Sunday, April 24, 2022

Amazing Chinese Characters (497) Blow (music instrument) - 丂

 The shell bone script of Blow (music instrument) is


The simplest ancient music instrument, which is not exist now. We don't know what it looks like exactly, it could be the predecessor of Chinese traditional wind instrument 竽 made from bamboo。

The bronze script of the character is


The top is flat line now.

The small seal script of the character is 


The vertical line is curved, which means that the tube is not straight, is curved. The bamboo tube could be bent by heating it up in small area in certain degree, which could be done only by highly skillful and very experienced people. The curve makes the air flow not straight forward, creating a richful sound. 

The standard script of the character is

The curve becomes sharp turns, changed the original meaning: curved air flow.

The pinyin of the character is Kao3 or Qiao3.

The character is not used as independent character any more. 《新华字典》even does't list it. It is OK for you not know it, but it is still exist in many compound characters, such as 巧,朽,号,考,兮,etc. To know its meaning will help you understand other characters. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Amazing Chinese Characters (496) Worry - 虑

 The shell bone script of character Worry is

The top


is head of tiger (Post 492)

The bottom

 

is Think (Post 154). When you have a tiger in your mind all the time, you worry the tiger, you are anxiety.


The small seal script of the character is 



The top is the head of tiger, the bottom is character Think.

 

The clerical script of the character is




The head of tiger + character Think.

 

Simplified song typeface of the character 
Changed the bottom 思-Think to 心-Heart, close to original meaning, but not the same.

The Pinyin of the character is Lv. 


Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Amazing Chinese Characters (495) Wei (Surname) - 韦(韋)

 The shell bone script of character Wei is

The middle square is a city or town, the top and bottom are feet, soldiers on patrol for defending the city. 

 

The bronze script of the character is


The circle is the city, the top and bottom are feet. 

 

The small seal script of the character is

 

Similar to shell bone script.

The clerical script of the character is


Similar to small seal script. 


The simplified song typeface of the character is

 


Completely changed to almost no similarity to old scripts, it is from cursive script. The pictography is destroyed.

 

The original meaning of the character has been lost long time ago, which is replaced by character Guard (Post 149) - 卫(衛). The character is used a surname now. However, it is an important part or radical in compound characters, in which it keeps its original meaning, like character Guard 卫(衛), the middle is 韋, which means the soldiers on patrol, the outside is character Walk - 行 (Post 96), emphasizing the patrol. 


Understanding this character will help you to understand many characters with it.







Monday, April 4, 2022

Amazing Chinese Characters (494) Think - 想

There is another character Think - 思 (Post 154), I will discuss the difference between the two characters in the end of this post.

The big seal script of character Think is

The top is character Mutual - 相 (Post 376), the left is character Wood (Post 10), the right is character Eye (Post 17), which means that a person is looking at a wood. The bottom is character Heart (Post 24), which means that a person is looking at a wood, and thinking what is the best way to use the wood. Ancient Chinese thought the thinking is from either head or heart.

The small seal script of character Think is

 
Similar to big seal script, the top is character Mutual - 相, the bottom is character Heart - 心。

The clerical script of the character Think is

The top is Mutual - 相,the bottom is Heart.

The pinyin of the character is Xiang3.

The character 想 is exchangeable with 思, sometimes people just put them together to form a word 思想, which means Think too. But from the original pictography, there is subtle difference between the two. 

思 is more likely internal thinking, 想 is more likely external thinking, that is to watch something, then think.  思 may be more focus on abstract problems, more difficult, like math problems; 想 could be much wider, and easier problems, like to think if I should learn Chinese. 思 may involve more emotional feelings, 想 could be just Desire or Want some foods, or physical objects.

Anyway, they are very close, most Chinese have never thought what the difference of the two.


Sunday, April 3, 2022

Amazing Chinese Characters (493) Deficiency or Deficit - 亏(虧)

  The big seal script of character Deficiency or Deficit is 

Which is very similar to character At (Post 488), except the middle vertical line doesn't go through to the top short horizontal line. It means that the player doesn't have enough air flow to make the instrument to produce sound: the deficiency of the air flow. 
In comparison with character 乎(Post 489) and character 平 (Post 490), there are no dots, which are indicative of the air flow, between the two short horizontal lines.

Some people believe that the character is same as character At (Post 488), because the small seal script of character At


is so similar to big seal script. 

However, the small seal script of character Deficiency or Deficit is


The left top 

is the Tiger head. 
The bottom 
is Short Tail Bird (Post 107). 
The right part is the character At, here it means Deficit. A tiger that just ate a small bird is deficit of energy.

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

The song typeface of the traditional character is 
Same as the clerical script. 
The song typeface of the simplified character is 
Just the right of 虧.

The Pinyin of both characters is Kui1.

The simplified Chinese merged the two into 亏, eliminated 虧. But both existed in shell bone script. 


Amazing Chinese Characters (492) Head of Tiger - 虍

The shell bone script of radical Head of Tiger is

which is a head of tiger. Why? Let's see the shell bone script of character Tiger (Post 118)


We can see the head of tiger is same as the one above. The popular explanation for the character is Stripe of Tiger, which is obvious not correct by comparing the character Tiger.

The big seal script of radical Head of Tiger is
Some similar to shell bone script, but very close to the head of tiger in character Tiger of big seal script

The small seal script of radical Head of Tiger is

Almost same as the head of character Tiger


The clerical script of radical Head of Tiger is

Same as the top of character Tiger
The pinyin of the radical is Hu1.

The radical of Head of Tiger is not used as an independent character, but it is used with other radicals or characters to form new characters.