Monday, July 31, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (163) Rice - 米

The shell bone script for character Rice is


The six dots are rice grains, the line is the rice straw.


I have to point out that there was no much rice along Yellow River area because the north China was dry (even drier nowadays), not much rice in ancient time. The millet was much more popular in North Chinea. So the character original meant "Millet". But Rice had become more popular as time past, so the character means "Rice" right now. The millet has another character to present 粟, we may talk it in another post.

The big seal script for Rice is


very similar to the shell bone script.

The small seal script is


The top middle dot and bottom middle dot are connected. Some experts belive that people misunderstood the character.

Its clerical script is
similar to the small seal script.

The current standard printing script is


similar to the clerical script.

Its pinyin is Mi3.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (162) Compete - 比

The shell bone script for character Compete is


Two person are competing side by side.



The small seal script of Compare is


Its clerical script is


It has meaning of "Compare" too.

Its current standard print script is


Its Pinyin is Bi2. 

Let's see a similar character 从 (Follow, Post 73)


which is formed by two 人(Person, or People, Post 37), facing to left.


The character Compete (比) is formed by two People, but just forcing to right.

It is not clear why two people facing to left is Follow (从),  but facing right is Compete (比).


Monday, July 10, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (161) Voice - 声

The shell bone script for character Voice is


The left and top is a supporter, the middle right is a hhime stone, part of an ancient percussion instrument, the bottom part 口 is mouth. 



The above are chime stones.

The right top is a mallet, the bottom is a hand.

So the character is a picture, a person hits the chime stones with mallet to make music.


Which means Voice, or Sound.

The small seal script for character Voice is


the left top is similar, the right part is similar, but the bottom one is changed from 口 to 


the character Ear, which makes sense too. You either make voice with mouth, or hear voice with ear.

The clerical script for the character is
which is similar to the small seal script, just the side lines don't go very deep. 

The current standard printing script for traditional character is 


which is same or very similar to the clerical script.

The current standard printing script for simplified character is


which is just left top part, actually it is a supporter and a chime stone. The mallet and hand on the right top, and the ear at the bottom disappeared. The character is not very meaningful anymore, it is not a good simplification.

The Pinyin for this character is Sheng1.

I need to point out that the 聲 or 声 (Voice) is exchangible with 音 (Sound) in most of cases. People even put them together as a word 聲音 or 声音,which means Sound or Voice. 

There is a very subtle difference between them, but I don't want to discuss here. 


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Amazing Chinese Characters (160) Fly - 飛

The big seal script for character Fly is


which is a bird. Some people may ask why the bird means Fly not Bird?

Let's see the big seal script for character Bird


which is a side view of bird when we see a bird standing on a tree.



The character Fly is a bird opening its wings, which we can only see when a bird is flying.



A bird opening wings means Fly, if a bird no opening wings means Bird.

The small seasl script for Fly is


which is very similar to the big seal script one.

The clerical script for Fly is

which is similar to the older script, especially the right part two 飞, which like the bird wings. But the left bottom is not like a wing.

The current traditional standard script for traditional character Fly is


which is almost same as the clerical script.

The simplified counterpart is 


which is a wing of bird, or part of the traditional character of Fly. This simplified character is not as good as the traditional counterpart, but it is not bad because a wing is related to flying.

The pinyin of this character Fly is Fei1.