Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Amazing Chinese Character (116) Dog - 犬

The shell bone of original Chinese character Dog is

a dog in vertical position. Let's put it horizontally

which is more like a dog.

As I mentioned in character Pig, ancient Chinese wrote the characters on bamboo slips, it is easier to draw the animal in vertical on bamboo slips because they are very narrow.

The big seal script of character Dog is

A vertical dog.

Its small seal script is

which is changed so big that people can't relate it to its shell bone script. The bottom part is dramatically simplified.

Its clerical script is

which is also changed very big, not much similarity to either shell bone script or small seal script.

I should point out that there is another character for Dog (Post 123), which is very popular too. Let's see its small seal script

the left radical,

is very similar to the Dog character, which is an indictive part for animal. If a character has this "Dog radical", it is an animal. The right part is the pronunciation of the character. This kind characters are called phonogram. One radical shows what the character related, another decides the pronunciation.

This one actually, the pronounciation of the character is not same as it right part pronunciation. It happens because the pronunciations of many characters has changed from their original ones.

The Song typeface of Dog is

Its Pinyin is "Quan3".

Another one is

Its Pinyin is "Gou3".

They two are totally different in writing and pronunciation, but both mean Dog. Normally, 犬 is more formal than 狗, used more in writing than speaking.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Amazing Chinese characters (115) Abreast - 并

The shell bone script for character Abreast is

The one horizontal line indicates that two people keep in step with each other.

Its big seal script is

the two lines emphasize the same pace.

Its small seal script is

the lines are not continuous but the meaning is the same.

Its clerical script is

which put two people in one body.

The two people on the top become two dots, which is not good change.

Its Pinyin is "Bing4".

There were 並 (Post 241), which means "Side by Side". In the simplified Chinese, they are merged into 并, which means that 並 is not used in simplified Chinese. Therefore, 并 means Abreast (walking together) and Side by Side (standing together) in simplified Chinese. Traditional Chinese keeps both in different meanings.

Amazing Chinese characters (114) Compete - 竞(競)

The shell bone script of character Compete is

two people stand side by side, they are competing. Original, it meant that two slaves were fighting to entertaining lords.

Its big seal script is
which is more like two people side by side with decorations on cloth.

Its small seal script is

Similar to big seal script.

As time passed, there were no slaves anymore, the character represent any competitions.

Its clerical script is

similar to the old scripts above.

Its current Song typeface for traditional character is

same as the clerical script.

Its current Song typeface for simplified script is 

only one person, which is not meeting the meaning of Competing, so it is not a good simplified character. 

Its Pinyin is "Jing4".

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Amazing Chinese characters (113) Delighted - 爽

The shell bone script for character Delighted is

a person standing there, someone is tickling him. The result is that he will be smiling, delighted and pleased. The ancient Chinese used this diagram to show what Delighted means.

Its small seal script is

very similar to the shell bone script except all lines are same width.

Its clerical script is

similar to the small seal script.

Its current song typeface is

Its Pinyin is "Shuang3".

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Amazing Chinese characters (112) Family - 家

The shell bone script of character Family is

a pig in a pigsty.

Is the pigsty the family? Is the pig lives in house? Of course not.

Ancient Chinese were originally nomadic people, they didn't settle down in one place because they hunted the wild animal for living. Only after they could raise animals at home, they settled down in one place for long time because they didn't need to hunt everyday. The most domestic animal was pig, and still is because they are mild and easy to be raised.

Anyway, pig is in pigsty, which is a milestone of ancient Chinese life from nomadic to settled down farmers.

Its bronze script is more clear,

Inside is a pig.

The big seal script of the character is

The inside pig is changed to lines from picture.

The small seal script is

Inside is 豕, meaning Pig (Post 111).

The clerical script is

The current standard printing script is

Its pinyin is "Jia1".

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Amazing Chinese characters (111) Pig - 豕

The shell bone script of character Pig is

which is a picture of pig in vertical direction.

Let us see how it looks when we turn it 90 degree.

Now we can see a pig which head on the left, tail on the right, and legs.

Why it was written in a vertical direction? My rational is that people wrote or carved this character horizontally on shell or bone in the early time, people wrote it vertically on bamboo in later time because the bamboo slip is very narrow, difficult to write the character vertically.

Many other animal characters are written vertically on the same reason.

Its big seal script is

Which is a simplified shell bone script: four legs plus the tail on the left, the head is a little bit on clear.

Its small seal script is

It is more like a pig.

Its clerical script is

A vertical pig again.

The current standard printing script is

Its Pinyin is "Shi".