I am trying to learn some vocabulary and am looking at the radicals to help me remember.
The problem is, the radicals in some characters don't seem to make sense to me at all. In 肚, the two radicals separately are 月 meaning the moon, and 土 meaning earth. Somehow "moon earth" does not seem all too related to the stomach to me!
I was curious about how the character came about, so I looked up Chinese character etymology. There don't seem to be very good resources on this, but one website did say:
"From meat 月肉 and phonetic 土. Meaning stomach."
I have not seen meat as 月肉 before, only 肉. So if 月肉 is another word for meat, I'm not sure why the moon radical is in there either! And there doesn't seem to be any significance to the 土 part according to the website, but I fail to believe that part of a character was just chosen at random!
My current ideas are that, sometimes 月 seems to be used for round things like in the character for face 脸, which may motivate its use in the character for stomach.
As for 土, perhaps it dates back to some ancient Chinese belief about the stomach 'grounding' you, i.e. the brain/head represents a connection with the heavens, the heart with the emotional realm, and the stomach with earth? I'm only guessing here, but am very much interested if anyone knows.
Also, I'm curious in general if someone can comment on how well radical content reflects character meaning. As my repertoire of characters is rather limited still, I don't have much to go by myself to evaluate this; but I do suppose that in many cases the radical usage would make more sense to someone with a familiarity with ancient China and ancient Chinese beliefs...
Thank you in advance.