3

I am particularly looking for the rationale behind the change from 入 in the traditional character to 人 in the simplified version.

Given that the number of strokes are the same, I was surprised at the change.

Is it because 內 and 内 are long-accepted variants of each other and the reformers just picked one to be the standard? The choice could have been because of aesthetics, frequency of use in the reformers' local region, etc.

Another thought I had is that there is some larger pattern that I have not recognized yet that effectively imposed this change. An example of the kind of pattern I am thinking of is changing all (or at least most) 貝 components to 贝 when simplifying the characters.

5

They don't call this a "Simplification" in the PRC. Simplification is stroke-cutting achieved by various methods - if a character is standardised not by stroke cutting, it's not a Simplification.

Basically, the structure of「內」was already not clear by the time of Han Dynasty clerical script, and famous calligraphers overwhelmingly wrote the inside with the same strokes as「人」. Most print forms and standardisation efforts (apart from the PRC) have reverted the inside back to「入」.


「內」(Baxter-Sagart OC: /*nˤ[u]p-s/, inside) is comprised of simultaneously semantic and phonetic「入」(/*n[u]p/, to enter) and semantic「宀」(building).

For reference, some character evolution sequences:



enter image description here
・185.1
合集17299
西周

enter image description here
大盂鼎
集成2837


enter image description here
日甲146背
睡虎地秦簡
東漢

enter image description here
論語
熹平石經


enter image description here

 



enter image description here
・812
合集14993
西周

enter image description here
公貿鼎・安
集成2719


enter image description here
20・安
睡虎地秦簡
東漢

enter image description here
校官碑・寶
 


enter image description here

 



enter image description here
・4.28.3
合集5560
西周

enter image description here
豆閉簋
集成4276


enter image description here
・80
睡虎地秦簡
東漢

enter image description here
衡方碑
 


enter image description here

 

Please carefully note the shapes of the corresponding timeframes of the character samples.「人」was never part of the structure of「內」.



enter image description here
・2940
合集18901
西周

enter image description here
善鼎
集成2820


enter image description here
日乙17
睡虎地秦簡
東漢

enter image description here
孔龢碑
 


enter image description here

 

What you're really seeing in the PRC standard「内」is the culmination of a change within regular script strokes using a Qin-Han shape as a basis.

Note in 東漢・衡方碑「內」, the top of the inner shape is still much more elongated than the top of 東漢・孔龢碑「人」. When regular script morphed characters into a roughly square shape (instead of the flattened rectangular shape as typical of clerical script characters), the top of「人」became elongated as well, so the inside of the regular script calligraphy style of「内」and「人」became indistinguishable.

?・智永

enter image description here
眞草千字文
 


References:

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    To ensure I understood correctly: The older form of 内 had “入”, but due to various changes over time it became indistinguishable from "人". Then, most modern standardization programs picked the old/original form (入), while the PRC standardization program picked the common form at the time (人). Is this about right? – 2ndQuantized Jan 6 at 18:06
  • 1
    @2ndQuantized that's entirely correct. I hope my answer wasn't too long! Except that I wouldn't know whether 人 was really the most "common form" at the time, but it was common enough. – dROOOze Jan 6 at 18:14
  • Thanks! No, it wasn't too long - I like having the more detailed explanation and the references. Thanks for your help! – 2ndQuantized Jan 7 at 16:34
0

Quote:- "Is it because 內 and 内 are long-accepted variants of each other and the reformers just picked one to be the standard?"

For a definitive answer, we of course require a true expert.

However, just to get the ball rolling, here's my personal view.

You are right in that they are accepted variants. But why pick one and not the other because aesthetically, IMHO, the discarded one looks better, or more "Chinese" (Actually the Japanese retained it in their Kanji)

First of all let's look at the component parts of 內 and 内:-

It's made up of 冂,(Jiong),(城外,郊外,野外), -- (outside the city, the wilds).

and 入,(Ru),(into, to enter); (pictographically, an arrow head),

or 人, (Ren), (people).

If you were to chose between:-

(a) an arrow head, (入), "inside" the wilds, (冂), to denote "inside", or,

(b) people, (人), "inside" the wilds to denote "inside",

which would you chose?

Obviously the people originally tasked to pick one made their choice.

This is just my wild guesses. I could be completely wrong of course.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.