Variant characters are often called 异体字.

How about words? E.g.:

歺厅 is a variant of 餐厅

歺厅:

餐厅的异体词?

餐厅的变体?

[Specifically looking for XX的XX, i.e.: 餐厅的XX]


up vote 2 down vote accepted

Words variants in Chinese are 异形词.

For example, there is a document published by the govenment of PRC, 《第一批异形词整理表》(The First Series of Standardized Forms of Words with Non-standardized Variant Forms).

However, I think 歺厅/餐厅 is not a typical example of “异形词”.

In fact, 歺 is one of the second round of simplified Chinese characters (第二批简化字, 二简字), which is obsolete and non-standard now. The different between 歺厅 and 餐厅 is on the character, not the word. So in this example we may say:

歺厅的“歺”字是“餐”的二简字。

Better examples of “异形词” can be:

  • 树阴 vs 树荫
  • 唯一 vs 惟一
  • Just for the sake of argument: technically we could write 歺厅是餐厅的异形词。 – user3306356 Mar 24 '17 at 9:49
  • @user3306356 yes you can. – Leo Liu Mar 25 '17 at 5:34

I am afraid they should not be considered as 「异形词」.

「异形词」 are multisyllabic words with the same pronunciation but written in different graphemes. The case of 「餐厅」 and 「歺厅」is not the same as the case of 「唯一」 and 「惟一」 or the pair 「按语」 and 「案语」, for 「唯」、「惟」、「按」、「案」are separated graphemes (all in-use standard Chinese characters), but 「歺」 is an abandoned variant of the standard character 「餐」, and the two should be considered as the same grapheme (but different glyphs).

To be clear:

【异形词】

「按」: press 「案」: table/desk/case

They are different graphemes.

→「按语/案语」: editorial comment

Exactly the same pronunciation and meaning but written in two forms consist of characters with different meanings. They are 异形词.

【异体字】

「餐」: meal 「歺」: meal

They are different glyphs but the same grapheme. 「歺」is the abandoned simplified form of 「餐」.

We often refer the two as 「异体字」, and of course, this term is only used to refer different glyphs, never multisyllabic words or phrases.

So the sayings:

「『歺』是『餐』的异体字/二简字。」 - Correct

「『歺厅』是『餐厅』的异形词。」 - Wrong

It's better to say, 「『歺厅』中『歺』是『餐』的异体字。」

See these:

Variant Chinese Characters - Wikipedia

Grapheme - Wikipedia

  • Then it's a case of (my) giving a wrong example. 异形词 was exactly the word I was looking for. – user3306356 May 6 '17 at 11:25

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