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Baoman

Character decomposition for 船?

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Baoman

It's widely known that in Bible times, they were eight people boarding the ark, namely Noah and his family, which makes the decomposition for the character 船 is very interesting (舟+八+口). However, I'm amazed to see that all dictionaries actually don't agree with this decomposition. I've learned that it is 舟++口, but some says 舟++口. When you look at it, it's easy to misstake 八 for 几. Is that what have happened through time? In that case, why and what happened? How can one find the original way of writing it?

I appreciate any comments on this subject

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Hofmann

Look.

The phonetic component, 㕣, is composed of 八 on top and 口 on the bottom. The 㕣 with 几 (table) is a vulgar variant, standard in the PRC. Another vulgar variant changed 八 to 儿 (legs), which is Taiwan's standard.

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Artem

Two questions:

1. Why would Chinese characters in any way relate to the bible?

2. Why is it a vulgar variant and not just a variant?

Edit: Either way at the time when it was 八, it didn't mean eight. 八 at that time also meant seperation. And in some case's a simplified component for 水. Now it's written as 几 or 儿.

The phonetic actually used to mean opening for water draining. In ancient text, sometimes used to mean ravine.

You can check on zhongwen.com

Edited by Artem

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roddy

See here. I particularly like post#6.

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Artem

omg I'm now a beliver of spaghetti monster....

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Lugubert

To emphasize Hoffmann's comment, looking at the origins of the phonetic part normally reveals nothing at all about the compund character.

Interpretations like in the OP will almost exclusively have originated on the websites of creationists. Some similar stuff is rather efficiently debunked in the last post on this and the following page, and at the link I presented in the thread that roddy just linked to.

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Baoman
1. Why would Chinese characters in any way relate to the bible?

Not to go off topic or too deep into this discussion since it's a sensitive subject to some, even when just using the Bible's (accurate! :wink:) historical record. But I'd like to answer that question.

Well, imagine that IF the world actually had a catastrophic global flood, wouldn't this fact have been passed on from the survivors to their children, and their children's children? It's interesting to see that hundreds of legends about a flood exists throughout six continents and the islands of the sea.

For example, the Bible talks about a destruction by water, divine cause (of it), warning was given before it happened, humans were spared, animals too were spared and that the survivors were preserved in a vessel. The legends too have these things in them. One of these other legends comes from China - Lolo who talks about all these things but that warning was given.

The fact that all these different legends exists and are so widely spread, of course, doesn't prove a global flood, and neither does the etymology of the character 船. But It sure makes me think!

As for your second question, I hope someone can answer that. I'd like to know that too.

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Hofmann
2. Why is it a vulgar variant and not just a variant?

"Vulgar (俗寫)" to contrast it with "orthodox (正寫)." The Chinese version of the Wikipedia article writes more about it.

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chalimac

Baoman,

You remind me of the jesuists that first came to China and saw signs of revelation everywhere in the characters. They thought 來 showed the cross and the coming of Christ. Giles poked fun at them in his Columbia lecture. He also comments on this exact example which I quote below.Don't mix faith and etymology.

Even the early Jesuit Fathers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to whom we owe so much for pioneer work in the domain of Sinology, were not without occasional lapses of the kind, due no doubt to a laudable if excessive zeal. Finding the character 船, which is the common word for "a ship," as indicated by 舟, the earlier picture-character for "boat" seen on the left-hand side, one ingenious Father proceeded to analyse it as follows:— [34]

舟 "ship," 八 "eight," 口 "mouth" = eight mouths on a ship—"the Ark."

But the right-hand portion is merely the phonetic of the character.

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/18021/18021-h/18021-h.htm

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Artem

I see, but I'm not sure vulgar would be quite the best word to use.

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Lugubert
I see, but I'm not sure vulgar would be quite the best word to use.

Eymologically, it is. Vulgar = folksy.

If there was a global flood, why is it that flood myths only exist in regions close to water, and not in inland cultures?

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Baoman

Chalimac,

Thanks for sharing your oppinion on this matter. I agree that one shouldn't be naive when it comes to these things. Faith doesn't come from man's discoveries or ideas, but from studying the Bible itself. I'm just fascinated with the similarities.

Anyway, thanks for the research.

Btw, how can I be sure that 㕣 (yǎn) is the phonetic of 船, and not just + 八 + 口, or + 㕣? Usually a phonetic sounds like the character, or at least it should exist in another character pronounced something similar to chuán, am I right?

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Artem

I stand corrected, I guess. I thought Vulgar = folksy only when it's describing a spoken language.

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gato
Btw, how can I be sure that 㕣 (yǎn) is the phonetic of 船, and not just + 八 + 口, or + 㕣? Usually a phonetic sounds like the character, or at least it should exist in another character pronounced something similar to chuán, am I right?

Cantonese is closer to the classical pronunciation of Chinese characters than is Mandarin, which is why people claim that classical poems rhyme better in Cantonese (or many other southern dialects).

If you compare the Cantonese pronunciation of the 船 and 㕣, you'll see that they are much closer:

http://www.chineseetymology.org/CharacterASP/CharacterEtymology.aspx?characterInput=%E8%88%B9&submitButton1=Etymology

船 = suen4

㕣 = yuen4

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chrix

I remember 2 or 3 years ago there was something in the news about this, an evangelical group believing that Chinese characters came directly from God or something. They were based in the Dallas area... anyone have the link?

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the.yangist

I hope for Christians' sake that they don't read up on this. Otherwise, they'll have to believe that bunnies (兔) are the cause of injustice (冤)! Is there any Bible story about the persecution of a rabbit-like figure on the population? I'm not a Bible expert, but I think not.

That's my take as a Chinese etymologist. My take as a logician (at which I am much better) is that the argument commits a weird combination of suppressed evidence fallacies and appeals to ignorance.

If you're a Bible geek, this stuff may be good for ease of memorization of characters, but I wouldn't take it past that.

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Baoman

What happened to the mood in here, guys? People really have something against the Bible although never ever studied it, even read it. If you're gonna make fun of peoples questions, then you shouldn't be hangin' around at forums.

I agree that people have made ridiculous theories on character's etomology. But just because people have made a lot of crappy comments doesn't mean that everything that comes out of a mouth is poop.

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renzhe

This topic has been discussed before, and comes up regularly.

It is generally accepted that this character is a semantic + phonetic compound, and that the right part is phonetic, and not "eight" + "mouth". This is also the most logical explanation.

People often discover hidden meanings and logic in Chinese characters, but this almost always comes from people who have done no formal studies on that topic.

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chrix

I don't want to start a flame war or something, so I'll hold back with my personal opinions on this matter and present the links I've found:

so it was in good ol' Texas, in Cedar Park, but they've taken the video offline:

http://www.wbschool.org/chinesecharacters.htm

They claimed that Chinese was the language of God.

Hanzismatter discussed them though: http://www.hanzismatter.com/2006/03/chinese-language-of-god.html

And even though that one seminary took its video down, the idea still lives on: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/485

Here they present three Christian character etymologies, one is 船, the other two are 園 and 塔, and it should be pretty obvious which biblical events these are referring to. And allow me to quote one particularly interesting paragraph from the above link:

It is obvious that these individuals had personal knowledge of the incident that confused and confounded human languages. These people were acutely aware of the Creation account, the temptation, and the fall of man. For creationists, it is easy to understand why these Genesis depictions have been found recorded, and are still in use, in Chinese character-writing. For evolutionists, such distinctive depictions pointing back to the Creation are like a bomb detonating at the very foundation of their beloved theory.

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jbradfor
Is there any Bible story about the persecution of a rabbit-like figure on the population?

I believe you are thinking of Monty Python's Holy Grail :mrgreen:

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