1

CUHK and Yellowbridge don't expound the semantic shift. I'm especially addled by the shift in lexical categories too, from a noun to an adverb.

Synopsis  : 從「」,「」聲,用作副詞,表示才、只。

Elaboration: 從「」,「」聲,用作副詞,表示才、只。《說文》:「材能也。从人,堇聲。」《國語‧周語中》:「今天降災於周室,余一人僅能守府。」

  「」也指數量少。《公羊傳‧恆公三年》:「此其曰有年何?僅有年也。彼其曰大有年何?大豐年也。」何休注:「僅,猶劣也,謂五穀多少皆有,不能大成熟。」

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  • 2
    It seems you are trying to find semantic connections for a phonetic component, or am I misunderstanding your question? It says in both your quoted entries that 堇 gives the sound, so why are you looking for a semantic relationship? – Olle Linge Sep 11 at 17:45
  • @OlleLinge I'm asking about the Semantic (not Phonetic) Component, 人. – NNOX Apps Sep 18 at 2:42
2
+50

Outlier

1 (orig.) ability, talent
2 ○ only

Here the ○ icon is an indicator of a phonetic loan. So, basically it is just a:

character that is "borrowed" to write another homophonous or near-homophonous morpheme

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