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Not So Simple

roddy

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A couple of uncommon characters for you today, although you never know when you might need them - and if you happen to have the chance to casually show off your knowledge to amazed friends sometime, all the better.

This one could be a little tricky to track down, but can anyone figure out what they might find if they were to lift up this manhole cover from inside the Forbidden City?

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And while we're at it, which character in the second photo might your teacher instruct you to correct?

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You can use the spoiler tags

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Dear all,

I looked at Unicode for the first one.

It has it as a variant for

THIS

Which means "letter". So mail is under the manhole?

Kobo-Daishi, PLLA.

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The first would be

fuses/信管

, yes? 伩 is a simplification of 信, I'm guessing from the second-round of simplifications. zdic said 曾作“信”的简化字,后不用.

And I know that

氿

was also a second-round simplification for

. I just can't imagine why the second round was so unpopular. :rolleyes:

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Two interesting ideas on the manhole, but I'll wager both wrong (not that I've lifted it up to check). Mind you, OneEye's has given me pause for thought, and I adore the idea of there being some kind of vacuum tube mail system down there as well.

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Mind you, OneEye's has given me pause for thought.

Don't think about it too much. Seems 信管 is the detonator type of fuse, not a fuse box type of fuse. Somehow I don't think the Forbidden City is rigged with explosives.

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Both are second round Simplified characters. Why so unpopular? I think the better question would be why the first round is so popular.

But I don't know why 信 would be on a manhole cover. Maybe another euphemism.

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Ok, time for some answers I think. 伩 was a simplified version of 信, proposed in Singapore in 1969 and China in 1977. Neither attempt took. There's a lot of reading here for anyone interested. It's quite cute the way 言 was swopped for 文 I think.

As for what's under there - I would expect to find the 信 of 电信 or 通信 - phone lines, maybe signaling lines near a railway (which this isn't).

Second, 氿 was again part of the failed 1977 second round of simplification. It's now non-official, but you still see it around.

I'm not sure if these characters were invented for the purposes of simplification, or existed beforehand.

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Why so unpopular? I think the better question would be why the first round is so popular.

I was going to go there, too, but figured it would open a whole other can of worms. Seems the first round was hastily and incompletely thrown together just to be able to say "we achieved it."

I'm not sure if these characters were invented for the purposes of simplification, or existed beforehand.

氿 definitely was around. But it's pronounced guǐ, not jiǔ. It means mountain spring." 古汉语常用字字典 says 『泉水从侧面流出』 and gives some references from 诗经 and some others, so it's been around quite a while. The fact that it's included in that dictionary suggests that it's a pretty common character, at least in Classical Chinese.

伩 I'm not so sure about. It doesn't have an entry in 康熙, so I'd be willing to bet that if it did exist, it was just as a shorthand variant or something.

There's a lot of reading here for anyone interested.

Very cool, thanks!

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Funny that 這 was simplified to 这 in the first round while 信 wasn't...

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