This method is often used to clarify which exact character of a certain pronunciation is meant, for example when saying one's name:


It is used so frequently that I assume there is a word for it (like a historical method to describe a character's pronunciation was called fanqie 反切).

What is this method called?

  • I just call it's an explanation. – Zhang Dec 7 '18 at 2:32
  • It's like spelling an English name over the phone: "B, as in beta". I'd just say it's the method of: "use it in a word" – Daniel Cheung Jul 27 '20 at 13:08

I would call it 釐清 (to clarify)

釐清 這個 'li' 是 理由的理, 不是 里程的里

to clarify this 'li' is 理 for 理由, not 里 for 里程


闡明 (to clarify )

闡明 這個 'li' 是理由的理, 不是 里程的里

to clarify this 'li' is 理 for 理由, not 里 for 里程

神秘德里克 wrote:


I agree there is no specific term for 'specify a character by context' .

'specify a character by context' is an act of '釐清' or '闡明' a character

"你叫 Huáng Yuán? 請問是那一個 Yuán?" (Your name is Huáng Yuán? May I ask which yuán is that?)

"To clarify (釐清/闡明) which 'Yuán' is in his name, 黃源 said: 'it is the 源 in 水源"

  • 5
    提问人问专门的词,这两个词也不是说专门表示这件事情。可能是没有什么专门的词专门表达这件事情吧。 – 炸鱼薯条德里克 Dec 2 '18 at 2:29

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