Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Amazing Chinese Characters (250) You - 尔(爾),你

The shell bone script for character You is

which is an arrow, or multiple arrows.

Is it a character of Arrow? No, because there is a character of Arrow in shell bone script (Post 38). So it must be something else.

There is no explanation why the character of You is like arrow. What I think is that the character original presents the enemy, not our people. It gradually became to present other people, then You who is a person not in your side.

Another explanation I think is that the ancient Chinese shoot arrows with message to enemy positions  to communicate each other. In order to make sure the enemy could receive the message, they shoot multiple arrows at the same time.

The big seal script for You is

which is still like an arrow.

The small seal script for you is

It changes a lot, not like arrow very much. It may be just to make it looks better.

The clerical script for You is

which is similar to its small seal script.

The traditional song typeface is
Similar to clerical script.

The simplified song typeface is

which is little similar to all older scripts.

Its Pinyin is Er3.

爾 or 尔 have been used in Classical writing Chinese (文言文), not the modern writing Chinese, or Vernacular Chinese (白话文)which is from oral Chinese.

Since Sui Dynasty (581 - 619), the Vernacular Chinese added a Person radical to the side of 尔 to get 
which is current character of You.

Its Pinyin is Ni3.

Even though not many people know 尔,but 尔 is still used as You in classical writing Chinese, and it is the original character of 你。

If you are a foreigner who take a Chinese class, most likely, your teacher will teach you 你好!as your first Chinese word.

好 - Good (see Post 27), 你好! means You (are) Good! which is most popular greeting word.

你好! is similar to Hello, or How are you? but not the same to either one.

When you say 你好!to a person who just needs to respond 你好!back, which is similar to Hello. But 你好 has a wish: I wish you would be good. "How are you?" is more formal, people needs to respond "Fine, thanks. and you?". Also "How are you?" has no wish, just a neutral question.

(Other related blogs
Creative Chinese Calligraphy - https://creativechinesecalligraphy.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-beautiy-of-creative-calligraphy-1.html)
Chinese Calligraphy History - https://leweishang.blogspot.com/2016/02/picto-calligraphy-new-way-to-write.html)

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