Questions tagged [history]

Questions related to the history of the Chinese language(s).

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90 views

The name of the California high school fraternity, Hi Tow Tong

Honor societies and fraternities are a fixture in U.S. colleges. Most often they use Greek letters for their names, and some have names in English. However, the men's honor society of Santa Cruz High ...
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49 views

What title did the merchants who dealt with Canton's 13 Factories have?

What I know: During the period leading up to the Opium Wars, trade into China from Europe was locked down to 13 buildings in Canton known as the 13 factories. European merchants were only permitted to ...
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45 views

What are the surnames and given names of these fictional people of the Three Kingdoms?

金環三結,董荼那,阿會喃,忙牙長 What are their surnames and given names. For example, is 董 the surname of 董荼那?
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106 views

An extremely rare same name used by two people

The rare name 澹台灭明 is used by two people: A disciple of Confucious. A character is one of Liang Yusheng's novels. As I understand, the surname 澹台 and the given name 灭明 are both extremely rare in ...
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40 views

What word should be used to describe anyone who is counter-revolutionary, that is, one who opposes a revolution?

Literally translating, can one who opposes a revolutionary be called a "反革命" in Chinese? In mainland China, "反革命" used be a serious crime which may be lead to death penalty. So people are not allowed ...
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113 views

very old chinese language

I need help to determine this brand How old is the brand? Is it a stamp or a tax stamp? Does it have something to do with the silk tax?
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91 views

History/usage: 耦 vs. 偶?

According to the ABC dictionary 耦 means: a couple as a noun and to couple as a verb. Think of words like: 去耦 meaning decouple. But, 配偶 can also be written: 配耦. What is the history and ...
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122 views

One more painting signature, ink + gold

I am very grateful for helping me with signature on lovely Chinese painting, I have one more in my collection, judging by the back of it it has at least 100 years. It is painted with ink and gold, the ...
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1answer
131 views

Antique Chinese painting

Before I ask I'd like to say how much I admire Chinese culture and art. Hence I always dig in antique shops for something from China. A few years ago I bought these beautiful twin paintings (not ...
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2answers
79 views

How many supplies did Liu Bei have at Dangyang?

I was attempting to translate this passage from the Records of the Three Kingdoms: 比到當陽,衆十餘萬,輜重數千兩,日行十餘里,別遣關羽乘船數百艘,使會江陵。 The background of this is: Cao Cao had invaded Jingzhou, Liu Bei was ...
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Historical: How was Chinese written in telegrams and early computers?

I know about "Chinese Typewriters", the question here is how Chinese was represented in earlier information systems. For example, Japanese Telegrams were always written in Katakana and many early ...
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1answer
103 views

Where was the heartland of the pre-historic Chinese branch of languages (or that of the entire language family)?

For the Indo-European family of languages, a common hypothesis is that it originated in central Asia, somewhere north of the Caspian and/or Black Seas. Do we have any idea where the Sino-Tibetan ...
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81 views

Are the two 勾魂鬼 actually 黑白无常?

哎吆,我担心了! “(孙悟空)掏出金箍棒,把两个勾魂鬼打成了肉酱。” 是不是这两个‘勾魂鬼’就是那两位‘黑白无常’? 他们成了肉酱的话,谁来捉拿去世人的魂呢? There will be an imbalance between heaven and earth. Souls will pile up! Soul pollution!
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179 views

Was the word 男朋友 borrowed from English (or maybe the opposite)?

男朋友 and 女朋友 have the same thought process as their English counterparts, as in both words are compounded of (the gender) + ("friend"), even though they're actually used to refer to a romantic partner ...
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362 views

Where does the phrase 镜中花,水中月 come from?

I was helping a friend from Pakistan to improve his English translation for a long, complicated assignment. He had the sentence below. I'd like to know where '镜中花,水中月' comes from. I just translated it ...
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111 views

The etymology of 便当 in Chinese

The following excerpt is from the top answer on 知乎: 丈夫每天吃自己做的便当(没错,是他自己做的,不是他妻子做的)她吃大餐,去一次美容院就能花4.2万。看表情就知道,这位太太毫无愧疚之心,可能还觉得自己萌萌哒。两人摊牌后,妻子没有道歉,而是要求丈夫以后更努力工作赚钱。最后以这男人跳下站台自杀,妻子改嫁结束。 The 便当 here ...
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192 views

What is the 门 in 厦门 and 澳门?

Are there other Chinese cities besides 厦门 and 澳门 which end in 门 and what does 门 mean in this context?
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133 views

Why doesn't the Chinese language have a one character word for “young”?

There are one-character words for "old", "love," "book," and many more important concepts. Why is 青年 the way to say "young" and not a one-word character?
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33 views

What is learned by analyzing the component and relationship of 牧野 in regards to The Battle of Muye?

In other words, what am I missing by not analyzing the characters? It seems that 牧 (mù) can be used in a very Chinese sense to connote a benevolent ruler, in that the term is also used for shepherd. (...
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145 views

Who translated “deductive reasoning” into 演绎推理?

The word 演绎 had been used by Chinese literati long before it acquired the precise modern meaning. I wonder exactly who made the link between 演绎 and deduction? The definition on baidu makes you want ...
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200 views

Was Shuowen Jiezi 說文解字 originally written in the seal script 小篆?

Modern editions of Shuowen Jiezi 說文解字 use seal characters 小篆 only in the headwords. This is also the case with editions published a few hundred years ago. Was the whole original 121 edition of Shuowen ...
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264 views

Why is there a special pronunciation of 论 just for 论语?

The character 论 has pinyin lùn for all uses except in 论语 where it is lún. Is there some known historical reason for this change in pronunciation?
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878 views

How was 辣 used before the Columbian Exchange?

I'm assuming the character (and word/morpheme) 辣 is not a recent creation and goes back far in history. These days it means "chili/chilli", "pepper", "spicy". But chili peppers only came to China ...
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131 views

Western grammatical influence on vernacular Chinese in the 20th century

I am currently reading a history book by P. Zarrow on the period between 1840 and 1949. When commenting the emergence of vernacular Chinese (pioneered f.e. by 胡適)he makes sparse comments about the ...
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450 views

Which proverb / expression is original? — 爱及屋乌, 爱乌及屋, 爱屋及乌

In an ealier question (or thread) 爱、采 ( A trivalent verb takes 2 objects ) ... 3 variations/versions of a proverb or expression were mentioned : 爱及屋乌 == he loves her so much that he even loves the ...
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163 views

砲響: were there cannons in ancient China?

After reading Romance of the Three Kingdoms, I was surprised to see a lot of references to 砲響 (the sound of cannonade). Here's a few examples: 嚴綱鼓譟吶喊,直取麴義,義軍見嚴綱兵來,都伏而不動;直到來得至近,一聲砲響,八百弓弩手一齊俱發。 ...
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630 views

A unified theory of 就 meaning

就 always bothered me. I couldn't (and maybe still can't) get a hold of its meaning. By looking at many examples of the usage I came to realization that 就 marks a process of becoming a subject to or ...
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1answer
91 views

Historical Question, Possible Wade-Giles, Sichuan river name

I am currently reading an entomologists diaries from the late 19th Century - A.E. Pratt. He travelled Sichuan Province and published his journal, To the Snows of Tibet through China, in 1892. Pratt ...
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145 views

What are the etymologies of 局 and 局面?

As far as I know 局 applies to everything which demands crooking ones body. A job behind a desk almost always means you are sitting with your back bent: A small office is 局, a chess game is 局, a game ...
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110 views

Why did people sometimes call Liu Bei “明将军”?

Reading some historical texts on Liu Bei, the famous Three Kingdoms warlord, I was surprised to see that in more than one occasion, he is referred to as 明将军. What does this name mean, and where did it ...
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117 views

Are radicals a relatively new invention for looking up dictionaries?

According to this article, radicals were invented for looking up characters in a dictionary, and didn't exist until after the publication of the Shuōwén Jiězì [說文解字] (around 100 AD). Is it true that ...
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153 views

Chinese vs English [closed]

There is a lot a gramma points/words in chinese similar to english 生日/ birthday 爸爸的笔 / dad's pen I would like know if it's a radom linguisitic fact or if it could have a chinese influence on ...
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528 views

Is there strong evidence that Classical Chinese was ever spoken?

Classical Chinese (Wenyan) diverges sharply from modern varieties, as any student of classical texts will note whether foreign or native Chinese. Wenyan has a long written history, but is there ...
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193 views

Does 宝 have its own history separate from 寶?

I was trying to figure out the characters for Sapporo, the Japanese beer, the other day and found: 七宝 was one of the translations for it. My initial reaction was to search 「七寶」 in my Japanese ...
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161 views

What is the oldest known Chinese audio recording?

I have tried search engines and Wikipedia articles on the history of audio recording, in English and Chinese, but couldn't come closer to this. What is the oldest known recording of anyone speaking (...
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79 views

Earliest usage of 力不从心?

What's the earliest usage of 力不从心? The earliest I've seen is: 《後汉书·西域传》 今使者大兵未能得出, 如諸國力不從心, 東西南北自在也。 Anything earlier than 后汉书? 445 is, apparently, the given year for completion of 后汉书.
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121 views

How is 古代汉语 defined?

According to Hanyu Wailaici Cidian (Dictionary of Chinese Loanwords), bóshì (博士) with the modern sense "doctor" is derived from the Japanese hakushi, which in turn is of "Ancient Chinese" (古代汉语) ...
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237 views

What's the Mandarin equivalent of the Hardcore History podcast?

So I'm looking for an very interesting and in-depth history podcast, in Mandarin, for native speakers. It's doesn't have to be about Chinese history, or any particular place or period. Any ...
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182 views

When was 华/華 first used as a reference to China?

E.g. as in 中华 or 华语, and other similar words.
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86 views

Were 蒸 and 祯 homonyms?

Wu Dalang, a character in Water Margin, which takes place during the Song dynasty, sold steamed buns called "炊饼". These buns were originally called 蒸饼: 凡以面為食具者,皆謂之餅,故火燒而食者呼為燒餅,水淪而食者呼為湯餅,籠蒸而食者呼為蒸餅。 ...
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5k views

What is a good English translation of 土豪?

土豪 [tǔ háo] seems to be a popular Internet slang term in the last couple years. The idea that I get is that it is a rich person who flaunts their money and is somewhat snobbish or spoiled. Is this ...
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1k views

乐 Le and Yue: When did they diverge?

In the character 乐, it has two readings in Mandarin. In pinyin, yue4 and le4 (plus other readings I take are literary) In other dialects too, there seem to be 2 distinct forms. In cantonese, lok and ...
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186 views

What is the original meaning of 匈 (besides “chest/breast/thorax”)?

The Wikipedia article on the 匈奴 gives a literal translation as 'fierce slaves'. Did 匈 mean 'fierce' in former times? What is the etymology of this character?
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100 views

Any historical connection between 筵席 and 宴席?

宴席 and 筵席: I know what both words mean, and I think it's quite funny they have similar pronunciations with quite similar meanings (give or take on both). Do the two words have similar origins? Any ...
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697 views

勇 character on soldiers' uniforms in movies

I don't know much about Chinese military history, but I do see this character appearing on historical uniforms (fictitious or actual) worn by soldiers in movies, some are set in the Qing dynasty some ...
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357 views

酵: jiào vs. xiào

I'm always hearing the pronunciations jiào and xiào being used interchangeably by native speakers for the character: 酵. What's the deal? Is there a standardized pronunciation for 酵? What's the ...
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257 views

Is knowing how Chinese Characters are formed common knowledge?

Are Chinese taught in school how Chinese characters are formed (mainly phono-semantic compounds) or do they just bruteforce remember them? At least I know Japanese people don't learn phonetic parts of ...
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2k views

Are the Cantonese word 係 and the Japanese word はい related?

The Cantonese word meaning "to be", written as 係 (Jyutping: hai6) sounds similar to the Japanese word はい ("hai" in various Romanizations). Both words are used to answer "yes" or "it is correct" to yes-...
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402 views

Character 瞓: where did the pronunciations come from?

The character 瞓 is a Cantonese character meaning "sleep". It is pronounced xùn in mandarin and fan3 in Cantonese. I was wondering how two so different pronunciations (I would expect xun to match syun ...
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130 views

Through which processes became words in classical Chinese that tautological?

There are a lot of different words for many concepts in classical Chinese, for instance for the personal pronouns. Due to which circumstances could this happen?