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As I was reading about a former serviceman, I found out that 復員 actually means DE-mobilisation. My intuition would have been strikingly wrong! It is intuitive that 復 means “re-“ or “again”. But for 員 I would have thought that it meant “serviceman“. Thus, I would have guessed it meant „RE-mobilisation“.

Why is this intuition wrong? Is the meaning of 員 involved the one interpreted in the 漢語大詞典 as 众人 pronounced yun2?

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  • I think it's that they're "returning" home and not back into the field.
    – Mou某
    Aug 5, 2021 at 8:56
  • @Mou某 yes, quite! But why is this implied in 員?
    – Ludi
    Aug 5, 2021 at 8:58
  • 復員 --> 恢復在役人員的平民身份 = restore the civilian status of active personnel ; Before a serviceman is mobilized, he was a civilian
    – Tang Ho
    Aug 5, 2021 at 9:18

1 Answer 1

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started from the word “動員”, a translation of mobilisation

http://dict.revised.moe.edu.tw/cgi-bin/cbdic/gsweb.cgi?o=dcbdic&searchid=Z00000049169

afterward, people (人員) would return / resume (復 —-> 恢復) their civilian roles prior to the war.

“員” means 4, 5 of this expaltionations:

從事某種職業的人。如:「教員」、「服務員」、「公務員」。

團體中的一分子。如:「黨員」、「會員」、「團員」。

http://dict.revised.moe.edu.tw/cgi-bin/cbdic/gsweb.cgi?o=dcbdic&searchid=W00000011819

have fun :)

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