Monday, February 19, 2018

Amazing Chinese Characters (193) Drink - 饮

The shell bone script of character Drink is

the lower part of the left is a wine pot, and right part is person who put his tongue out to drink or taste the wine.

The bronze script of the character is


the left part is the wine pot, and the right is a person who holds the pot and try to drink the wine with his tongue.

The small seal script of the character is

which is similar to the bronze script on the left part, the right part is same as a person who is drinking with an open mouth, but the tongue is not seen.

The clerical script of the character is


which is changed a lot, no similarity to the old scripts. The left part actually means Eat (Post 190), not a wine pot anymore. In ancient times, character Eat - 食, could mean Drink sometimes. Right part means Owe, not a person who is drinking. However, the character Owe - 欠 (Post 314), is a person who is open his mouth for yawning, which is some similarity to open mouth to drink. 

The reason why it changed so much to is unknown.

The song typeface for traditional character is


very similar to the clerical script.

The song typeface for simplified character is


Its pinyin is Yin3.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Amazing Chinese Characters (192) For - 为

The shell bone script of character For is

the left part is a hand, the right part is a vertical elephant, which means that a person guides an elephant to work for people.



The small seal script of the character is


which is a little bit complicated, the top is the hand, the long nose from top right, cross to left and go down along left, the bottom five vertical lines are elephant's legs and tail.

The clerical script of this character is


which is similar to the small script.

But there is another one


the nose here is more straight forward.

It is a very interesting ideogram character.

The song typeface for traditional character is


which is similar to the clerical script above except only one dot for a hand.

The song typeface for simplified character is


which has lost the pictography, and difficult to see any sign of had and elephant. You have to memorize it even it has less strokes.

Its pinyin is Wei4.


Thursday, February 1, 2018

Amazing Chinese Characters (191) Village - 乡

The shell bone script for character Village is

two men sit on each side of a food utensils to have dinner.


Why does it mean "Village"? There is no explanation. I think that people in the village did eat together in that time.

I think that there were no cities, and towns in ancient time. People lived together to form villages surrounded by rural countryside where few people. People could only go to village to meet people and eat with friends in restaurants. 

The small seal script for the character is


the middle one is the utensils, but the two sides are not people but the place where people live, such as village, or township. We may think that there is a food utensils, and people sit on each side,  but there are many people, not just two. So the village is big village, or big township.

The clerical script for the character is

which lost the similarity. The right part means Ear, and the left part is unknown. One dictionary explains the change was caused by mistakenly writing.

The current standard song script for simplified character is


The current standard song script for traditional character is


Its Pinyin is Xiang1.


Amazing Chinese Characters (190) Eat - 食

The shell bone script of character Eat is


the top is a mouth, and the bottom is a utensils, which means that some one is eating food.


Other explanation is that the top is the lid of a pan, the bottom is rice in a utensil, which means that the food in a pot covered by a lid.

I don't know which one is better. We see many the triangle top for Mouth. However the bottom is more like pot, not utensils which was not used 3000+ years ago.

The bronze script of the character is


The small seal script of the character is


similar to the shell bone script, but less pictographic. The mouth touches the utensils, and the legs of utensils are not in the middle.

The clerical script for the character is


still a little bit similarity, but changed a lot.

Its song typeface is


Its Pinyin is Shi1.

食 original is Eat, but gradually, it means Food too, especially combined with other characters, such as 食物,食品,饮食,etc. When you learn more, you will understand those compound words.