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The shape of 「肉」 in its component form is differentiated from 「月」 in Taiwan and sometimes in Hong Kong's table of standard character forms, but appear the same in other regions' standards and in traditional print. Conversely, 「舟」 in its component form seems to be differentiated from 「月」 in traditional print. Take the entry for 「服」 from the Kangxi Dictionary for instance (notice the two "dots" in 「舟」 versus the two horizontal strokes in 「月」 in the characters above and below):

Interestingly enough, it seems that a large chunk of characters with 「舟」 in its component form is a result of being corrupted from 「凡」 (e.g. 「服」, 「前」, etc.), but traditional print shapes still differentiate it from 「月」.

In modern times, this distinction is not found in any regions' standard with the exception of South Korea I believe, which is largely similar to Kangxi dictionary's character forms (although I don't know if Koreans are taught to write that way as well, or if their handwritten forms are different). I'd like to understand:

  1. Was the component form of 「舟」 ever differentianted from 「月」 in handwriting (from 楷書 onwards)? It seems that there were efforts to differentiate the various origins of 「月」 in a character, but were those efforts ever widespread?
  2. Would it be seen as strange for someone make that distinction in their handwriting today (although the usefulness of actually doing this can be debated)?

Edit: Reworded the questions after reading a very informative answer here: Is there any character with radical 月 that has a meaning of 月 (not 肉)?

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    You might want to specify what you mean by handwriting; are you specifically referring to 楷書? Obviously, the further back you go, the less corrupted the components are, so at one stage you'd have bamboo or silk manuscripts having the full form of 舟 handwritten as a component. – droooze Jul 22 at 21:03
  • Good point, I was a bit unclear in my question. I was referring to 楷書. I've edited the question to clarify. – wang_xiao_ming Jul 22 at 21:28
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  1. (Part 1) Was the component form of 「舟」 ever differentianted from 「月」 in handwriting (from 楷書 onwards)?

If you count handwritten dictionaries or volumes, then yes, they're usually recorded as variant characters. See a 國學大師 record:

http://www.guoxuedashi.com/zidian/ytz_13379j.html

  1. (Part 2) It seems that there were efforts to differentiate the various origins of 「月」 in a character, but were those efforts ever widespread?

If you're talking about handwriting, I don't believe that this is true in a mass-scale sense:

enter image description here

Excerpt from a Song Dynasty version of Shuowen

If you're talking about the print styles in the Kangxi dictionary, I'll draw your attention to the layout first:

enter image description here

As you can probably infer, Kangxi print styles made a conscious effort to incorporate Shuowen small seal script features. General print shapes before or even after Kangxi did not really do this.

enter image description here

Excerpt of 《論語主疏》 printed in the fourth year of Qianlong, from ctext

Would it be seen as strange for someone make that distinction in their handwriting today (although the usefulness of actually doing this can be debated)?

We can take the ROC standard as an example, because we know that they differentiate between「月」and「⺼・肉」...

enter image description here

...but not with「舟」!

enter image description here

However, the effort in distinguishing them results in such a small change in the print shape that, if you carry this on in handwriting, I doubt that it'll be seen as weird. It'll be kind of weird if you fully wrote「舟」though, I'd imagine that someone not familiar with paleography might not even recognise the character.

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    Great answer. Follow-up question: Kangxi print styles made conscious decisions to incorporate features from 小篆, but doesn't seem to differentiate 「月」 from the component form of 「肉」. Is there any reason for this? – wang_xiao_ming Jul 24 at 16:16
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    @wang_xiao_ming I can only guess: (1)「月」is overwhelmingly found on the right hand side, and「肉」is overwhelmingly not found on the right hand side, so making a new printing cast for the shape is not economically viable. (2) If you look at 說文小篆 forms,「肉」isn't even that different from「月」. – droooze Jul 25 at 18:18

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