Thursday, August 10, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (167) Self - 自

The shell bone script of character Self is

which is a picture of nose.

Originally, the character meant Nose. But the meaning changed later to Self. Why did ancient Chinese use nose to be Self? Because Chinese like to use a finger to point to his or her nose when they say "me" or "self" (Americans like to point to his or her chest), so the nose represents "self".

The big seal script of the character is

Let's see the small seal script,

which changed a lot, but still has some similarity to a nose.

The clerical script is

which is similar to the small seal script.

The song typeface of the character is

which is very similar to the clerical script.

Its pinyin is Zi4.

I need to point out that there was another character created sometime later,

pronounced Za2, one 口 (Mouth) added to the left of 自, which means I or Me or Self, being used more often in oral Chinese. 

It is understandable, people point the Mouth and Nose area to indicate Self. 

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