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蒙, 濛, and 矇, oh my!


jbradfor

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蒙 is second tone (méng​) in the common meaning of "to cover / ignorant / to suffer (misfortune) / to receive (a favor) / to cheat"

蒙 is third tone (měng​​) in the also common meaning of related to Mongolia / Mongol ethnic group.

That much I can handle.

The second meaning of 蒙 is also pronounced as second tone (méng​) in Taiwan, same as the first meaning. I like Taiwan's way more, having only one pronunciation, but since the mainland doesn't do that, I need to remember both.

蒙 as second tone (méng​) is the one used for surnames.

Still OK. Now things get even more complicated

蒙 is also the simplified form of 濛, which means "drizzle / mist". Fortunately, it is also pronounced as second tone (méng​).

蒙 is also the simplified form of 矇. 矇 itself also has two pronunciations, second tone (méng​) meaning "blind / dim sighted", and first tone (yes!) (mēng​) meaning "to deceive / to cheat / to hoodwink / to make a wild guess". From what I can tell (corrections anyone?), for this character the first tone (mēng​) is the more common one, and the second tone (méng​) is seen only/mostly in the word 矇矓. And as a surname.

Ouch, my head hurts.

MDBG also lists a first tone (mēng​) meaning for 蒙, meaning "(knocked) unconscious", but I don't see any words that use it, so I have to conclude it is obscure or an error, and I will ignore it. [Taiwan MOE dictionary confirms this, and has only a single pronunciation for 蒙.]

Speaking of errors, MDBG also lists the pronunciation of 蒙嘉慧's surname as third tone (Měng​​), even though the other entries only list a second tone pronunciation as a surname. Error? Or exception? How does one find out how people pronounce their name?

Phew.

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Oddly, nciku uses 矇 in some of its words and example sentences using simplified characters (see here). I don't know whether that's a mistake on nciku (and it wouldn't be the first), or whether 矇 is legitimately used in simplified script. Actually, before reading this post, I didn't realise 矇 had a simplified form.

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