28

This is an interesting topic; it touches one of the core idea of the Chinese language. The Chinese language and all its dialects have not been designed by one inventor at one specific day. Instead, they were created and evolved at different regions through thousands of years at least. Evidences (see below) showed that some of the Chinese characters from ...


26

I found the same situation, living in China for quite some time, and unlike some other people who have answered, I understand exactly what you're asking. It was quite annoying to try to learn new words when the native speaker just tells you the meaning of 3 characters together and doesn't know or can't explain each character's meaning. I think the answer is ...


23

Let the "foot" meaning of 足 be A, the "plenty, enough" meaning be B. Will discuss about this topic in the following two sections. Different Root First, 現代漢語規範詞典 第二版 ("Modern Chinese Standard Dictionary" 2nd Edition) suggests that meaning A and meaning B come from different origin, though they share the same character currently. ...


22

This research seems to be relevant. Your question seems to be closely related to rapid reading techniques. Looking on those techniques, you may notice that many of them don't apply to Chinese, simply because logographic writing systems naturally allow rapid reading with no extra training. There is even an idiom, 一目十行 -- "reading ten lines at the same time"; ...


21

金-shaped 金字塔 Pyramid (Because the shape of a pyramid looks like 金) 田-shaped 田字格 grids with the arrangement like 田 工-shaped 工字梁 I-beam 工字柱 I-column 米-shaped 米字旗 the national flag of UK 之-shaped 之江 another name of Qiantang River, because its course looks like the shape of 之 井-shaped 井形格床 two-way grillage 井号 hash sign 人-shaped 人字队 in V formation (...


20

The 月字旁 was originally '肉' & not '月' - 肉 has the meaning of 肉体 meaning 'flesh' or having to do with the 'human body' so it's often seen with body parts. Wikipedia: 肉字旁:臺灣標準中,凡肉字旁的字,都寫作「提肉旁」即,使其不會與「月字旁」相混。《字形表》中,肉字旁只在字的左旁時才寫作「提肉旁」,在字的右旁時採用首筆豎的方式與「月字旁」區分(「月字旁」在右方時,首筆為撇)。但在下方時,則「肉」與「月」首筆都作豎,兩者會相混。


19

Among the handwriting styles 章草, 今草 and 狂草, 今草 is the most frequently used. However, compared with 今草, 行书 is even more popular. That's because: 章草 is the rapid writing of 隶书. Currently, Chinese teachers don't teach 隶书 in primary schools for its old style. Only calligraphy amateurs and experts would learn 隶书 so as 章草. 今草 is based on 楷书 -- 楷书 is formally ...


19

Etymology of 一, 二, and 三 Explanation of 一/二/三 in 象形字典 (Dictionary of Pictographs) “一”是特殊指事字,抽象符号“一”既代表最为简单的起源,也代表最为丰富的浑沌整体。造字本义:最小原始单位,最小的正整数。古人认为“道立于一,一生二,二生三,三生万物”。就是说,混沌太初的存在整体是“一”;然后由太初混沌的“一”,分出天地“二”极;天地二极之间,又生出人这第“三”部分;天地人三者,衍化出宇宙万物。一 ,代替混沌太初的整体;二,上面的一横代表“天”,下面的一横代表“地”;三,上下两横代表“天地”,中间的一横代表“人”。 一 is a special self-explanatory character. The ...


19

江 is mostly used in the South; 河 is mostly used in the North. There are exceptions, such as 黑龙江, 浏阳河. Scale. 江 is exclusively for mighty rivers; 河 can be used for both large and small rivers. All foreign rivers are named with 河. There is no fundamental differences between 河 and 江. 江 is used for rivers whose banks are steep cliffs; 河 is used for rivers with ...


19

刻 means ''to carve'' but my dictionary also says it means ''to set a time limit''. well, you need a better dictionary 😼 in 國語辭典, the first explanation of the entry “刻”, as noun is: 古代計時的名稱,一晝夜共分一百刻。今以十五分鐘為一刻。《周禮.夏官司馬.挈壺氏》:「縣壺」漢.鄭玄.注:「漏之箭晝夜共百刻,冬夏之間有長短焉,大史立成法,有四十八箭。」 http://dict.revised.moe.edu.tw/cgi-bin/cbdic/gsweb.cgi?o=dcbdic&searchid=...


16

Children usually go to grade 1 at the age of 6 or 7 in China. According to "全日制义务教育语文课程标准", the character number that children should learn is: Grade 1 to Grade 2: can read 1600 characters, and write 800 characters; Grade 3 to Grade 4: can read 2500 characters, and write 2000 characters; Grade 5 to Grade 6: can read 3000 characters, and write 2500 ...


16

Brief Answer Q1. The Wiktionary list of characters with the 冫 radical contains the following two characters: 冬, 冭. Where in these characters is the 冫? Are the two lines at the bottom supposed to be the ice radical? Answer: You're right. That's true. Q2. When I look at the entry for 永 in the Chinese dictionary app on my phone (Pleco), then it says that it'...


16

TL;DR Long Answer From the oracle script to the seal script, character 龍 evolved from simple to complex. The seal script was already very similar to 龍. However later, variants (there were too many!) 𢅛 and 尨 appeared: Dictionary 集韻 (1037 AD) 古作[...]𢅛(帝+尨). The ancient forms for 龍 are [...] 𢅛(帝+尨) [...]. Dictionary ...


15

豚 is pronounced tun2 in Mandarin and tyun4 in Cantonese. The only word I know which still uses it is 海豚 hai3tun2 "dolphin". The Japanese reading is ton (on), buta (kun), as I'm sure you know. 豚 was the original character (with the meat radical on the left hand side), while 猪 meant a wild pig (which is suggested by its radical). Japanese borrowings from ...


15

I know exactly the thing. There's a project on Wikimedia commons to document the substructure of characters in terms of other characters. I haven't spent much time with the data itself, so I can't tell you how complete it is, but it seems pretty good based on my experience with the Tatoeba character search tool that is based on the data. That tool allows you ...


15

「九」 and 「丸」 are not related. As @user3306356 points out, 「丸」 is probably related to 「夗」. 商朝甲骨文菁2.1合集6057西周金文作冊夨令簋集成4300戰國・晉金文東周左𠂤壺集成9640小篆九部說文解字今楷書  「九」 depicts an arm showing the hand, a bent wrist, and elbow, indicating the original meaning elbow. This word is now written as 「肘」 (Baxter-Sagart OC: /*t-[k]uʔ/). The meaning nine (/*[k]uʔ/) for 「九」 is a ...


14

This is more of a history question. 勇 is short for 乡勇, which roughly means "militia". They are temporary soldiers recruited from the local population in times of need, and are usually disbanded soon after. Soldiers wearing 勇 on their uniforms was a Qing dynasty thing though; they stood in contrast to the elite Banner Armies and the professional Green ...


14

No it's not correct. "非常棒" are definitely three 字s. So the proper form should be 一个字。棒!👊 or 三个字。非常棒!👊 According to the context this kind of wording might be used on purpose for joking; you might not need to take them seriously.


14

These terms were devised in the late 20th century analysis of Classical Japanese, originally, for the difference between -(さ)す (glossed as externally instigated) and -(ら)る (glossed as internally instigated). This exoactive vs endoactive reflects 18th century Japanese use of 他動詞 vs 自動詞 (tadoushi vs jidoushi). In more traditional Western-orientated linguistic ...


13

Chinese characters and phonetics You say: Unlike English, Chinese is not a spelling language, which means there is no hint from the characters for pronunciation!!! Luckily for us, that's not true! Actually, by some estimates, almost 90% of characters have a phonetic component to them. To understand what that actually means, you have to know how characters ...


13

They are purists. In the words of Steven Pinker: ...also known as sticklers, pedants, peevers, snobs, snoots, nitpickers, traditionalists, language police, usage nannies, grammar Nazis, and the Gotcha! Gang. According to this article, 纹身 is accepted by a newer version of 《现代汉语词典》 as an alternative form of 文身.


13

東: 主人。由於古時主位在東,客位在西,所以稱主人為「   東」。如:「房東」、「店東」。 Translation: In ancient times, the host was seated to the east and the guest to the west, so the host was called "East". reference: http://dict.variants.moe.edu.tw/yitia/fra/fra01875.htm Personally I have also heard it is because the Sun rises from the east, thus east is seen as the 'emic', or the 'theme'


13

There are some recent open source efforts that have opened this up a bit. One is hanzi writer, which was based on the data for 3195 strokes contained in ZDT but now uses the more complete character data from make me a hanzi demo. It uses javascript to draw and animate the strokes, directly from json versions of the character path data. Update: Recently, the ...


13

The earliest texts with 乒乓 I can find is vernacular novels of Ming dynasty. 《西遊記》 Journey to the West as an example: 如此二三日,又聽得後宰門乒乓乒乓,磚瓦亂響。——Chapter 10 他掄槍舞劍,一擁前來,照行者劈頭亂砍,乒乒乓乓,砍有七八十下。——Chapter 14 乒乒乓乓,好便似殘年爆竹;潑潑喇喇,卻就如軍中炮聲。——Chapter 16 “乒” and “乓” are used together as onomatopoetic in history. :)


12

Q1: Could I use a character like 飂 for my name? Yes. In fact, you can freely choose any character for your name. However, for whether it is a good Chinese name, there may be many criteria. The most important criteria are supposed to be: Elegant meaning. 飂 is a good one, meaning gone with the wind and implying a noble, unsullied, lofty, and proud character ...


12

To answer your question, we need to clearly understand how Traditional Chinese characters got simplified, which I bet 99.999999% of the whole Chinese population don't even know about. This is a very big topic that I am not able to discuss about it in detail. So I will give a much simplified explanation. Consider these 2 sets: Traditional Characters vs ...


12

Is this discrepancy above due to a calligraphical mistake or lazyness, namely, leaving off that one tick, made a long time ago? TL;DR: I don't think so, because (1) 尸 used as the pictographic radical with the meaning house in 屋 was explicitly mentioned in 说文解字 long before, (2) the original meanings of 尸 and 户 used as radicals are not exactly the same (house ...


12

The official way to write Chinese uses Chinese characters, which is not an alphabetical system. There have been various phonetic systems developed to either write or transcribe Chinese. Some of these systems are alphabets. To emphasise, these phonetic systems are not official ways of writing Chinese. The official way of writing, using characters, does not ...


11

Tones Unless the name has a really old and/or well-known phonetic translation, a "safe" rule seems to be to pick characters pronounced in the 1st tone. This is particularly true for names that are either long, uncommon, or otherwise tongue-twisting (as far as Chinese speakers are concerned anyway). Male vs Female Certain characters convey masculinity (e.g....


11

The difference between the two in writing should be clear from these drawings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_35 and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_34 and the stroke animations from http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E5%A4%8A and http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E5%A4%82 夂 is normally used at the top (for example 条條修脩务務夐) or the left (for example 处) ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible