Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (186) Hot - 炎

The bronze script for character Hot is


which is formed by two


which is character Fire.

The double Fires means Hot.

The small seal script for character Hot is


which is formed from two small seal script Fires

The clerical script for Hot is

The current standard printing script for character Hot is


Its Pinyin is Yan2.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (185) Black (2)- 乌

There are two characters for Black. We discussed 黑 in Post (184). We discuss another one here.

The big seal script for another character for Black is


which is a bird which has all black feather like crows.



The small seal script for the character Black is


Let's see the small seal script for character Bird

Both are almost the same except for a short line in the head of the character Bird, but not in the character Black.

Why? Because the eyes of Crows or other black birds are black, it is difficult to see the eyes on the all black body.

The clerical script for the character is

It changed big from the small script. The bottom 4 dots are bird paws, the tail bends inward.

In comparison with the character Bird

We see there is an extra line inside the top box which is the head of bird.

The current standard printing script for traditional character is


very similar to clerical script.

The current standard printing script for simplified character is


The 4 dots become a line, and the top feather are disappeared. It is difficult to see its similarity to bird anymore.

Its Pinyin is Wu1.

I want to point out that the original meaning of this character is Black Bird, but as time past, people more used it to describe the color of something, its original meaning of Bird was gradually disappeared. So now it means Black, not Black Bird. 

People added another character to it, 乌鸦,for Crows. Here 鸦 is bird. 

What is the difference between Black 黑 and Black 乌?

黑 means general Black for all things, 乌 is only for living things or a few moving things.

We say, 黑衣 (black clothing), 黑笔 (black pen), 黑马 (black horse). But we don't say 乌衣, 乌笔,but say 乌马 (a horse with color like crow). 

乌马 expressed some emotion (here is “lovely horse"), more used in literature. 黑马 is objective, more used in text books or normal descriptions.




Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (184) Black - 黑

There are two characters for Black, we discuss one of them in this post, will discuss another one in next post.

The big seal script for the Character is

the bottom is

which means Fire.

Actually, there are two Fires, which is a character meaning very hot.

The top one is a big face with some black dots, indicating the face is black. The full character means that whose who are close to the big fire like Kiln workers have black faces, or the color of their face is black.

The small seal script for the character is


the top is the face with three bars to replace the dots in the big seal script, the bottom is two Fires, similar to the big seal script.

The clerical script for the character is
the top part is more similar to big seal script, the bottom part is not similar to anyone. The only thing I can tell is that the 4 dots on the bottom is for Fire, very common.

The current standard printing script is

very similar to the clerical script.

Its pinyin is Hei1.





Thursday, December 14, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (183) Middle or Center - 中

Shell bone script for the character Middle or Center are




There are five different characters, all mean Middle or Center. Why? Because there were no unified characters before the First Emperor after 221 B.C. So there were many characters for one characters. The above five characters are only part of the characters for Middle or Center.

From the far left to the middle one, all have flags, on the top and on the bottom. The second one from the left has one dot on the flagpole, and two on each side. They are indicative of the middle place between the flags.

The middle one uses a circle to indicate the Middle or Center. The far left is the space in the middle.

The far right has only the flagpole and a square, the second one from right is something between.

Let see the big seal script for Middle or Center


which are from the middle one and the one on the right of shell bone characters above.

The small seal script for Middle or Center is


There is only one character because small seal script was created by Mr. Si Li under the order of First Emperor to unify the characters. Mr. Li just chose the one with flagpole and the half circle half square one, which is simple and easy to write or draw.

The clerical script for the character is


which is similar to the small seal script, the middle is rectangle now.

The current standard print script is


It is almost same as the clerical script.

Its pinyin is Zhong1.

I need to point out that Chinese call China as 中国. 中 means Middle or Center,  国 or 國 (traditional Chinese) means Country or Nation. So 中国 or 中國 means "Middle Country", or "the Country in the center of the world". Ancient Chinese believed that they were in the center of the world.

Western named China because it was the place where made China, which is not the same meaning as 中国 in Chinese.



Saturday, December 9, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (182) Lead - 牵

The shell bone script for Lead (verb) is


on the left is Ox


The middle one is a circle, which is a circle through the Ox nose, and the right part is a rope.


The big seal script for Lead is


the bottom is Ox


the middle one horizontal is an open bar with two ends bent down (not a circle), the vertical is the rope and hand.

The small seal script for Lead is


Similar to the big seal script, but the horizontal bar's two ends bent very deep, which is the style of small seal script.

The clerical script for Lead is

It is some similar to the big and small seal scripts, but changed a lot.

The current standard print script is


similar to the clerical script.

Its Pinyin is Qian1. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (181) Stomach - 胃

The shell bone script for character Stomach is


a bag with some rice or food inside, which is pictograph character.

The bronze script for character is

the top is the bag with food as the shell bone script, the bottom one is character 月, which means "Flesh" here but is Moon if used as a single character.

The character means a flesh bag or a bag inside a body, which is stomach.

The big seal script for the character is
very similar to its bronze script.

The small seal script for the character is


the bag is rectange, not round; the bottom is more symmetrical.

The clerical script for the character is

no rice dots inside of the bag, strokes are straight lines except one on the bottom left.

The current standard printing script is

All are straight lines, you can't imagine what its shell bone or big seal scripts look like from it.

Its Pinyin is Wei4.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (180) Fork - 叉

The shell bone script for character Fork is


or

The middle of the top one is 

which is a hand. It is surrounded by many dots,  meaning that a hand inserts into many small stuffs, such as rice. 

The bottom one has only two dots, but same meaning.

The big seal script for this character is


a hand with one dot.

Its small seal script is
similar to big seal script.

All above are like a Fork.

Its clerical script is

the hand becomes
which is not like a hand, even though if you look it carefully, you still can see a little bit similarity. The curves become less curve or straight lines.

The current standard printing script is


Its Pinyin is Cha1.

I need to point out that 叉 also means "Cross" or "X". 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (179) Rush - 奔

The bronze script for Rush or Run quickly is


the top is a person who moves his arms, and takes big steps,  the bottom are three feet.

Let's compare it with another character in shell bone script

 which means Walk.

The two characters have the same top parts, three feet on the bottom of Rush, and one foot on the bottom of Walk.

Here the one foot or three feet means how fast the person walks or runs. One foot means slow, and three feet means fast. Or we can think that the one big foot is clear to us, three small feet let us feel a little bit dizzy because the feet move so quickly, we can't see them clearly.

The small seal script for Rush is


similar to the bronze script, but changed a lot.

In comparison, the small seal script for Walk is


The bottom foot is not similar to the feet in Rush.

The clerical script for Rush is
a little bit similarity to the small seal script.

The clerical script for Walk is

No similarity to Rush any more.

I don't know why they changed from very similar to not similar at all.

The current standard printing script is


which is very similar to its clerical script.

Its pinyin is Ben1.

I need to point out that 奔 is a verb, means run if it is used alone. But it could be adverb, means ”trying hard" if it is used with 走 - walk, or other moving verbs. For example, 奔走 - walk very hard (may be very fast in compare with walking). 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (178) Neat - 齐

The shell bone script for character Neat is

It is a picture of shoots, meanwhile germination.



The big seal script for this character is

very similar to the shell bone script.

Its small script is


which keeps the 3 shoots, but adds a "=" in the middle. The = emphasizes the time is same, the hight is same for the shoots.

Its clerical script is


which changed too much to be similar to the old script. I did not find any explanation for the reason why it changed to this form.

Its current standard script for traditional charater is


Same as the clerical script.

The current standard script for simplified character is


which is from cursive script. But if it has any meaning? I don't know.

Its pinyin is Qi1.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (177) Stork - 雚,鹳

The shell script for character Stork is

It is a bird with big eyes.

Its bronze script is


Its small seal script is


The top part is head and eyes, and the bottom part is character 隹,


which means "small bird".

The current standard script is


Its pinyin is Guan4.

There was another character which has the same meaning about two thousands years ago.

The big seal script for that character is


which is 雚 plus a 鳥 on the right.


which means Bird (big bird).

Its clerical script is


which eventually replaced the 雚.

The current standard script is


Its pinyin is Guan4, same as that for 雚.

Right now, 雚 is used more often as a radical in characters, which means big bird, not only storks, but owls which have big eys.