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Where does this character 款 come from? Its meanings (model/style or fee/payment) doesn't seem to have any link to the semantic part 欠, unless it specifically refers to owed money/payment? And what does the left component mean? I haven't seen the left side (phonetic?) component in any other character before.

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Seeing as all the other answers are getting downvoted - I'll just leave this short reference here:

Outlier

FORM
款 kuǎn was originally composed of 柰 nài (now written 𰧭) and 欠 “person with their mouth open,” which hints at the original meaning “to desire something that one does not have.” 柰 gave the sound (but for the reading kuài).

COMPONENTS
𰧭
In 款 kuǎn, 𰧭 is an empty component. It was originally 柰 nài, which was the sound component (but for the reading kuài).

In 款, 欠 “person with their mouth open” is a meaning component, hinting at the original meaning “to desire something that one does not have.”

MEANINGS
kuǎn
1 (orig.) to desire something that one does not have
2 ○ sum of money, fund
3 → wealth; wealthy person
4 → item
5 ⇒ clause in a document

  • The meaning of money/funds is again another phonetic loan, indicated by the ○ symbol on definition number two.

The reference Outlier gives here is from:

p. 768
李學勤,2012《字源》,天津:天津古籍出版社,2013年7月2次印刷。

and here is the excerpt from Ziyuan:

enter image description here

and its extracted text:

形声字。《说文》:“款,意有所欲也。从欠,窾省声。歀,款或从柰。”姚文田、严可均校议:“当作祟声,小徐.《韵会》十四旱引作嶔省声。”徐濒段注笺:“窾之声转如窜,故《系传》作窾省声。然窾本从款声,款不得义从窾省声。此鼎臣所以删声字也。窃谓款当从祟声,读苦外切,故字又作歀,从柰即其明证。款或作款,正与隸或作隷同也。救乃诚款本字,其义为空虚,故从宀相承省作款耳。款从祟声,明白无可疑者,今径正之。”清邵瑛群经正字:“凡篆文偏旁出字,隶法当作土。”《说文》所释“意有所欲也”,当为款字本义,因为从欠为意符。战国秦汉文献多用为诚实之义,当为借义,用为空义,本字也作嶔。款字当以柰为声符,祟当是柰之讹变。桌是柰之隶变减省。款字未见于西周金文,也未见于西周文献,其字当产生于春秋战国时代。(周宝宏)

  • If you're curious about the, original, "⿰柰" portion of the character it is interesting that we can see a similar progression in 隸. This character later became: 隷. Where again ⿰柰 evolved into: ⿰𰧭.

This one makes me laugh because of the internet slang pun that can often be found associated with . Especially, here, situated next to an open mouth. But, perhaps that reinforces the desire for something you don't have.

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璽印
東漢
李歀 歀 款 款
「李歀」
十鐘山房印舉3.34
欠部
說文解字・或體
80甲
武威醫簡

「款」 was originally written as 「歀」, and the reference in 李學勤《字源》 claims that 「款」 was constructed for a sound like /*kʰʷraːds/ (Zhengzhang OC), making 「柰」 (/*naːds/) the sound component. 「款」 was later used for /*kʰloːnʔ/ (Mandarin Pinyin: kuǎn), and 「柰」 was later corrupted into 「⿱士示」.

「款」 (empty/hollow [now written 「窾」], wanting) uses 「欠」 (to lack) as a semantic component. The common meanings in use today are most likely phonetic loans.


References:

-1

欠is a Independent character. 欠 can be combined with other component to form a character. The left component of 款 is not a character, it just forms part of the character(款), and it has no meaning.

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    Sorry, but this doesn't answer the question on how the components of 款 are formed. 欠 is supposed to be radical or semantic meaning, yet the meaning of 款 has no semantic link to "breathing" as most of the characters with 欠 have some sort of link to it (欲, 欺, 吹). As for the left part, I am curious how it came about because no other characters have that component, so I am unsure if it's a phonetic component, or does it add some meaning to the character 款. – Fishuman Dec 13 '20 at 2:38
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It was a independent character from the very beginning and had nothing to do with “欠”. The earliest version of "款" we know today came from the warring states period (the left one)

enter image description here

"欠" at that time was something like "专". It became the "欠" you know today at Han dynasty (a few hundred years later). It was just a coincidence they developed into the same shape.

BTW, 款 at the beginning didn't mean "fee/payment". It meant “sincere”, and today it still has this meaning when you use words like “款款”

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  • "欠" at that time was something like "专". It became the "欠" you know today at Han dynasty (a few hundred years later) You're confusing functional character components with character shapes. – dROOOze Dec 13 '20 at 8:59

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