34

the "俄" part seems to have no corresponding phoneme, either in Russian or any of the other language I have looked up. Yes it's peculiar in Chinese. It's related to the Mongolian. Reference: 郭文深.俄罗斯国家名称变迁考——从“罗刹”到“俄罗斯” Summarize it in short: From Yuan Dynasty, the Mongolian translated 罗斯 as oros (but not ros) followed by the Mongolian pronunciation habit, ...


29

The Story of 没 As other commenters have noted, looking for logic in language is almost always futile. No natural language is logical. But there is a historical logic to language development; even if the existence of a phrase is a historical accident, it's sometimes interesting to see when that "accident" took place, and why. Such is the case with 没. One ...


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 ...


24

Rather than saying that 两 is used with nouns, I would say that 两 is used with measure words. If you use any type of measure word with the number 2, use 两. For convenience, I've identified 3 types of measure words: Standard measure words, e.g. 两个人、两本书、两棵树. Numbers that are larger than 100, e.g. 两百, 两千三百六十二. 百, 千, and 万 can be seen as a sort of measure word. ...


24

No. The Cyrillic script is based on the Greek script, and some other local scripts like Hebrew. The basis for sha is thought to be the Hebrew letter ש (shin). ש It's unlikely that shin is based on the Chinese character, either. It seems taken from the Phoenician alphabet, where the corresponding letter looks like a Latin W. It's worth keeping in mind that ...


22

This is actually not one character, but a stylistic conglomeration of the characters in the phrase 招財進寶, meaning "ushering in wealth and prosperity". The characters 財 and 寶 end up being represented with the same 貝 component in this "character". While the left side of 招 (扌) and the right side of 財 (才) are technically not the same component, they look similar ...


21

I've only heard it used in describing sexual situations, and wiktionary.org describes its usage as follows: This idiom usually only refers to a man taking advantage of a woman in a sexual situation. A typical example would be some creepy guy pinching the flight attendant's backside as she walks past. There's also a good discussion at wordreference.com. ...


21

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. Figure 1. Meanings of 足 in ...


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

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

Over its long history of usage, the meaning of 息 has evolved. Yes, 息 has the connotation of message. (5) 消息 [message] (6) 又如:信息(音信;消息);息耗(消息,信息) Its original meaning is to breathe;pant. (会意兼形声。从心,从自,自亦声。自,鼻子。古人以为气是从心里通过鼻子呼吸的。本义:喘气;呼吸) And then the meaning was extended, 人之氣急曰喘。舒曰息。引伸爲休息之偁。又引伸爲生長之偁。引伸之義行而鼻息之義廢矣。 [ Breathing slowly was called 息, ...


16

的 in its function as a particle is attested in the 四大名著 Four Great Classical Novels, which are written in a vernacular Mandarin-type language, dating from the Ming dynasty. The particle use of 的 is also attested from the Yuan dynasty, when it seems it was adopted for the grammatical particle of the emerging new literary language. Its earliest attestation is ...


15

Victor Mair has an essay answering your question directly: Danger + opportunity ≠ crisis, how a misunderstanding about Chinese characters has led many astray.


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

For people to understand better...


15

《說文解字》沒有「妖」這一條目。 There is not an entry of 妖 in the 《說文解字》. 《說文解字注》對「𡝩」的解釋有提到「俗省作妖」。 The interpretation of 𡝩 in the 《說文解字注》 mentions 俗省作妖. 𡝩 [ yāo | ㄧㄠ ] 意思是,民間習慣上,將「𡝩」省略為「妖」。 也就是,「妖」的本字是「𡝩」。 It means that 𡝩 is used to be simplified to 妖. That is, the original form of 妖 is 𡝩. 《說文解字》對「𡝩」的解釋如下: 《說文解字》 explains 𡝩 as follows. 𡝩,巧也;一曰,女子笑皃。 皃 [ ...


15

Interesting, but this is a coincidence. Baby comes from a reduplicated Proto-Germanic root *bō-, which is cognate to English boy, appended with a diminutive suffix -y. 寶貝 comes from the meaning rare/precious seashells; this usage is attested at least since the Han dynasty. As a term of endearment, this started appearing as early as in the novel Dream of ...


14

The gender neutral form of the term 先生 is an antiquated Chinese title used for addressing a knowledgeable person who is your senior. This person could be a teacher, a principal, a scholar, a professor or a doctor. This term, which literally means "born (生) before (先)", has been in use for a very long time. Somebody who is born before you would be your ...


14

EDIT: Also refer to Aminopterin's answer and Travis Hu's answer for more insights. After some research, I found two reasonable explanations. But, IMHO, the two should be compiled as the following: 老 is a prefix that is added to make 虎 and 鼠 easier to pronounce; besides, it implies that people respect 虎 and fear 鼠. The two explanations as follow: Affix ...


13

The Phonology of Standard Chinese by San Duanmu (端木三) has an entire chapter devoted to this topic (The Word Length Problem): In this section I review six previous approaches to the disyllabic phenomenon in Chinese. For convenience, I call them (a) the homophone-avoidance approach, (b) the speech-tempo approach, (c) the grammatical approach, (d) the rhythm ...


13

There were more than 10 names for USA in history. 亚墨利加国, after 1776; 花旗国, after 1784; 咪唎坚国, after 1784; 咩哩干国, after 1820; 亚美利加兼合国, after 1833; 弥利坚国,即育奈士迭国, after 1836; 美理哥国, 美理哥合省国, 美理哥兼摄邦国, 1838; 亚美利格合省国, 1844; 亚美理驾会邦国, 1844; 亚美理驾合众国, 1844; 米利坚合众国, 1848; 大亚美理驾合众国, 1858; 大美联邦, 1861; 大美国, 1901; 美利坚合众国(美国), after 1902; 美利坚合众国, determined in 1913; Reference: “...


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'


12

From the wikipedia article: 關於「萌」這個字現今用法的來源,至今依舊眾說紛紜,以下為部份幾種的說法: 有種說法認為,原本所用的詞語應該是「燃え」(もえ),但是因為「萌え」和「燃え」的日語發音相同,且動漫喜好者認為「萌え」更能形容他們對事物喜好的狀態,因此後來都用「萌え」了。 亦有說法認為,這個詞語原本來自較為常用的「燃えている」(燃燒),但由於日文電腦輸入平假名時會智能判斷漢字,而萌え排序在前面,變成現在的寫法。 目前「萌」大多使用在二次元裡,如果遇到刻意將現實世界(三次元)的人套用到二次元的審美的情況,也有可能用到「萌」。 不過這種狀況十分稀少,因為三次元的人通常難以構成萌屬性。 現在「燃え」在中文界解作萌的相對詞,是對熱血的喜愛。 ...


12

Wiki page of 牛排 gives a clue of its etymology, written by, 姚德懷, the current chairman of 香港中國語文學會 (The Chinese Language Society of Hong Kong Ltd.), a non-profit organization in Hong Kong. Here's a summary: According to 漢語大詞典, the word 牛排 has been cited in some novels in Qing Dynasty in the beginning of 20th century. Such as: 「三荷包接過看時,只見上面開的是:清牛湯、炙鰣魚、冰蠶阿、...


12

角 came from 銀角, which was historically a currency that represented a fraction of the silver coin (銀元). 元 came from 圓, a description of the coin's circular shape. A theory for 角's use is that since the basic meaning of 角 is a horn; by extension it came to be used to describe "things that looks like horns". And from there, "corners" 角落, "angles" 角度, etc. ...


12

In Old Chinese, it is generally thought that some words followed regular morphological alternations (which are preserved in a few places in MSM, but "frozen", i.e., no longer productive). For instance: Verb/Noun 处 chu3 "to dwell" / chu4 "a place" 数 shu3 "to count" / shu4 "a number" 知 zhi1 "to know" / (also 智) zhi4 "knowledge" Similarly: ...


12

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

言 (yan2) is the root of all words meaning talk. It says so in the 說文解字 (a dictionary from the Han dynasty): 凡言之屬皆从言 The origin of the character 言 is a picture of a person with a big mouth. In ancient Chinese, it’s the general word for any form of speech or talking. In modern Chinese, it has become literary and is normally only used in compound words like ...


12

“俄罗斯”不是从英文或俄文来的。可能是从蒙古文Oros来的。 在中国元明朝时称俄罗斯族为“罗斯”或“罗刹国”.当时蒙古族人用蒙语拼读俄文“ROCIA”时,在“R”前面加一个元音.因此,“ROCIA”就成了“OROCCIA”.满清政府时,蒙语的“OROCCIA”转译成汉语时,就成了“俄罗斯”. The name of "Éluósī" does not come from English or Russian. It may come from Mongolian Oros. During the Chinese Yuan and Ming dynasties the Russian ethnic group was called "Luósī" or "Luóchàguó". At that time as ...


11

二 (èr) is used (with nouns), if you are talking about their order, but if you are counting how many, 两 (liăng) is used (also with nouns). Stated concisely: 两 (liăng) is a cardinal number, as in, 两个 (liăng-ge) 'two of something.' 二 (èr) is an ordinal number, as in, 第二个 (dì èr-ge) 'the second thing.' Perhaps more common in speech are the cardinal numbers, as ...


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