2

Motivation

While writing my recent meta question, I've cited Dr. Gavin Chiu (趙善軒)'s article to explain the character '進' and its simplified character '井'. However, a user points out that the linked article is not real academic material, and that such explanation is invalid.

Question

How do the glyphs '⻌' and '隹' come up together to bring the meaning of '進'?

My attempt

The bone script (甲骨文) for '進' reads 進甲骨文.

In Shuowen Jiezi (說文解字), there's simply a one-line explanation.

登也。从辵。閵省聲。

It's not hard to identify the left glyph in the ancient writing 說文解字 in 說文解字 as '辵', but I can't understand the role of '登' in 說文解字's explanation for '進'. The right glyph '隹' clearly represents a bird enter image description here.

Source of images for ancient scripts: The Complete Collection of Ancient and Modern Characters (古今文字集成)

  • 1
    登 means to ascend/mount in Chinese. Its connection to bird and motion stands to reason. – Michaelyus Jun 17 at 13:24
  • 1
    The 登 there is just to say that it has (had) the same meaning of 進 back then. Not all characters are meaning-based, many of them are sound-based, and that's what the Shuowen is trying to tell you: from an abbreviation of 閵 (lin), that is, take the 門 off, you get 隹 as a sound component. But either way, Shuowen is not made under scientific criteria at all, and you should not trust it. And I don't have time right now to look any further, and probably droooze will come soon and give you the right explanation. ;) – Enrico Brasil Jun 17 at 22:03
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enter image description here
京津4001
合集32535

「進」was originally constructed from semantic「隹」(bird) and semantic「止」(picture of a foot > motion), indicating the flying motion of a bird, which infers the meaning forward, advance (birds cannot fly backwards). Later on,「彳」(left half of「行」, picture of a road intersection > roads, movement, path) was added to form the equivalent semantic component「辵・⻍」(walking, motion).

西周

enter image description here
𥃝圜器
集成10360
戰國

enter image description here
帛乙8.5
 
東漢

enter image description here
白石神君碑
 


enter image description here

 

Note,「辵」is the full form of「⻍」. As stated earlier,「辵」is made up from a merger between「彳」and「止」, shown again via「過」below.

西周

enter image description here
過伯簋
集成3907
戰國・楚
簡・帛
enter image description here
郭・語3
 


enter image description here
睡・效9
 
東漢

enter image description here
華山廟碑
 


enter image description here

 


References:

  • Non-linguistic nitpick: The birds found in China cannot fly backwards; hummingbirds on the other hand... – Michaelyus Jun 20 at 11:12
  • @Michaelyus yes, but that is a side-effect of them being able to hover rather than fly in general :) Hummingbirds are unique in that respect. – droooze Jun 20 at 11:13

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