Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Amazing Chinese Characters (510) Sharp - 夆

 The shell bone script of character Sharp is

the top is Foot (Post 93) downward, 

The foot above is upward.
The bottom of the character Sharp is an ear of wheat (Post 317). 

A barefoot steps on the awn of wheat, which is as painful as barefoot steps on needle points. Chinese proverb says "针尖对麦芒“ - needle point toward to awn of wheat, evenly matched. The awn of wheat is as sharp as needle point.

The bronze script of character Sharp is
Similar to shell bone script.

The small seal script of character Sharp is


The top and right long vertical line is the foot, and bottom is the ear of the wheat.

The song typeface of the character is

The top is Foot, the bottom is awn of wheat.

The pinyin of 夆 is Feng2.




Friday, June 17, 2022

Amazing Chinese Characters (509) Dive - 潜(潛)

 The big seal script of character Dive or Diving is

The left is Radical Water, the right is very similar to character Substitute - 替 (Post 434)

But they are not the same. 
The top in character Dive are two character Owe - 欠 (Post 314).
The top in character Substitute are two character Stand - 立 (Post 70). 
Substitute means that two guards exchange duty, one is leaving, another is to substitute him. Dive means that people go under water, they have to stop breath which causes the lack of air - owe air or deficiency of air.

The small seal script of the character is

The left is Water Radical, the right top are two Owe's, even thought they are not in the dictionary, but easy to figure out that they mean Owe (air). The bottom is character 曰 - speak, here means silence. 

The clerical script of the character is 
The top right are two 旡s, which mean that close mouth and owe air. 

The traditional song typeface of the character is
Similar to clerical script.

The simplified song typeface of the character is
The top two changed to 夫, which means Man. Right now, the right is same as character Substitute - 替(Post 434). The change causes confusion: do the two men substitute underwater? It is a bad simplification because it doesn't reduce strokes, but cause confusion.

The problem is what the right part of 潛


means? There is no explanation in any dictionary, but it should be a character in early time, otherwise, people could not have created a compound character 潛. 

I guess that the right part of 潛 means that the two people close their mouths, keep silent, just opposite to 替 - open mouths to exchange some words. When people are underwater, they have to keep the mouth closed, and can't speak, which is the meaning of 潛.

The Pinyin of character 潜(潛)is Qian3.




















Thursday, June 16, 2022

Amazing Chinese Characters (508) Emperor's carriage - 辇(輦)

 The shell bone script of character emperor's carriage is

The middle is Vehicle (Post 5), the above is one of many Vehicle characters, even though it is not one of following.


Because the characters were not unified until small script (about 2200 year ago), one character could have many forms.

There is a U shape in the front, and two 夫 s hanging on the U, which are two men who push the U frame by shoulders. On each sides of U, there are two men pushing the U by hands. The vehicle is big, needing many people to push it forward. 

The big seal script of the character is

The two 大 on the front are two men pulling the vehicle, the bottom 車 is the vehicle (Post 5).

The small seal script of the character is

The front two 夫 on the front are two men pulling the vehicle, the bottom is the vehicle, similar to big seal script.

The clerical script of the character is
Similar to small seal script.

The simplified song typeface of the character is


The bottom Vehicle 車 is replaced by simplified 车.

The Pinyin of the character is Nian3.

The character is not used because there is no Emperor's carriage anymore, even no man power big vehicles. The character is used in compound character Expel (or Drive out, or Catch up). 

Let's see the big seal script of character Expel

The left is Radical Hand, the right is character Emperor's Carriage, adding an extra Hand to push the carriage  means to rush forward. 

The clerical script of character Expel is
The left is Radical Hand, the right is character Emperor's Carriage.

The simplified song typeface of the character is 

Its Pinyin is Nian3, exactly same as 辇. This is why people feel difficult to learn Chinese from the pronunciations, because one pronunciation has many characters, from a few to tens or ever more than one hundred. But one character has only one script form since small seal script, limited a few forms in most characters before small seal script, so it is much much easier to learn Chinese characters from pictography, which is the reason why I build up this blog. 








Saturday, June 11, 2022

Amazing Chinese Characters (507) Longevity - 寿(壽)

 The bronze script of character Longevity is

The top is character Old (Post 288), the middle horizontal S means a road full of twist and turns, two  As are two feet; the bottom 口 is mouth, which may mean Eating or Speaking, the right fork alike is a hand. The character means that an old person who walked long time on roads with turns and twist, did a lot of things (the hand), ate long years meals (mouth), is longevity.

The big seal script of the character is

Similar to bronze script.

The small seal script of the character is


Similar to older scripts but the Hand disappears, the two As become two Us.  The Hand disappearing is to make the character a little bit uncrowded, the As losing the short line inside may be from the meaning change, the U likes a small turn, the S likes big turns, people may have big changes (big success, or big suffering), and small changes (small achievement, or small upset).

The clerical script of the character is

It cuts the character to parts, the S + Us becomes "工 +  一", really lost all pictography of the character. The bottom are 口 - Mouth, and 寸 - Inch(Hand here).

The simplified song typeface of the character is
which is from cursive script, only the bottom 寸 left, the top a little bit similar to the old scripts, the middle part S, As or Us are totally disappeared.

The Pinyin of the character is Shou4.


 


Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Amazing Chinese Characters (506) Base - 基

 The shell bone script of character Base is


The bottom is character Its or That (其, Post 505), which means a basket, the top is Soil (Post 223), even though the dot in the vertical is not showing. The character means that using basket to carry soil to set up a base.

The bronze script of character Base is

The bottom 土 is character Soil, the rest is character 其, the basket. The soil is on bottom but the character means same as that of shell bone script: to carry the soil for setting up a base. The small seal script of character 其 (Post 505) has the same structure.

The big seal script of character Base is
Similar to the bronze script.

The small seal script of character Base is
Similar to older scripts.

The clerical script of character Base is

The X becomes two short horizontal lines, the rest is similar to the older scripts.

The pinyin of character 基 is Ji1.





Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Amazing Chinese Characters (505) Go - 棋

 The shell bone script of Chinese Go is 

The bottom is character Its or That - 其 (Post 504), original means basket. The top is character Wood (Post 10). The Go basket holds a Go piece inside.


The big seal script of the character Go is
Similar to its shell bone script. 

The small seal script of character Go is 
The top is the basket, the bottom is character Wood (the Go piece), which is very odd. The reason why it is like this may be that this way is better to fit the small seal script, pull the two dots longer to cover the Wood, otherwise, the wood on top would make the character too long vertically. 

The clerical script of character Go is
Right now, the Wood is on the left, the Basket is on the right, better for clerical script which is flat, long horizontally, and short vertically.

The Pinyin of character 棋 is Qi2.




Amazing Chinese Characters (504) Its or That - 其

 The shell bone script of character Its or That is


which is a basket, most likely made from bamboo.

The bronze script of the character is


The top is same as shell bone script, the one line is a board on the bottom basket, the two dots are two hands carrying the basket.

The big seal script of the character is


Similar to bronze script.

The small seal script of the character is

Similar to bronze and big seal scripts, but there are two X in the basket.

The clerical script of the character is

The top has no X inside, but two horizontal lines, the bottom has a long horizontal line, not good pictographic anymore, but still some similar to old scripts.

The Pinyin of the character is Qi2.

其 doesn't mean basket anymore, but Its, or That, or his, or her, or such, etc. It is used most in proverbs, or words with two characters.



Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Amazing Chinese Characters (503) Test - 考

The bronze script of character Test is

The top is same as that in character Old (Post 288), meaning an old man. The bottom is the inside reed of ancient bamboo instrument 竽(Post 497), which was the most complex music instrument in 3000+ years ago. An old man who holds a reed is the examiner who tests the blow skills of the instrument of the applicants. Because the instrument is complex, people need long time practice to become a high level player, as an examiner, who should be an senior official, so he could not be young.

The big seal script of the character is
Similar to bronze script.

The small seal script of the character is


Similar to the older scripts.

The clerical script of the character is
The top 土 is the hair, the falling left stroke is from horizontal and turning down stroke of older scripts, I don't know why it is changed like that. The bottom is the reed.

The pinyin of the character 考 is Kao3.





Monday, May 23, 2022

Amazing Chinese Characters (502) Filial - 孝

 The bronze script of character Filial is

the top is an old man (see Post 288), the bottom is character Child (Post 21), here is the young generation who cares their old parents.

The big seal script of character Filial is
Similar to bronze script.

The small seal script of the character is
the top is Old man, the bottom is Child.

The clerical script of the character is

The top is simplified Old man, the bottom is Child.

The pinyin of the character is Xiao4.

孝 - Filial is the most important in family relationship, younger generation has to respect their parents including daily care duty when parents are old, obeying the parents in making big decisions, and supporting parents financially. People who are irrespective to parents could get very bad reputation in the community, may lose their jobs, and social position in the society.