Friday, August 19, 2016

Amazing Chinese Characters (71) Ghost - 鬼

The shell bone script for character Ghost is


a kneeling down person with a big head, which is what ancient Chinese thought a ghost looks like. It should be bad and evil, so let it kneel down. It should be very scaring with very big head, small body.

Its small seal script is


similar to the shell bone script, but not kneel down with a 厶 on the low right. The 厶 means selfish, and private, here is mysterious, which are ghost's characteristics, ancient Chinese believed.

Its clerical script is


similar to small seal script, but strokes are more stretch out. It is less pictography.

Its current standard printing script for traditional or simplified character is


Its Pinyin is "Gui3"

  

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Amazing Chinese Characters (70) Stand - 立

The shell bone script for character Stand is


like a person standing up.

Its small seal script is


similar to the shell bone script.

Its clerical script is


still similar, but just shorter and fater.

The current standard printing script for traditional or simplified character is


almost same as the clerical script.

Its Pinyin is "Li4".

Friday, August 12, 2016

Amazing Chinese Characters (69) Flower - 花

The big seal script for character Flower is


like a flower.

Its small seal script is


similar to big seal script.

Its clerical script is


not similar to the older scripts, not like the flower anymore.

The current standard printing script is


Its Pinyin is "Hua1".

Amazing Chinese Characters (68) Dance - 舞

The shell bone script for character Dance is

like a person dancing.

Its small seal script is


like a dancer with many decorations on his or her body.

Its clerical script is


still like dancer with strips on his/her up body.

Its current standard printing script for traditional or simplified character is


same as the clerical script.

Its Pinyin is "Wu3".

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Amazing Chinese Characters (67) Seedlings - 苗

The big seal script for character Seedlings is


the bottom is character "Field", and the top are sprout growing from the field. It is an ideogram and pictography character.

Its small seal script is


very similar to the big seal script.

Its clerical script is

similar to two older scripts, the bottom "Field" is rectangle, and the top seedlings become two vertical lines plus a big long horizontal line, which compromised the pictography of the character.

Its current standard printing script for traditional or simplified character is


same as the clerical script.

Its Pinyin is "Miao2".

Amazing Chinese Characters (66) Learn - 學

The original bronze script (3000+ years ago) for character Learn is


the top middle two up down XX are counting rods or sticks, the top left and right are two hands holding the rods. The middle part are two legs of a person, the bottom part is a child. The character is a picture in which a person is teaching a child or a child is learning how to count. So it means “Learn”.

It is an ideogram character.

Its small script is


very similar to the bronze script.

Its clerical script is


the top part is simliar to the older scripts but the bottom part changed from a round circle to a horizontal line, the upward bent curve for two arms to a horizontal line,  and the vertical line to a curve with a hook at the end.

The changed damaged the pictography at the bottom but it is still a good ideogram character.

Its current standard printing script for traditional character is


same as the clerical script.

Its current standard printing script for simplified character is


which changed the top part to three dots. Now the character has no any pictography feature. You can't get any meaningful information from the character. You may write a few strokes, but lost all meaningful pictography, and ideography feature.

Its Pinyin is "Xue2".

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Amazing Chinese Characters (65) Ask - 問

The shell bone script for character Ask is


which is formed by two pictography characters, one is "Door"


another is "Mouth"


this one is a little bit too big fot the door above (sorry, couldn't find a smaller one). But anyway, "a mouth in a door" is "Ask". Why? Ancient Chinese thought that a person approached to a door, and opened his mouth, he was asking something.

It is an ideogram character.

Its small seal script is


very similar to the shell bone script.

Its clerical script is


similar to older scripts.

Its current standard printing script for traditional character is


same as the clerical script.

Its current standard printing script for simplified character is


in which the "door" has changed, the pictography is compromised. 

Its Pinyin is "Wen4".

Amazing Chinese Characters (64) Dictionary - 典

The shell bone script for character "Dictionary" is


the top part is a book, the bottom part is two hands holding the book, which means that the book is heavy and important.

It is an ideogram character.

Its small script is


the top part is same as shell bone script, but the bottom part becomes a table or sheft, which means the book is on the table or sheft.

Its clerical script is


similar to small seal script

Its current standard printing script for traditional or simplified character is


same as the clerical script.

Its Pinyin is "Dian2".


Amazing Chinese Characters (63) Delete - 删

The big seal script for character "Delete" is


the left part is big seal script for character "Book"


the right part is big seal script for character "Knife"


because 2000 years ago, people wrote on bamboo or wooden slips, so book was formed by many slips connected by rope, which is the left part. There was no eraser at that time, if people wrote wrong, they used knife to scrape the surface for rewriting. So "a book + a knife" means "delete".

The character is formed by two other pictography characters to express a different meaning, which is an ideogram character.

Its small seal script is


very similar to the big seal script.

Its clerical script is


changed a lot on both parts, especially the right part "Knife", which is a short vertical line plus a vertical line with a hook at the bottom, not like knife very much.

The current standard printing script for traditional character is


The current standard printing script for simplified character is

The difference is very small, actually they have the same number of strokes, which means there is no any simplifying.

Its Pinyin is "Shan1".

Monday, August 8, 2016

Amazing Chinese Characters (62) Book - 册

The shell bone script for character Book is


the four vertical lines represent the bamboo slips, which were the writing materials in ancient time. People wrote on bamboo slips, then connected them by ropes. The circle line represents the rope. Because a bamboo slip is very small, only a few or a dozen character could be written on.  Hundreds or thousands or even tens thousands bamboo slips were needed to write a book.

As we knew, the shell bone script was written on shell or bone when people had not found the bamboo slips for writing, how could we have a shell bone script with a tied bamboo slips for Book?What I think is that the bamboo slips was used in the late of the shell bone script time, or after bamboo slips had been used widely, people still wrote on shell or bone sometime.

 Its small script is


very similar to the shell bone script.

Its clerical script is


still similar to the older two scripts, but only one rope left, and the top slips are connected.

Its current standard printing script for traditional character is


Its current standard printing script for simplified character is


both are very similar. Xin Hua Dictionary list the former as a variant of the latter, not an official traditional character.

Its Pinyin is "Ce4".
I need to point out that right now, the character 書 or which original meaning is "Write" is used more popular for "Book".  Character 册 is used more often to represent a copy of a book.

Amazing Chinese Characters (61) Knife - 刀

The shell bone script for character Knife is


The Xin Hua Online Dictionary explains that the bottom is the handle, the top is the blade. I would say that the top may be the handle, the right bottom is the blade, and left bottom is used by ancient Chinese which we don't understand.

Its small seal script is


which is not like knife anymore, dictionary says that the change had been made too much. But if we consider the top is the handle, it is still like a knife, even though not a good pictography.

Its clerical script is


some similarity to small seal script, but not like knife very much.

Its current standard printing script for traditional or simplified character is


same as the clerical script.

Its Pinyin is "Dao1".

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Amazing Chinese Characters (60) Melon - 瓜

The big seal script for character Melon is


like a melon hanging on a frame.

Its small script is


a better pictography than big seal script, the melon is clearly hanging under the frame.

Its clerical script is


similar but not very good pictography. The melon is replaced by a dot on a hook, the frame support bars are bent, and short, not solid support. But it is still a pictography character.

Its current standard printing script for traditional or simplified character is


same as the clerical script.

Its Pinyin is "Gua1".

I have to say a little bit more about the character. Don't be confused this character with another very similar one, which is the character 



which means Claw.

Its big seal script, small seal script and clerical script are following




If nothing in the end of the middle vertival line, it is Claw. If it has circle or dot, it is Melon。


Amazing Chinese Characters (59) Well - 井

The shell bone script for character Well is


just like a well.

Its small seal script is


similar to shell bone script, but there is a dot in the well. Why is a dot? It is a bucket for the water.

Its clerical script is


similar to the older scripts.

Its current standard printing script for traditional or simplified character is


same as the clerical script.

Its Pinyin is "Jing3".



Amazing Chinese Characters (58) Convex - 凸

The big seal script for charcater Convex is


like something raised up in the middle.

Its small seal script is

like bottle, but means convex.

Its clerical script is


similar to the small seal script, but straight lines and sharp turns replaced the round lines.

Its current standard printing script for traditional or simplifed character is


same as the clerical script.

Its Pinyin is "Tu1".


Amazing Chinese Characters (57) Concave - 凹

The big seal script for character Concave is

a hole in the middle of container.

Its small seal script is


which is like a concave U.

I need to point out that that character is not from the official Xinhua Dictionary, but an informal small seal online converter tool website. So it should be written by modern people. But it should be similar to the one which whould have been written by Mr. Si Li, who created the small seal script 2000+ years ago. He might have written this character, but lost in the history.

Its clerical script is


similar to the small seal script

Its current standard printing script for traditional or simplified character is


same as the clerical script.

Its Pinyin is "Ao1".