Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (328) Half - 半

The bronze script of character Half is


The top is character Eight, meaning Separate or Divide here (See Post 156), the bottom is character Ox or Cow. To cut an Ox by half is the original meaning of the character.

The big seal script of character Half is

Similarly, the top is Separate (Eight), the bottom is Ox.

The small seal script of the character is


A little bit change but still very similar to the old scripts.

The clerical script of the character is

The top Eight becomes two dots, the bottom Ox misses a stroke

in order to avoid the two strokes (the dot or left-falling stroke in character Eight, and the left-falling stroke in character Ox) cross each other.

The Pinyin of the character is Ban4. 



Monday, January 11, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (327) Swallow - 吞

 The big seal script of character Swallow is

The top is character Sky (天), the bottom is character Mouth (口). Open mouth to try to swallow sky is the original meaning of the character. The character means not only swallow as English word but only means that swallow something a little bit too big to handle - you can do but not easy and comfortable. It is like the snake swallows the victim animal, at least we see the process is very difficult and uncomfortable.

The small seal script of the character is


Similar, the top is Sky, and the bottom is Mouth.

The clerical script of the character is


The top is Sky, the bottom is Mouth, the appearance is changed but the basic concept is not.

Its Pinyin is Tun1.


Sunday, January 10, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (326) Old Days - 昔

 The shell bone script of character Old Days is


There are 4 different forms of the character, which is common for shell bone script when the characters were not unified. We see all of the forms having waves and sun, 3 have waves on the top, 1 has waves on the bottom. No matter what, it means the Great Flood time: only the waves and the sun left. It is long long time ago - Old Days.

The bronze script of the character is


The top are waves, and the bottom is Sun.

The big seal script of the character is

Similar to bronze script.

The small seal script of the character is

The top waves change a lot away from the real wave, the bottom is Sun, unchanged.

The clerical script of the character is


The top is not like wave anymore, people didn't know the original meaning of the character, made mistake in the writing of clerical script, or cared more on simple writing over the meaning of it.

The song typeface of the character is
Almost ame as the clerical script. 
Its Pinyin is Xi1


Saturday, January 9, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (325) Straight to - 正

 The shell bone script of character of Straight to is


The top is a head of nail, and the bottom is a foot (left). People walk to a nail in a distance straightly, probably to measure the distance estimably. 

The bronze script of the character is


The top black spot is the head of nail, the bottom is the foot.

The small seal script of the character is


The nail head becomes a horizontal line, the rest is 止 (foot).

The clerical script of the character is

The top line is the nail head, the bottom is 止(foot).

The character has other meanings: Correct, Positive, etc. but original meaning is Straight to.

Its Pinyin is Zheng4.


 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (324) Do Not - 莫

 The shell bone script of character Do Not is


which is exactly same as character Evening or Old Age (Post 323). At the beginning of the shell bone script, the character express Evening or Old Age and Do Not, because after the sunset (evening), people are difficult to see (Do not see), or difficult to do anything (Do not do).

Because most people didn't know characters, the communication was in the very low level, the multiple meanings of the character didn't cause problem.

The big seal script of the character is

Same as the big seal script of character Evening or Old Age.

The small seal script of the character is

Same as the small seal script of character Evening or Old Age.

As time passed, people commented more, and used the character more often, which meaning the character presents caused confusion. So back about 2000+ years, people changed the character a little bit to distinguish the different meanings.

The clerical script of the character is

The bottom becomes to be 大, which means Big. However, if it means Big in the character? We don't know. But it is now different from the character from clerical script of character Evening or Old Age, which is
The top is character Do Not, the bottom is character Sun (日), which emphasizes that the Sun is covered or hided. So we may think the character Do Not as To cover/hide something, or Not, No, etc.

The song typeface of the character is


very similar to its clerical script.

Its Pinyin is Mo4.






Sunday, January 3, 2021

Amazing Chinese Characters (323) Desert - 漠

The shell bone script of character Desert is 


The center is character Sun, the 4 surround are grass, the sun is setting in the grass which originally means Evening (Post 196). 

The bronze script of the character is


People also used the character for desert, or original it had the meaning. In addition, the character was used for Do Not or Not (Post 324). As more and more people used it as three meanings, caused confusion. So people added character Water to it to create a new character specifically for Desert since big seal script:

Which is specific for big area without people, not the desert which only has sand. In Chinese, if you want to say the desert, you must add Sand before Desert: 沙漠 = Sand Desert.  Therefore we could understand why there is Water on the left because it is not Sand-Desert, is the desert with a lot of water.

The small seal script of the character is


The left is the Water, and the right is Evening.

The clerical script of the character is 


The song typeface of the character is 


Its pinyin is Mu4.