2

Pursuant to the question below about 伴:

What intrigues me is what 8 八 and a cow 牛(or 2 cows) have to do with this?

chineseetymology.org says for 半: 'Augmented pictograph 半. Augmentation 八 (indicating separation) and cow 牛.' (WTF is an 'augmented cow??)

zhongwen.com says 半: divide 八 an ox 牛 (share it? cut it up??)

An old version of 伴 enter image description here is this 2 'augmented cows'??

We see what looks like 2 people to me, but the dictionary says it is 2 times 半, = 八 (8 or divide) and 牛 (ox, cow) twice. Later we see 伴 as 人 + 半 Maybe on a notion of 'a man's best companion is his cow?' (In ancient times I think, a cow was regarded more valuable than a wife, at least in many societies.)

2

Perhaps those etymologies are not quite correct.

The, current, definition in the new Outliers dictionary gives the following explanation:

FORM

Ancient form:

yeahyeah

半 was originally composed of 八 “to divide; cut into two parts” and 斗 “measuring spoon,” indicating the original meaning “a spoon used to serve alcohol with a capacity of half a 斗 (dǒu).”

They give the following reference:

杜忠誥,2002《說文篆文訛形釋例》,台北市:文史哲出版社,2009年2月初版修訂。

p. 191-195

Then under Meanings they continue:

1 (orig.) a spoon used to serve alcohol with a capacity of half a 斗 (dǒu)

2 → half

I guess a 半 is almost like a half-pint - if we’re to put it in modern terms westerners could understand.

——

edit: I would imagine 伴 is comprised of 亻/人 [a meaning component] and 半 [a sound component].

  • A dou would be a pint? About 454ml? I hope they were not drinking 白酒 by the pint! – Pedroski Dec 12 '17 at 0:01
  • Apparently, 一斗为十升:zhidao.baidu.com/question/553053209.html 一半斗为5升!! 干杯哦!! – Pedroski Dec 12 '17 at 0:42
  • Not an apt illustration, I know, but I couldn’t think of anything else that is usually ordered in halves. Let alone a half of ten liters. – user3306356 Dec 12 '17 at 3:35

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