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7 votes

Who created Chinese Characters? (for facts or historical records)

Chinese characters did not all appear at once, it took countless authors, and hundreds of years to accumulate all the characters, and these characters kept evolving into today's modern Chinese ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
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7 votes

Word for “planet”

Was there an earlier word/term/expression that just got “replaced” by 行星? yes. first of all, stars were named “恒星” or “經星” in ancient china in 公羊傳 莊公七年 恒星者何・列星也 the annotation is “恆・常也・常以時列見” in ...
水巷孑蠻's user avatar
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5 votes
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船 composed of characters for vessel, 8, and person?

Unfortunately the glyph origin is not correct. It seems like the method you are using is more aligned into the "break every component down into parts you can recognize" way of memorizing ...
prismcool's user avatar
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5 votes
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Why does 黄牛 mean scalper?

For the usage of Wu dialect in the Jiangnan area, if a person breaks an appointment, it can be said 他今天黄牛了. In dialects of other places, the word 黄 also has the meaning of falling through. For example:...
hanyi00i's user avatar
5 votes
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鉛 Reading Phonology

Bu (2018, p. 75-76) contests that changed to avoid confusion among minerals: These two characters are excellent examples of phono-semantic dissimilation because each has an potentially ambiguous ...
Mou某's user avatar
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4 votes

Word for “planet”

Before the Chinese knew what 行星 was, planets like Jupiter were just 星宿 or simply 星(star) to them. Before the Chinese knew what Supernova was, they called it 客星 (guest star), and in modern times 客星 was ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
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4 votes

What was the glyph origin of 己? What was its original meaning?

Not a very satisfying answer, but it looks like there is no consensus as to the original meaning of「己」at the moment. Outlier It is not clear what the original meaning and form of 己 are. It was used ...
Mou某's user avatar
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4 votes

What's the logic and etymology behind 未免 = "rather", such as in 未免太贵了?

未 - not quite 免 - exempt 未免 --> not quite exempt (can't avoid being considered) = rather Saying 未免 makes a statement less assertive Example: 現在攻擊實在太冒險了 = It is certainly too risky to attack now (...
Tang Ho's user avatar
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4 votes

Is the Cantonese word 冧巴 a loanword from English?

冧把/lam1 baa2/ is a loanword for "Number" In Hong Kong If a term is used in Hong Kong, it would inevitably spear to Guangdong 冧把 is the noun for 號碼 or 號數. Wherever you can use the word "...
Tang Ho's user avatar
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4 votes

Why is it written 安详 and not 安祥?

One of the original meanings of 详 is being prudent or careful. Later its meaning was generalized to "behaving in a peaceful and steady way." When 详 is used standalone this meaning is not ...
user2249675's user avatar
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Why did 鲁迅 write 贿路 and not 贿赂 ("bribe")?

The article in question was published in 1933 in 申报月刊, but I can't locate a copy of that magazin. However, I was able to get a copy of 《南腔北调集》 published by 鲁迅先生纪念委员会 in 1941 through my university ...
user2249675's user avatar
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4 votes

why is "象" meaning representation, form, shape etc.?

象 (xiàng; elephant, shape, form) (Baxter-Sagart OC: /*s-[d]aŋʔ/) is a straightforward depiction of an elephant turned on its side, indicating the original meaning "elephant". The other ...
prismcool's user avatar
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3 votes

Why is it written 安详 and not 安祥?

安(calm)详(prudent) and not 安(calm)祥(luck). 安(calm)详(prudent), composed - 指神态平静、从容稳重。如“神态安详、面容安详、他安详地睡着了”. 吉(good)祥(luck) - "吉祥如意".
r13's user avatar
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3 votes

What's the logic and etymology behind 未免 = "rather", such as in 未免太贵了?

The meanings of "rather" and "quite" are difficult enough to explain in English. Translation of 未免 as "rather" is idiomatic. "rather" is from Old English hraðe, ...
Pedroski's user avatar
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3 votes

What is the etymology of 鱷梨, meaning "avocado"?

The word 鳄梨 is attested from these early 20th century works: an overview of the Dutch East Indies (now principally Indonesia), 《科學的南洋: 荷屬東印度編》, published in Shanghai by the Commercial Press (商务印书馆) ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
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2 votes

What's the logic and etymology behind 未免 = "rather", such as in 未免太贵了?

未免 is a negation of negation, means most likely, which is a pretty strong confirmation. 未免 has the same meaning as 真是, and the two words can be used together if you like. 一个苹果卖十块钱,未免太贵了吧? 一个苹果卖十块钱,...
PdotWang's user avatar
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2 votes

Who created Chinese Characters? (for facts or historical records)

In my opinion, 通假字 is actually another character that is borrowed to mean a thing at the time when the character representing the meaning is not created. While 异体字 is probably a derivation of the same ...
NullVoid's user avatar
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2 votes

Who created Chinese Characters? (for facts or historical records)

Cang Jie is just a mythical person. Chinese characters started as pictograms which is pretty much like all other languages, and that took hundreds if not thousands of years. Then throughout the course ...
fat penguin's user avatar
2 votes

Is it a coincidence that 吗 and 吧 sound like 妈 and 爸 respectively?

No, they are not related. Even though 爸 and 妈 are the current formal way to say dad and mom, they were not so common in the history, and different dialects use different words. In classic Chinese, ...
Dudu's user avatar
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2 votes

Is it a coincidence that 吗 and 吧 sound like 妈 and 爸 respectively?

Interesting Question. But I believe that the Chinese characters "吗" (ma) and "吧" (ba) are not directly related to "妈" (mā) and "爸" (bà). They are particles used ...
jackson's user avatar
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2 votes
Accepted

Why "again" is expressed differently in the present and in the past. (又 and 再)

Although not all Chinese varieties use the two words 再 vs 又, the distinction represented is fairly common across all the Chinese languages, with very few even possessing a merged 'again' (閣 koh in ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
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2 votes
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Two etymologies of "天上有地下无"?

Actually, "天上有,地下无" can not be called as a Chinese saying because there is no origin. It is just an expression that shares the same meaning with "天上少有,地下无双". "天上少有,地下无双" ...
Casper-4689's user avatar
2 votes
Accepted

What is the etymology behind 角色?

脚色 "脚色" /juésè/ is often written as "角色"/juésè/ 演员根据[脚]本演绎各[色]人物 - The actors play various characters according to the script. 脚本 = script 各色人物 = various characters 脚色/ 角色 = ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
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1 vote

Why did 鲁迅 write 贿路 and not 贿赂 ("bribe")?

Auctually, there are many similar examples in most of 鲁迅's works, like “烂熳” as “烂漫” in《藤野先生》. People usually call this 通假字. But there are also some people say that 鲁迅 just wrote the wrong character. ...
AliceShirley Dune's user avatar
1 vote

Is it a coincidence that 吗 and 吧 sound like 妈 and 爸 respectively?

吗 and 妈 has the same sound designator, thus they sound the same - they ought to. As for 爸 and 吧, that's just a coincidence. Typically, multiple Chinese characters in Chinese have the same sound. This ...
fat penguin's user avatar
1 vote

船 composed of characters for vessel, 8, and person?

Sagart (1999) interprets Old Chinese 船, semantic 舟 (“boat”) + phonetic 㕣, as a nominal derivate of the verb 沿 (“to go downstream a river”). https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E8%88%B9#Chinese 㕣(八口) - ...
r13's user avatar
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1 vote
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How do I memorize Chinese characters that have an original meaning unrelated to their modern meaning?

I always study the modern meaning first before the original one it’s normal. because, we’re using regular script (楷書), for original meaning of a character, one must familiarise with oracle bone ...
水巷孑蠻's user avatar
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1 vote
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Is 冘 and 何 related in terms of their glyph origin?

「冘」 and 「何」 has indeed been argued to sometimes be written with the same character in oracle bones, indicated by the circled glyph (hereby denoted 「X」) in the question: 商甲甲2465合集30564 The depiction is ...
dROOOze's user avatar
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1 vote

Is 冘 and 何 related in terms of their glyph origin?

While I cannot guarantee perfect accuracy, I have a passing interest in these things and will try to help. Starting at the oldest age for bone glyphs, at least 何 certainly existed. However while 何 is ...
zagrycha's user avatar
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1 vote

Is the Cantonese word 冧巴 a loanword from English?

Most "Hong Kong Chinese" actually came from Guangzhou. Guangzhou was the economic and cultural centre of South China. Hong Kong didn't start developing until somewhere around the 1960s, and ...
fat penguin's user avatar

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