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Background:

In this question over at ELU someone posted a picture of a ball with pictures seemingly illustrating the 26 letters of the English alphabet. The only picture that doesn't fit this description is a picture of an axe illustrating the letter Y. In the answers to this question several theories have been presented trying to explain this.

Alphabet ball

A recent attempt points to the Chinese word 鉞 (yuè) which seem to have the meaning axe. The theory is that this picture might have been used to illustrate the letter Y in a similar context for teaching pinyin.

I don't speak Chinese, but based on Google Translate, I get the impression that words starting with 斧, 斧头 (Fǔtóu), 斧 (Fǔ) and 斧子 (Fǔzi), would be more commonly used for axe. 鉞 seems to be used for axes used as weapons.

Question:

Would someone speaking Chinese intuitively associate this picture of an axe with the word 鉞?

Would it make sense to use this picture to illustrate the letter Y in a series of pictures illustrating pinyin?

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Edit:

After some discussion on the original thread, my conclusion is "one of the graphic meant to be printed on the Swedish version of that toy was mistakenly printed on the English version instead."

My original answer is as below:

Would someone speaking Chinese intuitively associate this picture of an axe with the word 鉞?

The answer is no, we wouldn't

Would it make sense to use this picture to illustrate the letter Y in a series of pictures illustrating pinyin?

They are not pictures that illustrate pinyin; The pictures are there as visual aid to help children to remember English alphabet more easily.

~

There have to be a mistake somewhere -- Q-Queen, W-worm, N-Nail pairings make sense, but 'Y' and 'Axe' pair doesn't, because the word Axe doesn't begin with Y.

I think the original design was [X-aXe].

The point of this design was to match an alphabet with an easily remembered common word, thus help children to better remember the English alphabet; since there is no common word begin with the alphabet X, the designer made an exception and paired Axe with X, because the pronunciation of Axe is similar to X.

There are two rules in choosing a word to match an alphabet in this design. 1. the word has to begin with the same alphabet. 2. the word has to be common enough for kids to remember. The designer couldn't follow both rules for the alphabet X and decided rule #2 is more important because this is a design for helping kids to remember alphabets.

Although the word 'axe' doesn't begin with 'X', but 'axe' does contains 'X' and it is the prominent alphabet in the word.

The handle of the axe is supposedly the missing lower left part of the alphabet X, which should be painted green to complete the alphabet.

It was either the designer's idea, thinking people would get the idea that the missing part of X was replaced by the axe's handle. Or it was a production error that painted the axe handle with different color.

I am a retired graphic designer.

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Would someone speaking Chinese intuitively associate this picture of an axe with the word 鉞?

No. 鉞 is not a commonly used character, and a hard one even for adults.

Would it make sense to use this picture to illustrate the letter Y in a series of pictures illustrating pinyin?

No. 鉞 is not used to refer to the ax anymore nowadays. If the ax has to be on the ball, it will be paired with f.

P.S. I think the ax is put there because the Y resembles a tree and is even painted green. It probably is a coincidence that 鉞 has the pronunciation of Yue.

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I really really hope you are good at chinese language so that I can explain this in chinese word which is far more better than I do this in english... first of all,you are right,it is not a 鉞 in the picture,it is an axe. this is a 鉞 enter image description here

鉞 is not an common weapon which are used to fight in the war.it is a ritual object which only for showing the power and the glory of its master. in ancient age of china,there are nine rank of the mandarin.you can not kill(usually is cutting off head) a mandarin up from the second rank by a simple weapon like a sword or a knife,you must use 鉞.so it often is an ritual object belongs to the emperor.if the emperor give the power of having 鉞 to a madarin,then the madarin can kill every other madarins without asking the emperor at first.so it is the most power of a madarin can get.in our history if a madarin can have 鉞,his emperor must be very powerless or just a puppet,he will instead him to be the emperor and intial a dynasty of himself's very soon.or you can understand as it is the last step of a mandarin to instead an emperor. and emperors did not usually use 鉞 to kill mandarin if he want to kill a mandarin of second rank or upper,he would make him to be a normal person at first and kill him with a simple weapon or if the emperor is very kind and gentle,he will just hang him up or poison him,cause it can save the integrity body which is very important in chinese culture.

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