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忙 and 忘


jbradfor

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This is embarrassing. I just realized why, after so many years of studying Chinese, I still get 忙 and 忘 confused.

It's because they are the same character.

At least they are the same character to me: 心 radical and 亡 as the mnemonic. That makes them the same to my brain.

Now that I realize this I still won't be able to keep them separate, but at least I'll understand why I keep getting this hash collision.

Oddly enough, other characters with this property (e.g 景 vs 晾) doesn't confuse me at all. Maybe 晾 is rare enough and I managed to internalize 景 before I saw 晾. Neither does 裏 vs 裡; maybe because I think 裏 is a very awkward-looking character, too tall for its own good.

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I had not realized until now that Wàng and Màng were composed by the same parts. Amazing! This is something I love about Chinese language, you always get this kind of surprises along your learning.

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There are so many English words that I can't spell either correctly or confidently. I would be lost without my computer spell-checker. I have a smart-phone with Swype application. I just slide my finger over the touch-screen letters to enter a word. 99% of the time the system selects the correct word, it's really a great system.

skylee, I notice if you Swype 'f o u r t y' or 'f o r t y' the first result is still 'forty' :-)

I also use Sogou (搜狗输入法) software to enter Chinese characters, which, like Swype, really performs well at finding the correct word - despite my inability to know or to remember how to write Chinese or spell English words.

I was thinking about learning how to type on a keyboard but with these technologies, plus voice recognition, it can't be long before writing and keyboards will be something to see in a museum.

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HOW ABOUT THIS:

忘(with heart under death) - if your heart is already dead, you FORGET(忘)

忙(with death next to heart) - If your heart is dying, you are just BUSY(忙)

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I recommend giving different names to the different forms of the heart radical. When you have the full heart as in 忘, think of it as "heart", but when you have the simplified left-side version as in 忙, think of it as "strong emotion".

So, 忘 is "perishing of the heart" which, since the Chinese used to think you thought (and apparently remembered) with the heart rather than the brain, makes perfect sense.

But 忙 is "strong emotion of perishing". Apparently being busy is an emotional state.. who knew?

Anyway, the stories are kinda lame, but the point is that if you make a distinction betweent the different varients of the heart component, then they will NOT be the "same character" anylonger!

Cheers. Keep up the character mini-posts, I enjoy them!

-Chris

[btw I totally ripped this stuff from Hesig's RTK :)].

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