隶 lì to catch, Servant 麦 mài wheat, barley
Can anyone suggest unique, etymologically correct mnemonic for the above radicals? Thanks
The lower part is ox tail. The four side strokes are hair on the tail. Thus, the glyph pictures that someone is holding ox tail on his right hand.
The 會意 implication of the glyph comes then naturally from two questions: what is he doing by holding ox tail on his right hand? The answer is to successfully catch someone. This is the first meaning (also extended to mean 及, reach). Now it's written as 逮 dai4. The extra part 夊 sui1 means to walk. The second question is who is caught? The answer is slave. This is the second meaning, now pronounced as li4.
來 is a 象形字 (pictogram), meaning wheat. The horizontal stroke was originally added as a left-falling stroke, intensifying the meaning of ear of wheat.
Ancient Chinese thought 瑞麥天來, which meaning auspicious wheat comes from the almighty. Thus this glyph was then used to mean to come. Later this meaning gained dominance and another glyph 麥 was created to refer to its original meaning, wheat. The added part is a foot plate 夊, concreting the thought of 瑞麥天來.