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.

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