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Mark Yong

方纔 vs.剛才

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Mark Yong

I was browsing through some entries in my copy of Mathews' Chinese-English Dictionary, and came across this character: 'cai2'. According to the entry, it is the full form for the character as used in the modern Mandarin 剛才, 才是, etc., and that is only a 假借 borrowed abbreviation for .

I counter-checked this with my copy of the 辭源 Ci Yuan dictionary. The entry defines as "僅也如言方纔". Edwin G. Pulleyblank's "Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar" (pg. 121) states that is the Classical Chinese equivalent of the modern Mandarin 剛才.

Questions:

  1. Based on the above, can someone confirm that the in 剛才 is the contracted form for ?
  2. Does it mean that the modern Mandarin 剛才 is a corrupted form of 方纔? The entry for the character in 康熙字典 does not define it as 僅也 or anything along the lines of "just now", so I am guessing that it was a usage peculiar to the Northern dialects (prior to the advent of modern Mandarin), and/or that it was a gradual corruption of the initial f- (as in ) to g- (as in ).

As you can see from my constant references to "modern Mandarin", I am a fervent supporter of 文言 wenyan! :D

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zhwj

Baxter says 方 is MC pjang, 刚 is MC kang.

刚刚 as 方才 is attested in Yuan Dynasty drama (see here)

Another dictionary cites a use of 刚 as 方才 in Tang poetry, and then there's Su Dongpo in the Song:

花影

苏轼

重重叠叠上瑶台,几度呼童扫不开。

刚被太阳收拾去,却教明月送将来。

But all of this probably tends more toward the colloquial usage of the day.

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shibo77

纔cái, adverb:

1. (of time) 刚才、刚刚

2. (of quantity, of degree) 只、仅仅

3. (of circumstance) 要、必须、只有、因为、由于、为了

4. (for emphases) 很、特别

5. (for assumptions) 一、但

纔cái's original definition was "方始、仅仅". For the above 5 definitions of the character "纔", "才" could replace "纔" as a 通假字. Eventually "才" was used much more than 纔 for the above definitions. The adverb "方才" is an emphasised replacement for the adverb "才", it has the same meaning as "刚" (both were used in Classical Chinese, not a sound change). The noun "刚才" is more recent, maybe a corruption of the noun "方才".

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mandel1luke

‘纔‘是‘才‘的异体字,通用于台湾。简体字简化为‘才‘

纔 is traditional variant for 才 when used as a grammatical particle

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Mark Yong

Hi, mandel1luke,

Interesting that is considered as the 異體字 for , since historically, is in simplified form - technically then, should be the 正體字 and should be the 簡體字 or 異體字. Going by this logic, it seems to suggest that in future, all the 繁體字 versions of characters will be considered as 異體字 :lol:

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mandel1luke

Hi. In the PRC, 簡體字 almost always select the simplier 異體 as the standardized form. In Taiwan they are very conservative about character form, to them it's not a matter of 繁不繁体, but 正不正体。

They call it 正體字, the correct form, not 繁体字. :lol:

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mandel1luke

方才 is not a corruption of 剛才, they are two different words with similar meaning and function.

‘方才’好像是江南(南京?)地区官话的词汇,‘刚才’是北方方言的词汇。由于北京官话后来较强势,‘方才’现在已经很少用了。

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