Having read this question: How can one determine the radical for a given character?, it gave me another question.

Since many simplified characters lost their original form (compared to traditional ones), how do I actually look up their radicals? A classical example would be "leaf". In traditional form, it's 葉 whereas it's 叶 in simplified form. The traditional form preserved the 艹 (艸) radical (which means grass), but simplified form does not have it at all. Just by looking at 叶, you'd think it has 口 as radical, but 口 (mouth) has nothing to do with leaf...

If anyone can think of examples similar to this, please share.

  • 4
    You can determine its radical as you determine the radical of other character.The radical of “叶" is “口". I think you really concern "why 口 is used for 叶,while 口 has nothing to do with the leaf?", if so, you may propose a new question.
    – Huang
    Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 11:33
  • There's also traditional 話 and simplified 话. The radical changes.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 12:00
  • may I start a new thread to explain how some characters are simplified and why there are criticisms on the simplification.
    – Huang
    Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 14:54
  • @Huang Thanks for your comment, and I guess you're probably right - I was puzzled by the fact that 叶 has no association with 葉 and tree leaves. I'll start a new question and you can answer it. I look forward to your explanation :)
    – Georgeee
    Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 15:56

1 Answer 1


The radical of many simplified characters has nothing to do with the character itself; the only reason for this is just to simplify characters. I have some examples (found on the web):

enter image description here

1) Without the heart, how can one love

2) Looking back at the hometown, the man has already left

3) No morals, because it is none of my business

4) The leader has lost his/her path

5) Unable to see each other, how can the two be close(intimate)?

  • 1
    I edited your image because it was too big. This fits better. If you think the quality is too poor (it was before too for the small characters), you can make a simple table in some program like I structured it (more horizontal than vertical) and post it here as an image. :)
    – Alenanno
    Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 14:26
  • Can someone translate the comments below the characters on the image for us noobs? Commented Dec 17, 2011 at 15:55
  • 2
    God... this picture reminds me of some stupid conversations I've had with Taiwanese people. I'm not a great fan of the way Character simplification turned out, but it's not because doesn't have a heart (or, worse yet, 义 no longer depicts the sacrifice of a sheep. the horror!) Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 16:53

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