5

「賬」is said to be a derivative character (分化字) of「帳」, itself being a derivative character of「張」. The meaning of「帳」is related to tents, screens, or curtains:

《玉篇》帷也,張也,幬也。

「賬」has meanings relating to accounts, bills, and debt, but I don't quite see the connection to「帳」. Outlier outlines the semantic extension like so:

  1. (orig.) to pitch a tent
  2. → tent, canopy
  3. ⇒ accounting records (written on cloth of some sort)

However, the jump from 2. and 3. seems a bit big. Is there something missing in between this gap, or a more detailed explanation describing this jump?


Also branching a bit from the above, but is the relation between「帳」and「賬」similar to that of「帖」and「貼」, in the sense that the latter is derived from the former?


Edit: From Taiwan MoE's 異體字字典:

按:此字本為帳幕之義,後亦用為錢項計簿之義,此義或从貝作「賬」。清.翟灝《通俗編.貨財》云:「幃幄曰帳,而計簿亦曰帳者,運籌必在幃幄中也。今市井或造賬字用之,諸字書中皆未見。」

Seems like this briefly touches on this semantic extension, but I'm hoping someone else can verify this, or provide more insight on the topic.

2

簡易六書原則

  1. 形聲:

在中國文字中,形聲字的比例最多,「形聲」就是形符和聲符的配合,「形符」表示字的類別;「聲符」則表示字的字音

Both 帳 and 賬 are 形聲字 (Pictophonetic characters)

  • 貝 indicates the character is related to 'money/finance'. It is the semantic component of the character 賬

  • 巾 indicates the character is related to 'tent/cloth'. It is the semantic component of the character 帳

  • 長 is the phonetic component of both 帳 and 賬

張 is a 會意形聲字. [弓 = bow --> bow extends + phonetic 長]

Wang_xiao_ming posted:

按:此字本為帳幕之義,後亦用為錢項計簿之義,此義或从貝作「賬」。清.翟灝《通俗編.貨財》云:「幃幄曰帳,而計簿亦曰帳者,運籌必在幃幄中也。今市井或造賬字用之,諸字書中皆未見。

It said 帳 originally meant 'tents', acquired the meaning of "accounting" later because "運籌必在幃幄中也" meaning: "to calculate war strategy, one must be in a tent" (in the army, close to the battlefield)

Since accounting involves money, the 巾 radical was replaced by the 貝 radical. The meaning of 'account --> (debt)' in '帳' thereafter, was transferred to '賬'.

'今市井或造賬字用之,諸字書中皆未見' However, at the beginning, 賬 was considered a made-up word by the general public, not listed in any reference book.

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  • Many sources seem to be in agreement that「賬」is a later invention as an unorthodox form (俗字) of「帳」when having to do with accounting. From Taiwan MoE's Dictionary of Variant Characters: 按:此字本為帳幕之義,後亦用為錢項計簿之義,此義或从貝作「賬」。清.翟灝《通俗編.貨財》云:「幃幄曰帳,而計簿亦曰帳者,運籌必在幃幄中也。今市井或造賬字用之,諸字書中皆未見。」. Do you have anything that suggests the two characters aren't related? – wang_xiao_ming Jul 7 at 22:03
  • @wang_xiao_ming Thanks for the quote, I will edit my answer – Tang Ho Jul 7 at 23:27
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賬 is a traditional character, its simplfied character is 账.
look its structural part:贝(or 貝), it is related to money. So I can say a word: 账本, equals to account book. Ok then, 帐, its structural part is 巾, we can simply conclude that it is related to textile. For example: 蚊帐, equals to mosquito net.

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