Most sources I can find say that 讀 (读) is a phonosemantic compound (形聲), where 言 is the semantic component and 賣 is the phonetic component.

However, the pronunciation of 賣 (mài) does not resemble 讀 (dú) at all, even in Middle Chinese (賣 /mai/; 讀 /duk/) or Old Chinese (賣 /mreːs/; 讀 /l'oːɡ/).

What is the purpose of the 賣 component in the character 讀?

2 Answers 2


well, 賣(u+8ce3) is sell; while 𧶠(u+27da0) is pronounced as "育".

left is 賣(u+8ce3), right is 𧶠(u+27da0), note the difference of the middle component:


well, in the past, 賣(u+8ce3) is for 買賣 (buy & sell) only. other characters e.g., 讀, 贖, 覿, 續 are using 𧶠(u+27da0).

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so, 讀 as a phonosemantic compound character is, combined "言" & 𧶠(u+27da0); that's why it's 屋韻﹒徒谷切

somewhere in time, the 𧶠(u+27da0) is less used, and 賣 is more "popular"; which causes confusing.

  • Are there any clues to what 𧶠 means, or is it only seen as a component in other characters? Aug 12, 2016 at 10:49
  • 說文解字 explained 𧶠(u+27da0)﹒ 衒也; that 𧶠 = 衒; and, 衒 is (same, from 說文解字) 行且賣也 (~ peddle, selling goods from place to place). in summary, 𧶠(u+27da0) means peddle, roughly. Aug 13, 2016 at 1:26

"賣" / mai4 / and "𧶠"/du2/ have different sound

瀆 as in 自瀆 /du2/

犢 as in 初生之犢 /du4/

讀 as in 讀書 /du2/

they are all phonically similar

from http://www.shuowen.org/view/1489


from http://ctext.org/dictionary.pl?if=gb&char=%F0%A7%B6%A0&remap=gb

《康熙字典》.... 𧶠中从囧,非𧶠字也。

It said the middle of 𧶠 is 囧, it is not the the word "𧶠"(sell) (I think it meant not the word "賣" )

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