Monday, June 19, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (159) Sound - 音

The shell bone script for character Sound is


Let's compare it with shell bone script for character Say,


We see there are two more short lines in character Sound, one on the top, and another in the Mouth (口) at the bottom. Both are pointers to tell where the voice is created. The top line is pointing the tip of the tongue, and the short line inside the mouth is telling that the sound is from the Mouth. 

The small seal script for Sound is


Let's compare it with small seal script for character Say,


same as the above, the character Sound has two more short lines, to emphasize where is the sound from.

The clerical script for Sound is
The top part changed to 立,which means Stand Up, nothing to do with voice, or tongue. This change should be caused by simplified writing, which omitted some strokes; or miswriting.

The current standard printing script is

  

almost same as the clerical script.

I need to point out that the character also means Voice sometimes. I will discuss the difference more in post for Character Voice. 

Its Pinyin is Yin1.

Amazing Chinese Characters (158) Say - 言

The shell bone script for character Say is


which is very similar to character Tongue - 舌

both have Mouth at the bottom, and Y. The Tongue has some saliva droplets, but the Say has short lines for saliva. The difference is the top, Tongue has a dot for saliva, but the Say has a horizontal line, which is a pointer to indicate that Say is the sound made by tongue.

The small seal script for Say is


in comparison with the small seal script for Tongue,


the middle horizontal line in Tongue became a upward curve, and there is extra short horizontal line one the top.

The clerical script for Say is


the vertical line in the middle disappeared, but still some similar to older scripts.

The current standard printing script for Say is


Its Pinyin is Yan2.

I want to point out that the character is widely used as a radical in forming new characters, indicating that the character is related to Saying, Expressing, Speaking, etc. 

Amazing Chinese Characters (157) Tongue - 舌

The shell bone script for character Tongue is


the bottom


is the mouth.

the top
Y 

is the tongue.

the three dots are saliva droplets. 

The small seal script for the character is


similar to the shell bone script, but the droplets become a horizontal line.

The clerical script for the character is


still some similarity but the top Y disappeared, making it much less pictography than old scripts.

The current standard printing script is

  

almost same as the clerical script.

Its Pinyin is She2.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (156) Eight and Separate - 八,分

In English, there is no relationship between Eight and Separate, but there is close relationship between Chinese characters Eight and Separate. So I discuss them together.

The shell bone script for character Eight is


which was character Separate originally. We can understand why. One curve stroke on the left and another on the right, just like two separated halfs.

The small seal script for Eight is


similar to the shell bone script but very symmetrical.

The clerical script for Eight is


The current standard printing script is


very similar to its clerical script.

Its Pinyin is Ba1.

The character had been used for number eight as early as 3000 years ago. So people created a new character for Separate. Let's see its shell bone script,


We see the charater is character 八, plus a


which means Knife. Separate is using a knife to cut some thing to two parts. The new character is more like a verb, and original one is more like an adjective.

The big seal script for Separate is


The small seal script for Separate is


All are similar to shell bone script.

Its clerical script is


which has been used since 2000 years ago.

Its current standard printing script is


very similar to clerical script.

Its Pinyin is Fen1.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (155) Teach - 教

The shell bone script for character Teach is


the two XX are counting sticks, the bottom one

is character Child.

On the right is a hand holding a long vertical stick, which is used to beat the child if he didn't pay attention, or did poorly. Even nowadays, many Chinese believe that it is ok to beat kids if they didn't study hard or got bad score in school.

Let's compare this character with character Learn in bronze script


We see two XX for the sticks held by two hands on each side, the middle door-alike is a person's legs, and there is a child on the bottom. It is a picture of a child who is learning how to count, or an adult who is teaching a child how to count.

There is no beating stick, more peaceful picture.

The big seal script is for the character is


the left part is very similar to its shell bone script, the right part changed a little bit on the top.

The small seal script is


very similar to the older scripts.

The clerical script is


the change is huge. On the left, the top is totally changed, the bottom is 子,character Child in clerical script. The right part has some similarity to the older scripts if you see it very carefully.

The Pinyin of 教 is Jiao1.