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July 19, 2016 Since whether 门, 文 and 工 are radicals or not depends on the character in which they appear, they cannot immediately convey an idea to the mind.
July 12, 2016 If Wei-wei is right, 门, 文 and 工 cannot be the radicals in 们/men (plural), 蚊/wén (mosquito), 虹/hóng (rainbow), 红/hóng (red), 汞/gong (mercury).
July 5, 2016 Raised in China, writing in French, Wei-wei claims "all radicals immediately bring ideas to mind, without carrying any phonetics". Is she mistaken?
June 28, 2016 时/shí (time) simplifies 時, whose phonetics comes from 寺/sì (temple), itself a phonetic son of 寸/cùn (inch). In 时/shí, 寸 is its own grand-son.
June 7, 2016 After a complete phonetic sweep of the Pocket Oxford dictionary, 贝/bèi (money) seems phonetic in 贵/guì (costly) and 贯/guàn (pass through).
May 31, 2016 谆/zhūn (earnest) gets its sound from grand-father 子/zǐ (child), not from father 享/xiǎng (to enjoy), whose sounds is from (cf 亮/liàng (bright)).
May 24, 2016 In 春/chūn (spring) and 舂/chōng (grind), 𡗗/pěng (folded hands) captured related shapes but also added related sounds to its phonetic descent.
May 17, 2016 Dialectal 孬 (bad) is pronounced either huài or nāo. No phonetic link here. huài derives from 不 (not) as in 坏 and 怀, and nāo from 好/hǎo (good).
May 10, 2016 Karlgreen: 去/qù (to go) is a pictogram. Harbaugh: its phonetics comes from 厶/sī (private). Code consistency: the latter comes from 土/tǔ (earth).
May 3, 2016 Compare the consonant table by C3S versus Chinese phonology experts. They are similar but liquid l is assigned to palatals instead of dentals.
April 19, 2016 Isn't 羊 (sheep) also phonetic in 羔/gāo (agneau)? Just follow the gai/gao - zhao (着)/chai (差)/shan (善) - qiang (羟)/xian (鲜)/ yang phonetic path!
April 12, 2016 Why has 盖 become a simplified version of 蓋/gài (to cover)? Not for the meaning of 羊/yáng (sheep) nor its shape. It must be for its sound!
April 5, 2016 Phonetic in 款/kuǎn (item), 吹/chuī (to blow), 钦/qīn (to respect), is 欠/qiàn (to lack) phonetic in 次/cì (order) too? When to stop is an issue.
March 29, 2016 is to 臣 what 亻is to 人. Nor is self standing, but still phonetics in 监/jiān (to supervise), 临/lín (to overlook), 览/lǎn (to look at).
March 22, 2016 Despite Harbaugh, 雪/xuě (neige), 彗/huì (broomstick) are closer to 寻/xún (to seek) than 寸/cùn (inch). In sound, not sense, they come from 彐/jì.
March 15, 2016 数/shù (number) is phonetically closer to grandfather 女/nǚ (woman) than to father 娄/lóu (a name). Why not admit sound can skip a generation?
March 8, 2016 Is 歧/qí (fork) part of the zhi/ji/qi phonetic spread of 支/zhī (to support) or of the zhi/chi/qi spread of 止/zhǐ (to stop)? Why not say yes to both?
March 1, 2016 雨/yǔ (rain) is phonetic in 需/xū (to need) (Karlgren). Why not in 霎/shà (instant) and 雪/xuě (snow)? Let 而/ér (but) be phonetic in 儒/rú (scholar)!
February 23, 2016 If "no final consonant" is not similar to n as in 点/diǎn v. 贴/tiē, what about 车/jū (chariot) and 军/jūn (army), 析/xī (to split) and 昕/xīn (dawn)?
February 16, 2016 Similar initials (佥/qiān, 剑/jiàn, 脸/liǎn), vowels (说/shuō, 税/shuì,阅/yuè), finals (站/zhàn, 砧/zhēn, 点/diǎn, 贴/tiē), all can carry phonetic descent.
February 9, 2016 In 类/lèi (class) and 粦/lìn (phosphorus), the phonetic marker seems to be 米/mǐ (rice). In 娄/lóu (a name), it is more likely to be 女/nǚ (woman).
January 26, 2016 Abbreviated radicals seldom play a phonetic role. Yet, as刂/dāo is phonetic in 到/dào (to arrive), so 亻/rén must be in 仁/rén (benevolence).
January 19, 2016 While derivation works top down, links can be created bottom up by attraction. Let 西/xī (West) be phonetic in 栖/qī (perch) and 栗/lì (chestnut).
January 12, 2016 Allow 少/shǎo (few), phonetic in 省/xǐng (to self examine), to be so in 劣/liè (inferior) also, it can be so in 秒/miǎo (second). Tortuous? Why not?
January 5, 2016 Chinese characters are not random. Take 开/kāi (to open) as phonetic in 岍/qiān (a name), 笄/jī (hairpin), 并/bìng (to combine) to minimize entropy
December 29, 2015 Without any final ending, initial "r" is written "er" as in 尔/ěr (you). Hence 尔 is truly phonetic in 你/nǐ (you) as r is close to n.
December 22, 2015 Is 孚/fú (to hatch) phonetic in 乳/rǔ (breast)? 乚 is. Zh, 扎/zhā (to prick) and l, 礼/lǐ (rite) are closer to r than f. Harbaugh is wrong, Karlgren prudent.
December 15, 2015 Why not recognize 某/mǒu (a certain) as a phonetic child of 木/mù (wood)? Let us give phonetics the territory which it plainly deserves.
December 8, 2015 Why not make /lìng (to order) a child of 今/jīn (now)? Do not semantics and phonetics conspire? Yet why violate etymology for so little gain?
December 1, 2015 Can you guess that 桌/zhuō (table) is a phonetic grandson of 早/zǎo (morning) via son 卓/zhuó (brilliant)? 木 masks 十, a tricky combination!
Novembr 24, 2015 For Harbaugh, 朝/zhāo, cháo in 廟/miào was phonetic, not so for Karlgren. The latter is right: m is unlike zh/ch. In simplified 庙, 由/yóu is neutral.
Novembr 17, 2015 if 勺 is also taken as zhuó, 包/bāo, 勾/gōu, 匋/táo, 勺/sháo, 匊/jú, 句/jù give 勹/bāo (to envelop) a phonetic spread of 9.5. Why not?
Novembr 10, 2015 Reusing 击/jī (simplified 擊) in 陆/lù to simplify 陸 creates no semantic, weak phonetic links. Pending more adoptions, 击 looks like a bad parent.
November 3, 2015 Shape capture in simplification makes strange bed fellows: , a form of 小/xiǎo phonetic in 肖/xiào, now stands for 尚/shàng phonetic in 当/dāng.
October 27, 2015 Phonetic capture in simplification can be systematic, e.g. and , or in bits and pieces, as with 寸 in 讨/tǎo, 导/dǎo, 对/duì, 夺/duó, 过/guò.
October 20, 2015 Phonetic spread favors a connection between dentals over one between unaspirated initials. Shouldn't 妒/dù be a phonetic child of 女 via 奴/nú?
October 13, 2015 A marker can capture another shape, e.g. the 圭 in 封, neutralizing its role. But why not accept it can also capture a phonetic role, e.g. 王 in 望?
October 6, 2015 As markers to characters, so characters to words. Together two characters make a new meaning (心肝), a phrase (喜欢 or 难看) or a sound (摩托).
Septembr 29, 2015 Evolution messes up the logic of a language. Think of how English is spelt. Yet learn its hidden structure and find the language no longer foreign.
Septembr 22, 2015 Unless one knows a character, it is difficult to tell whether its markers are for sound or sense, whether simplification focused on shound or shape.
Septembr 15, 2015 Mostly simplified into 讠, 言 (speech) also lost territory to 文 (writing) in 这 and to 氵(water) in 注. Notes, speech flowing like water? How poetic!
Septembr 10, 2015 As Chinese pictograms go, an elephant 象 is but a pig 豕 with a trunk. Ignore scale: isn't mainland China but Taiwan without water around it?
September 1, 2015 Shapes may be slightly or grossly deformed. 算 sits in the middle. Stretched, 廾 looks like a 大 and 算/suàn like a , as in 簒/cuàn and 攥/zuàn.
August 25, 2015 Included in 门/mén's phonetic map, 闵/mǐn would double its phonetic spread; in 文/wén 's, it sharply decreases its spread by connecting 吝/lìn.
August 18, 2015 During simplification, and shortened self conquered much territory over phonetic neighbors 雚 (guan, quan), 黃 (han, nan) and 壴 (shu).
Aug 11, 2015 Q is phonetically close to L and T. /qiú is thio-, "with sulfur" (Greek: theion, Chinese: 硫/liú). What a tight-knit Greco-Chinese marriage!
August 4, 2015 To drop off one's skin, /tuì, clothes, /tuō, words, /shuō. To molt, to take off, to speak, buy one character, get two more for free!
July 28, 2015 Stroke sequences feed muscle memory. Trigger visual memory with marker maps, e.g. , 𢀖, . Their aural cues deliver sound information.
July 21, 2015 A Chinese character records a performance. Strokes dashed in seconds for calligraphy. For typography, markers made through millennia.
July 14, 2015 Complexity arises when multiple things take the same shape, e.g. 圭 is 土 on top of 土, but in 封 it is either 丰 or 之 combined with 土 (deformed).
July 7, 2015 Complexity arises when multiple shapes represent the same thing, e.g. 手, 扌, 又, 𠂇, the upper part of 肀 and 隶 all picture a human hand.
June 16, 2015 Confusions may arise when a shape is reused to represent a different one, e.g. (moon) for 肉 (flesh), (double earth) within 封 for 丰.
June 9, 2015 Compare i/n/m to 一/二/三, b/d to 司/后. Same principle, but now repetition and mirroring make sense. Managing (司) is what empresses (后) do.
June 2, 2015 When learning, go from simple and large (一个人) to complex and small (谢谢) . Starting with the latter promotes and denotes myopia.
May 26, 2015 For learning how to read, use a font which clearly differentiates between strokes. Compare with , 𤴓 with .
May 19, 2015 Give alphabet appeal to the 1100 markers recurring in Chinese characters, span them all from 24 families of 24 related shapes.
May 12, 2015 The power of an alphabet lies in its concision. Memorize 26 letters in some arbitrary order and you have a dictionary. Now try it with 1000 letters!
May 5, 2015 Similar shapes (午 v. 牛), sounds (公 v. 共) and sense (颈 v. 胫) stem confusion. Line up usual shape, sound, sense suspects for students.
April 28, 2015 Radical simplification forsakes all phonetic and semantic clues for the sake of making characters easier to the eye, like 盐 for 鹽.
April 21, 2015 After simplification刂 stands for 刀, for 臣, for 𠂤. Fewer strokes must be paid a closer look for telling differences.
April 14, 2015 Isn't it visually compelling to use spatial directions to order marker-derived characters: outside, left (听), top (号), right (加), bottom (告), inside (问)?
April 7, 2015 Sooner or later learning shapes lead to confusion, harmless ( v. ) or not (午 v. 牛)! Exorcize thru exercise, drills based on a table of shapes.
March 31, 2015 Shape (日,月), sense (明) and sound (萌) build characters in layers. Sound may combine with sense ( in 问). Layers focus sound (, , 露).
March 24, 2015 Historically 退 "to retreat" does not come from 辶 and . Yet why not turn confusion into logic and cast " ("to turn around") as semantic in 退?
March 17, 2015 Instead of thinking of as a radical, shouldn't we embrace it as a marker with a strong phonetic role"?
March 10, 2015 Instead of limiting to a phonetic role in 跟, 恳, 垦, 恨, 狠, shouldn't we add a semantic role built on "turning toward, over, against"?
March 3, 2015 Instead of radical 广, wouldn't it be better to derive 度, 庶 and 席 from marker (the whole household) combined with radicals 又, 灬 and 巾?
February 24, 2015 Chinese characters are traditionally divided into six categories. Here is a new take.
February 17, 2015 Going from traditional to simplified characters is better understood through phonetics.
February 10, 2015 The phonetics Chinese markers convey have shifted with time. Measuring this shift may give useful insights.
February 3, 2015 In the Pocket Oxford Chinese dictionary, 55% of sounds are represented by 5 shapes or less.
86% of recurrent phonetic markers spread over 3 sounds or less. Isn't it a memory saving trick or what?
January 27, 2015 The initial "h" belongs to three phonetic families. Account for it with this table, where spaces can be occupied by neighboring initials.
January 20, 2015 The initial "h" is similar to "x", (see , and 喊(hǎn)/感(gǎn) versus 咸(xián)/減(jiǎn))
January 13, 2015 The initial "h" is similar to "m", "n" and "l" (see , and 虎/虏/虐)
January 6, 2015 The initial "h" is similar to "g" and "k" (see , , )
December 22, 2014 Chinese words you already know
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