Thursday, July 30, 2020

Amazing Chinese Characters (304) Go - 去

The earliest bronze script of the character Go is
The top is a person walking forward, which is similar to the top of 走 - Walk (Post 96). The bottom 口 is not Mouth but a cave or village. Person walks away from his home to somewhere, which is Go.


Let's compare it with 出 - Out (Post 261). Its shell bone script is


Top is a foot, and bottom is a cave people lived in. A foot walks out of the cave is Out, which emphasizes the moment when person walks out, not indicates that he would go far away. Go with a big step means that he is going to somewhere not near by, may need hours or days.

The big seal script of the character is


The top is the walking person, the bottom is the cave facing left down which is not the same direction of the person walking, which may emphasize that the person goes to any direction as he needs.

The small seal script of the character is


The top is still a person walking, the bottom is open cave or house, which may mean that the person opens the door and go out. 

The clerical script of the character is 


The top lines are straight, difficult to see a person walking. The bottom is become a triangle with a top open, which is similar to the small seal script.

Its Pinyin is Qu4.

I mentioned 出 - Out, which is some similar to 去 - Go. As time past, people often use 出去 together as a compound word, which means Go Out, specifically used in the time when people are inside to go outside. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Amazing Chinese Characters (303) Gain-Trust - 孚

The shell bone script of character Gain-Trust is

On the top left is a hand, the rest is 子 - Child (Post 285) . A hand holding a child is "Gain-Trust".


Here I used a compound words "Gain-Trust" first time to express the meaning of the character because, neither "Gain" nor "Trust" is not the real meaning of the character.

The explanation on Dictionary of Pictography is that the original meaning of the character is Capture. I disagree. Because to capture a child doesn't make sense, and the current meaning of the character is "Grain-Trust", which is opposite to Capture but close to child trusts parents's hands.

The big seal script of the character is

The top is the hand, the bottom is a child.

The small seal script of the character is

Similar to the big seal script.

The clerical script of the character is


The top is hand, the bottom is child.

The character is not used often now, most are in proverbs, e.g. 深孚众望.

Its Pinyin is Fu2.


Monday, July 27, 2020

Amazing Chinese Characters (302) Ancient - 古

The shell bone script of character Ancient is

The bottom 口 is Mouth (Post 16). The top 中, looks like Middle (Post 182), but it is not. They are one 口, and one 1 - vertical line, which means many many stories at long long time ago by words of mouth from generation to generation.


The bronze script of the character is


The bottom is Mouth, the top it a vertical line with a big black dot on it. 《象形字典》explains that it is a 十 - Ten, ten means many - many stories.

The big seal script of the character is

The top is not like 十,the dot is like an indicator or knot. Some people believe that is the ancient Chinese tying knots to keep records.


The small seal script of the character is


The top is Ten, the bottom is Mouth, similar to bronze script.

The clerical script of the character is

Similar to small seal script.

Its Pinyin is Gu3.




Thursday, July 23, 2020

Amazing Chinese Characters (301) Rumble - 轰(轟)

The big seal script of character Rumble is

Three Vehicles - 车 (Post 5) together, which means many vehicles are rolling forward to make huge sound.


The small seal script of the character Rumble is

similar to the big seal script.

The clerical script of the character Rumble is

Still similar.

Traditional Song typeface for the character is


No much difference from clerical script.

Simplified Song typeface for the character is

The top is simplified Song typeface for 車 - Vehicle, the bottom is simplified Song typeface 双 - Pair (Pair 109), which means that there are two vehicles. The character is ideogram, not pictography anymore. It is difficult for readers to feel three vehicles rolling forward as the traditional one.

Its Pinyin is Hong1.


Saturday, July 4, 2020

Amazing Chinese Characters (300) Emit - 冒

The shell bone script of character Emit is


They are hats (or caps), the original meaning of the character.


The earliest script for character Emit is bronze script,


The top is like a horizontal Moon (Post 53), but it is a hat. The bottom is 目 - EYE (Post 17). The short line in the hat is believed to be an indicator for head in hat.

The big seal script of the character is
The top is same as bronze script. The bottom is the eye in big seal script.

The small seal script of the character is

The brim edges drop very deep to cover all eye because small seal script is symmetrical, smooth, and long vertically. The two short horizontal lines represent the head under hat.

The clerical script of the character is
The top is the hat. If we pay attention to the top, we can see that the lower two lines don't touch the sides, which is similar to small seal script.

Its Song Typeface is


We see the top two lower horizontal lines don't touch the sides too. However, too many people write the top as 曰, which means Say. The top is hat and two lower lines represent head, nothing to do with Say. People write it wrong because they don't understand the original meaning of the character.

Its Pinyin is Mao4.

Even though the original meaning of the character is hat, but it changed the meaning to Emit 2000+ years ago, such as smoking, bubbling, and sweating.




Why? Maybe because the smoke or bubble emits over the chimney, or surface of the water is similar to that sweat emits on or over the hat of a person. 

About 2000 years ago, ancient Chinese created another clerical script character to represent hat:

The left is 巾 (Post 172), means Towel, or a piece of cloth, big or small. 帽 replaced 冒 as Hat.

帽's Pinyin is Mao4, same as 冒.