Characters often morph into new meanings, and also take on a new shape, when there is a certain amount of linguistic autonomy between regions. This is no different from the Latin alphabet having countless of different variants, like Runic or Etruscan, but the Chinese situation is further complicated by the sheer number of characters and the ...
This is not an easy question. But I think here is an answer. It originated from the Chinese water clock or clepsydra in the ancient time (刻漏 or 漏壶, http://baike.baidu.com/view/41631.htm). 刻漏 or 漏壶 was a leaky water container, where the water level represents time. 商 was originally the scale plate on this type of water clock. The scale first had 100 grades ...
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