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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

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 ...


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

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

I think it's a mistake to rely too heavily on the glyph origin to interpret meanings of a Chinese morpheme. It's easy to confuse the origins of Chinese characters and the origins of Chinese words. One is a question about a writing system; the other is a question about etymology and of (primarily spoken) language. In this particular case, the original word ...


17

《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 [ ...


17

「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]<r>uʔ/). The meaning nine (/*[k]uʔ/) for 「九」 ...


15

For people to understand better...


14

Nope. The radical was simplified from 玉 (jade), originally referring to a polished sphere of jade. 求 is the phonetic component. For reference, Baxter's Old Chinese reconstruction has 求 *grju, and 球 *grju. In this particular case, 求 has remained a good phonetic for three millennia! The sense of 'sounding stone made of jade' can be seen in the Kangxi ...


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

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

很有趣。 Very interesting. 我到今天才知道「來」有這個意思,而且是它的本義。 I didn't know that 來 has this meaning until today, and this is even its original meaning. 「來」的本義是「麥」,也就是「麥」的上半部。 The original meaning of 來 is "grain or corn", which is the upper part of 麥. 《說文解字》說:「來」的意思是「周所受瑞麥來麰也」。 《說文解字》 explains that 來 means 周所受瑞麥, 來麰也. 《說文解字注》解釋為: 《說文解字注》 interprets it as follows. ...


12

The 4 elements of this kanji are well known (claw/plectrum; net; north-east; short measurement) Unfortunately, this way of interpreting Chinese character components is not correct. As part of other characters, for the vast majority of the time, character components represent either meaning or sound of the word they originally were created for. 「爪・爫」and「寸」...


11

This radical is called the 双耳旁 or 双二刀, due to it looking somewhat like an ear or the 刀 character. There are actually two radicals depending on whether it's placed to the left or right: 左耳刀 if on the left, 右耳刀 if on the right. The two radicals have different origins and different meanings. http://baike.baidu.com/view/457766.htm The left version is derived ...


11

Traditional to Simplified is many-to-one, right?? It is almost the case that each Traditional character maps to exactly one Simplified character (possibly itself). This is certainly the mental model that most people have about simplification, and it's not far from the truth. Alas, there are exceptions. One of my favorite references on this topic lists out ...


11

「乘」and「承」do indeed sound similar, but an etymological relation (if any) would be before the time of Old Chinese. They are unrelated, as far as usage or glyph origins is concerned. 乘 「乘」was originally a picture of a person「大」climbing on top of a tree「木」; feet「舛」were added on to the person later (Shape #2 onwards). 商甲粹1109合集6491西周金公臣簋集成4186篆說文解字 現代楷  The ...


11

時期字體 字形 參考資料 商甲 甲185合集19924 戰國・燕古幣 108古幣文編 戰國・晉璽印 959古璽彙編 秦簡 日甲119睡虎地秦簡 篆 日部說文解字 楷 「昌」 (early morning call, e.g. to the day's labour) is comprised of semantic 「日」 (sun) on top of semantic 「口」 (mouth). Such calls would likely be rhythmic or melodious, similar to bugle calls, making the interpretation of 「昌」 as the original form of 「唱」 (to sing). ...


10

Summary: Etymology of Number Characters 一(one), 二(two), 三(three) Simple ideographs / Self-explanatory characters. Originate from the ancient counting rods. (Explanation from Dictionary of Oracle Scripts.) 亖 and 四 (four) 亖: Simple ideograph. Originate from the ancient counting rods. 四: Phonetic loan character. Come from 呬 or 泗. (Explanation from ...


10

Etymology of 五 Explanation of 五 in 象形字典 (Dictionary of Pictographs) “五”也是特殊指事字,“五”的甲骨文字形用一个叉号寓意天、地万物的交汇,以表示大于“四”的正整数。有的甲骨文在字形(万物交汇)基础上加(天地之间),造字本义:金、木、水、火、土等宇宙的构成要素,代表天地间万物构成元素的极限数,大于四,小于六。在造字时期的远古时代,一,二,三,四,五,六,七,八,九,十,都曾是极限数。 五 is also a special self-explanatory character. Its oracle glyph uses a cross to imply "meeting of everything between the ...


10

Etymology of 四 Explanation of 四 in 象形字典 (Dictionary of Pictograph) “四”是特殊指事字,甲骨文的字形,表示其为“二”的两倍。造字本义:两倍于二的正整数。金文承续甲骨文字形。将金文的横笔竖写,就成了;将与(二,表示4是2的倍数)合写,就成了。有的金文在的基础上再加“二”,强调“四”与“二” 的倍数关系。篆文省去金文中的“二”。 四 is a special self-explanatory character. Its oracle glyph represents it is the twice of 二. The original idea of character construction: twice of 二. Its ...


10

The discussion on zdict basically explains that the Oracle bone script morphed (讹变) into its current form, but this transformation did not follow standard rules. The original Oracle bone script shows a man riding a horse, which means "to ride" (i.e. what 骑 means today), but when small seal script was developed, the horse morphed into 可, which ...


10

This is not an easy question. But I think here is an answer. It originated from the Chinese water clock or clepsydra in the ancient time (刻漏 or 漏壶, http://baike.baidu.com/view/41631.htm). 刻漏 or 漏壶 was a leaky water container, where the water level represents time. 商 was originally the scale plate on this type of water clock. The scale first had 100 grades (...


10

Note: much of this is based on the answer by Altair at Chinese-Forums. It may be worthwhile to answer the 也 / 他 / 地 / 池 question first. Character Mandarin Cantonese Hokkien Middle Ch. Old Ch. 也 yě jaa5 / yáh iā yæX *lAjʔ 他 tā taa1 / tā tha/thaⁿ tha *l̥ ˤaj 地 ...


10

I stated in my comment that I don't think study the etymology help you understand a character as much as cross reference the roles of a character in different compound words. For 認 [1] recognise; identify; make out [2] admit; acknowledge; agree; accept [3] enter into a certain relationship with [4] offer/undertake to do sth ~ For 識 [1] [v] know; recognize;...


10

Yes, this is a coincidence. Generally, if the modern shape is confusing, you need to go back further in time to look at characters' original shapes and purposes to make sense of what's going on. Also, the meaning noon for 「午」 is a phonetic loan; that is, the shape 「午」 represented a word that sounded similar to an unrelated existing word meaning noon, and the ...


9

The radical in 猫 actually comes from 豸 zhi4 (beast), which you can still see in the traditional character 貓. Whereas the radical in 狗 is in fact 犭 quan3. The simplified version of 猫 got the 犭 quan3 radical because of trait reduction and semantic affinity (dog -> beast). If it sounds easier to you, you can think of 犭 quan3 in simplified Chinese as ...


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