What are the differences between these two radicals? What is etymology? Both represent same character or different?
⻖yì mound, abundant R170 ⻏ fú city R163
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左阜右邑 (lit. left fu right yi) is a useful mnemonic to remind learners of Chinese that they are different radicals despite graphical similarity.
Usually (but not always, see 5.)
邑 (the 'ear') are the semantic component of the compound.
An example of
阜 (mound; mountain) as the semantic component: the character
陳/陣 originally means 'an array' (of soldiers in the battlefield).
邑 (district; city) as the semantic component:
邯鄲 (Handan city, see the idiom
鄭 (the Zheng state during the Zhou dynasty),
But this is NOT always true. In
鄭, for instance, there is no connection between its original meaning (a state) and its modern meanings (e.g.
鄭重 'solemn'). There may have been phonetic loan, which abolishes the semantic relevance of
邑. The same goes for
邪 (evil) – we only know based on character composition that its original meaning could have well been the name of a place (hypothesised to be 琅邪), but that place should in no ways be connected with evilness.
I highly advise against understanding Chinese characters in terms of radicals. The word radical (部首) is a specialised term that is only relevant to Chinese Character dictionaries, which organise Chinese characters under section (部) headers (首).
Chinese characters are actually just references to morphemes, and each Chinese character can simply be thought of as being made up from one or more morpheme hints.
You may find the following two Q/A threads helpful:
The two completely different characters which now commonly both look like 「阝」 when found in other characters are 「邑」 and 「阜」. As part of other characters, their shapes can be traced to 「阝」 like in the following table:
|金 | 楷
|春秋||金 | 楷
|金 | 楷
|楚・簡 | 楷
Notice how both 「邑」 and 「阜」 occurred on either the left or right side of a character;* the modern convention of interpreting 「阝」 on the left as 「阜」 and on the right as 「邑」 is only a convenient disambiguation mnemonic after both shapes have merged into the shape of 「阝」 as part of other characters; there was no such rule in earlier forms of characters.
Individually, of course, they still exist as distinct shapes, as demonstrated in the table below.
「阜」 originally depicted something like a row of rocks 「石」, and is commonly used to denote characters to do with hills/mountains and rows/arrays. For example,
*「邑」 can even occur on the bottom of a character; see e.g. the glyph evolution table of 「巷」. † City walls is now written as 「城」 (Baxter-Sagart OC: /*[d]eŋ/). The meaning fourth heavenly stem (/*tˤeŋ/) is a phonetic loan.
阜/ 阝 (Radical 170) - meaning: "mound" or "dam" - pinyin: /fu4/
邑/ 阝 (Radical 163) - meaning: "city" - pinyin: /yi4/
阝 is a character used in Kangxi writing which serves as the combining form of two distinct radicals, distinguished by whether it is on the left or right of a character. It is the combining form of Radical 170 (阜) when used on the left of a character, as in 阪, and of Radical 163 (邑) when used on the right of a character, as in 部.
The two radicals 阜(170) and 邑(163) are simplified into the same form 阝(170; 163). The only difference is whether it is on the left or right of a character.
When 阝 is on the left of a character (e.g. 阪, 陳, 陣) it is Radical 170
When 阝 is on the right of a character (e.g. 部, 邵, 郡) it is Radical 163