Thursday, December 21, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (184) Black (2)- 乌

There are two characters for Black. We discussed 黑 in Post (183). We discuss another one here.

The big seal script for another character for Black is


which is a bird which has all black feather like crows.



The small seal script for the character Black is


Let's see the small seal script for character Bird

Both are almost the same except for a short line in the head of the character Bird, but not in the character Black.



Why? Because the body and eyes of Crows or other black birds are all black, it is difficult to see the eyes on the all black body. But other birds have black eyes and different feather color, easy to distinguish the eyes from the feather.

The clerical script for the character is

It changed big from the small script. The bottom 4 dots are bird paws, the tail bends inward.

In comparison with the character Bird

We see there is an extra line inside the top box which is the head of bird.

The current standard printing script for traditional character is


very similar to clerical script.

The current standard printing script for simplified character is


The 4 dots become a line, and the top feather are disappeared. It is difficult to see its similarity to bird anymore.

Its Pinyin is Wu1.

Because there are much fewer black birds than other color birds, so ancient Chinese use black bird to emphasize its color: Black.

The difference between "乌“ and "黑” is that "黑" is for general Black, "乌" is used for a few black animals, for example: 乌鸦 - Crows, here 鸦 is bird; or 乌马 - black horse; 乌鸡 - black chicken or something moving  such as 乌云 - dark clouds. 

乌 has some emotional,  黑 is more objective.




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