Monday, January 22, 2018

Amazing Chinese Characters (189) Vast - 莽

The shell bone script of character Vast is


the middle one
a mirror image of the one in the character Dog.

The four around parts are grass. A dog is running on the grassland, which means Vast.


The character Vast is similar to character Sunset (Post 196)


The surrounding is same, 4 grass. The middle is character Sun.

The small seal script of character Vast is

the middle one

is the character Dog, surrounded by grass.

The clerical script of the character Vast is


The middle one
is character Dog, the grass on the top is a little bit different from the grass on the bottom, but there are all grass.

The song typeface of the character is


Its pinyin is Mang3.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Amazing Chinese Characters (188) Smell and Hear - 闻(聞)

Some Chinese characters have multiple meanings with stories behind, the character we discuss in this post is one of them.

The following shell bone script
is a person kneeling down and a big ear on his head, which means "Hear".

Its small seal script is


in which

is "Door", and


is "Ear".

A Ear in Door is to Hear.

It is no similarity to the shell bone script except the Ear.

In the ancient time, there were less characters than that people needed in communication. For example, there was the character for "Hear", but no character for "Smell". So ancient Chinese used this character for "Smell" too. Gradually, it means "Smell" more than "Hear", or people use it as "Smell" much more often than for "Hear", especially in oral Chinese. But it still has the meaning of hearing in written words.

The character 嗅 discussed in Post 189 is another character for "Smell" (see Post 189 for more detail information).

The clerical script for this character is
which is similar to its small seal script.

The current standard printing script (song script) for traditional character is

very similar to the clerical script.

The song script for simplified script is


Its Pinyin is Wen1.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Amazing Chinese Characters (187) Smell and Smelly - 臭,嗅

The shell bone script of character Smell and Smelly is


the top part
is nose

the bottom

is dog.


So the character Smell and Smelly is "a big nose of a dog", or "dog's big nose", which means "Smell" at the beginning.

The big seal script of the character is

It is similar to its shell bone script.

As time past, people needed more characters to express more meanings. For example, there was no character for Smelly. How to solve the problem? Ancient people borrowed the character Smell for smelly. So a long period of time, the character had two meanings: Smell, and Smelly.

However, it caused confusion. In order to avoid the confusion, ancient Chinese added a mouth to the character to become

to be the character Smell, and let 

to be character Smelly.

The small seal script of character Smelly is


There is no small seal script for character Smell in dictionary.

The clerical script of character Smelly is
The clerical script of character Smell is
The song typeface for the two characters

The Pinyin for 臭 is Chou4.

The Pinyin for 嗅 is Xiu4. 



Friday, January 5, 2018

Amazing Chinese Characters (186) Up - 上, Down - 下

The shell bone script of character Up is


One short stroke on the top and one long upward curved stroke on the bottom. The top short stroke indicates the sky, the bottom curved stroke indicates the earth. The short stroke over the upward curved stroke means Up.

The shell bone script of character Down is
right now, the top downward curved stroke over a short stroke means Down.

The small seal script of Up is


the bottom horizontal line indicates the earth, and the vertical half straight and half curved line indicates Up, the short horizontal line is the indicator - "I mean 'here'".

The small seal script of Down is
just the up-down of Up of small seal script.

The clerical script of Up is


similar to its small seal script but the vertical just up, no curve, simpler and better.

The clerical script of Down is
it is up-down of the Up of clerical script with the horizontal short line becomes a diagonal direction, which is better to represent the meaning of Down.

The song typeface for Up and Down are



           上     

They are called indicative characters. The short line, or the diagonal short line or pointer are the indicators to tell the meanings of the characters.

The Pinyin of 上 is Shang1, and Pinyin for 下 is Xia4.