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Characters which lool like what they mean - true pictographs

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井 (well' date=' for drawing water);

丼 (the sound something, like a stone, makes when dropped into a well).


丼 is Chinese and is pronounced dǎn.

However' date=' as it represents a sound, can it be a true pictograph? What does a sound look like?

Similarly, two fires together do not look like flames to me nor do three fires look like cinders.


PS - found some more information here -

Quoted by skylee:





I do agree with the first and last lines of liuzhou's comments as well as skylee's citation.

As for the middle statements, the original selector/designer of this character apparently had a mischievous streak and gave a picture of the action (i.e., a concrete physical setting) associated with the sound: a bird's-eye view of, say, a stone dropping into a well. Wouldn't you agree, liuzhou, that a snapshot of this action suffices to capture the essence of the character「丼」, whether or not you are around to hear the splash?

As to the ancient character 「丼」, it was recorded already in the ShuoWen dictionary in the First Century in Han Dynasty (東漢 許慎「說文解字」), arguably the very first "encyclopedic dictionary" of the world, completed centuries before Diderot's work. There were multiple meanings for「丼」, one of which was "eight families sharing (and surrounding) one water well."

As to the last statement in liuzhou's comments, I think the doubling and tripling of a character is an intensifier of the effect of fire (火). One can therefore allow one's imagination run wild in order to picture the higher intensity and its effects. In the nearly one dozen wildfires that occurred over a few days in 2007 in Southern California under fierce Santa Ana winds (up to 70 miles per hour), the effect of 焱 (burning cinders from a fire) in "house hopping" in residential areas was horrendous and tragic, with loss of many lives and properties.

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