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 ...
For telegrams, the Chinese Commercial Code (中文電碼) was used.
Roughly, to send a telegram, someone needed to go to the post office, write down the text message, info of sender & receiver - by hand, on a form.
Then, the worker would "translate" each Chinese character into 4 digits, according to the ...
Etymology of 一, 二, and 三
Explanation of 一/二/三 in 象形字典 (Dictionary of Pictographs)
一 is a special self-explanatory character. The ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
The construction of 惊 follows the essence of the phono-semantic compound character. In folk culture, people who are not well-educated often invent characters in this way. Some of these characters became popular and then were included in the officially admitted simplified forms, and the others were eliminated. For example
(admitted formal ...
From Wikipedia (bolding added):
The Chinese name is probably a phonetic approximation of the German
proper adjective. The Vietnamese name is based on the Chinese name.
The Japanese name is a phonetic approximation of the Dutch proper
adjective. Noticeably, the characters with which the Chinese name is
written have a flattering connotation while ...
The premise of the question is a bit backwards. It's not that de evolved into three different characters, it's that three different words evolved to have the same pronunciation in modern Mandarin Chinese.
Mandarin in particular, features unstressed syllables, which are commonly referred to as having a "neutral tone" rather than having one of the four main ...
In the (very) old days, there was a system called 反切 (in English) where two characters were used, one for initial, one for the rhyme (vowel[s] + final), followed by 切 to indicate it was a phonetic notation. For instance, 東 could be represented as 德紅切.
I thought I should insert an example from the canon of Chinese dictionaries, 康熙字典. Here's page 1 -- ...
I can only provide a partial answer:
Many of the characters used in the names of non-Han ethnic groups were originally derogatory. After the founding of the PRC, the government conceptualized New China as a multiethnic state (多民族国家), and they changed many of the characters that were perceived as derogatory. I don't know if this process started under the KMT ...
Etymology of 四
Explanation of 四 in 象形字典 (Dictionary of Pictograph)
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 ...
Etymology of 五
Explanation of 五 in 象形字典 (Dictionary of Pictographs)
五 is also a special self-explanatory character. Its oracle glyph uses a cross to imply "meeting of everything between the ...
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 ...
Have a look at http://zh.wiktionary.org/zh-hant/%E5%9C%8B%E5%AE%B6, which explains lots of traditional meanings of 国家.
The basic meaning is related to 古代諸侯的封地稱國，大夫的封地稱家. In the classical age of China, there were vassal states and the land of a vassal was called 国. There were also officials titled 大夫 who were given land as well, and a 大夫's land is called 家. ...
There's no difference in meaning. They are not actually all that distinct: both words came from 哪, a generic interrogative character used for indicating a question. Given an appropriate context (e.g. 在哪), the character expresses the meaning of "where". Both 哪儿 and 哪里 builds upon that.
The suffix 儿 is generally meaningless, and reflects the northern ...
From Wikipedia, before Hanyu Pinyin was introduced, the PRC Chinese learnt Bopomofo or 注音符號 [Zhùyīn fúhào]. It comprises of 37 characters (注音) and four tone marks (符號).
注音 consists of consonants, rhymes and medial (e.g. ㄅ,ㄆ,ㄇ,ㄈ)
符號 is similar to the four tones in Pinyin except there is no marking
for the first tone (ˊ,ˇ,ˋ)
An example: 大 (ㄉㄚˋ, dà) where ㄉ ...
Wikitionary has an etymology for this character 四 which says:
The original shell and bone character was 一 written four times, 亖
(compare 二 and 三). The bronzeware style of the character featured a
repositioning of those four lines inside 口; this later evolved into
the combination used today of 口 mouth and 八 divide which meant a
dispersal of breath. ...
I'll answer based on the article provided by @Stan. From what I can tell, it is a transcription from a 1999 article that appeared in 《语文建设》, the raw data of which came from 汉语成语考释词典 by 刘洁修, 1989.
Period | Number | Percent
春秋以前 Before Spring and Autumn | 88 | 1.21
春秋 Spring ...
reference: 现代汉语词典，第6版 (Contemporary Chinese Dictionary, 6th Edition).
This dictionary gives 8 basic meaning items for 就.
approach, get close to
get to, begin to do
passive, -ed by
eat something (side dish) together with other thing (main course)
[preposition] a: by, at somebody's convenience, take advantage of. b: about, concerning, with ...
in ancient time, "辛" was used, in lieu of 辣. e.g. in 洪範:
nowadays, dictionary would explain 五味 as 甜﹒酸﹒苦﹒辣﹒鹹, instead of older terms 甘﹒酸﹒苦﹒辛﹒鹹
After discussing it with my friends, the best result I can come up with now is
The characters beside the stamp characters are the corresponding ones that may be the candidates. Seal script samples are also given. Unfortunately, I cannot find a 100% convincing answer, because they can hardly form a meaningful phrase.
Character 1: 聞 or 查. Either is doubtful. ...
Etymology of 六
Explanation of 六 in 象形字典 (Dictionary of Pictographs)
六 was a pictographic character. Its oracle glyph looked like the frame of a cottage . ...
This is 协和语, it used to help Japanese officials and soldiers to communicate with Chinese in Manchukuo and the Second Sino-Japanese War(中国抗日战争).
"干活", "新交", which are the two verbs, "干活" is the Chinese "work" means, so in 协和语 "干活" becomes a verb of many meanings.
How was it pronounced in older times (i.e. Middle Chinese)?
I haven't found a record of 瞓 in classical Chinese, but since 瞓 and 训 are both read as fan in Cantonese, I'll take 训 instead. It is read qhuns in reconstructed Old Chinese that is before the 1st century B.C. In Middle Chinese it is pronounced as hyonh.
How did the pronunciations come into ...
I did some research. Here is what I found:
1) 樂 first meant music instruments, pronounced 'ngok'（逆角切）. In Japanese, it is がく［楽］(gaku).
2) The meaning happy '悦/樂' first had the same pronunciation 樂 as in 音樂. This was probably the case in 战国 (周朝)，because according to《爾雅·釋詁》(written after BC 476), 悦: 樂也。
3) In 唐韵 （written in 732 AD, 樂 meaning happy is ...
It's an honorific, meaning "illustrious" or "enlightened general", and as such is not specific to Liu Bei.
For example, in the Records of the Three Kingdoms, Pei Song's annotations cite a passage where Huangfu Li (皇甫酈) addresses Li Jue (李傕) as 明將軍:
In recent times, you yourself, illustrious general, saw with your own eyes ...
Before the Warring States period, it was a general term for nobles. After the Warring States period, Chu's general name for civilians. Today it refers to civilians, ordinary people. Also known as "The people"
百姓 was originally referring to the noble ...
Etymology of 七
Explanation of 七 in 象形字典 (Dictionary of Pictographs)