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I understand that the phonetic part of 我 (wo3) is pronounced 戈 (ge1). It seems also that it means (or used to mean) "Dagger"/"Sword", however the only references I can find to this character says that that is an old, defunct usage.

So, to what degree is this character used in common Mandarin? Is it just thought of as a radical, or does it have some other usage in speech?

  • It's part of the word for the Gobi desert 戈壁沙漠, very common. – Mo. Feb 25 '18 at 18:54
  • see e.g. bkrs, esp #10697 (frequency) bkrs.info/slovo.php?ch=%E6%88%88 – user6065 Feb 25 '18 at 18:54
  • 戈壁 in戈壁沙漠 is a transliteration of Gobi – Tang Ho Feb 26 '18 at 2:23
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It seems also that it means (or used to mean) "Dagger"/"Sword", however the only references I can find to this character says that that is an old, defunct usage.

as a noun, simply mean 'dagger-axe or halberd' The reason that it is an old, defunct usage, is no one are using it in modern warfare. Therefore the term 戈 as a weapon had disappeared from common vocabulary

So, to what degree is this character used in common Mandarin? Is it just thought of as a radical, or does it have some other usage in speech?

戈 beside being a common radical, is also part of some 'warfare' related compound words and idiom.

Example:

干戈 = warfare

同室操戈 = infighting; fight between family members, partners or allies ( Two athletes from the same nation fighting for the Gold medal can be described as 同室操戈)

止弋為武

  1. toes + dagger-axe = advance with weapon = 武 (force);

  2. 止(stop)+ dagger-axe = stopping war = force

#1 is the more likely origin of 武

戈 is often used as a transliteration word, for example: 戈壁 in 戈壁沙漠 is a transliteration of Gobi; 探戈 in 探戈舞 is the transliteration of Tango

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in oracle script, 我 (u+6211) is:

enter image description here

http://humanum.arts.cuhk.edu.hk/Lexis/lexi-mf/search.php?word=我

then, 戈 (u+6208) is:

enter image description here

http://humanum.arts.cuhk.edu.hk/Lexis/lexi-mf/search.php?word=戈

in which, the right half of 我 is 戈.

further, in cantonese (sydney lay scheme),

我 (u+6211) is ngoh5, sound file

戈 (u+6208) is gwoh1, sound file

both share the same final oh. we might say that "戈" is the phonetic component of the character of "我"

most of the usages of "戈" are weapons / arms related, like "干戈".

http://dict.revised.moe.edu.tw/cgi-bin/cbdic/gsweb.cgi?o=dcbdic&searchid=Z00000069665

and yes, it's one of the 214 radicals.

have fun :)

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