Friday, August 4, 2023

Amazing Chinese Characters (606) Open - 启(啟)

 The shell bone script of character Open is 

The top left is character Household - 户 (Post 271), meaning a single door. The top right is a hand opening the door. The bottom looks like character Mouth - 口(Post 16). It is believed that the first character had no Mouth. The meaning of the character is to Open the door. Later, the Mouth - 口 was added to mean "Teaching, Guiding for Beginners", open a door for skills and knowledge.

The big seal script of character Open is

Similar to shell bone script.

The small seal script of character Open is

The left 启 is 户(top - character Household) + 口(bottom - Mouth), the right is a hand (lower part) holding a stick (higher part), which means "knock, hit" here. The stick here should be a tool for opening door. 

The clerical script of character Open is
Similar to small seal script but the 口 - Mouth moved to the middle of bottom.

The simplified song type face of character Open is

Just the left half of the small seal script, the right part - Hand eliminated.

The Pinyin of character Open - 启(啓)is Qi3.

There is another character Open - 开 -開 (Post 359), its original meaning is to Open double door. 

The difference between the two: 
开(開)means Open, such as open a door, open to public, open a tournament (e.g. U.S. Open), open to talk, etc.
启(啓)means start up, start, inspire, announcement, notice, etc.

They are similar in most situation, however, 启(啓)is more formal, more mental, conceptal,  and used more in writing; 开(開)is a little bit more informal, could be used both in writing and oral Chinese. Another big difference between the two is 启(啓)is not used in physical open anything anymore, all those open is 开(開).

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