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jbradfor

Why was 註 simplified to 注?

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jbradfor

[i would have thought this was a FAQ, but I searched to the best of my ability and couldn't find anything...]

What was the speech radical (言) changed to the water radical (水)? Are there other characters that did the same?

[As an aside, MDBG has two entries for 注, one with traditional 注 and the other with traditional 註 : http://de.mdbg.net/chindict/chindict.php?page=worddictbasic&wdqb=%E6%B3%A8&wdrst=1&wdeac=1 . Is this an error?]

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roddy

It's not really an error. There were two separate traditional characters, 注 (pour) and 註 (note), which were combined into the single simplified character, 注.

I guess the thinking must have been 'well, we've got a character that looks pretty like (讠主). And we're meant to be simplifying . . . so . . .'

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chrix

well, there's two entries because originally they're two different characters? This one of the cases where two traditional characters were merged into one, according to the rebus principle. Usually a rare character is discarded and assigned to a more frequently used character whose pronunciation is the same/similar. I can't seem to get ahold of a list online. In Japan they did that a lot too.

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chrix

found a list for Japanese, from Wikipedia. This is one of the reasons why I get confused sometimes, when Japanese has substituted a character that's pronounced the same way in Japanese, but not in Mandarin, creating some serious mismatches. In Japan they did away with 註 too.

On 5 July 1956, the Japanese Language Council announced a list of substitute characters for words that contained characters not on the official list in an effort to ease the implementation of tōyō kanji. This use of alternative, common kanji in place of rarer ones was called kakikae (書きかえ ?).

Different spellings for words were unified using characters from the tōyō kanji list. The list below shows some examples, with the non-tōyō kanji placed in brackets.

注文 (註文) chūmon (order, request)

遺跡 (遺蹟) iseki (historic ruins)

更生 (甦生) kōsei (rebirth, originally read sosei, and may be written as 蘇生 to reflect the original reading)

知恵 (智慧) chie (wisdom)

略奪 (掠奪) ryakudatsu (pillage, plunder)

妨害 (妨碍, 妨礙) bōgai (jamming, interference)

意向 (意嚮) ikō (intention, idea)

講和 (媾和) kōwa (reconciliation, peace)

格闘 (挌闘) kakutō (fighting)

書簡 (書翰) shokan (letter, epistle)

Jargon and other specialized words that could be written in more than one way were generally written using characters from the list.

骨格 (骨骼) kokkaku (skeletal structure)

奇形 (畸形) kikei (birth defect)

Other words that used kanji that were not included in the list were given phonetic substitutes.

防御 (防禦) bōgyo (defence)

扇動 (煽動) sendō (abet, agitate)

英知 (叡智) eichi (wisdom)

混交 (混淆) konkō (mix together)

激高 (激昂) gekikō (excited, enraged)

The Japanese wikipedia has an entire article on kakikae, with more examples and more detailed explanations. Now if we knew the Mandarin term for it, we might even find a similar list for the Chinese character reform...

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Kobo-Daishi

Dear jbradfor,

I guess you don't have a "traditional character" dictionary or access to one.

One of the definitions for the character 注 in my copy of the Far East Chinese-English Dictionary is "same as 註-to annotate"

See the revised Guoyu Cidian web site put out by the Republic of China (Taiwan)'s Ministry of Education:

revised Guoyu Cidian

In case you aren't able to access Taiwan-based sites from the People's Republic:

rjgym8.jpg

Since the character 注 already also meant 註 it was felt there was no need to keep both of them.

Kobo-Daishi, PLLA.

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chrix

Kobo-Daishi,

sorry to be pedantic here, but 注 does not also mean 註, but rather they overlap in some of their meanings. They don't overlap in the meaning "to register (登記)", 註冊 cannot be written 注冊. However the entire situation is quite confusing, because presumably in 註銷 "to cancel" it has the same meaning, but nevertheless the dictionaries allow also 注銷. FWIW, my IME only gives me the variant 註 :mrgreen:

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jbradfor

Thanks to all that responded.

IMHO I think Kobo-Daishi might have the correct answer. I too have the Far East Chinese-English English-Chinese Dictionary (4th edition, from 1988 ), and it does give one meaning of 注 as "same as 註-to annotate". So I'm wondering if these two characters have been somewhat interchangeable or commonly mixed up, so they figured since 註 and 注 are mixed up, why not just combine the two?

I guess you don't have a "traditional character" dictionary or access to one.

Well, I do -- but it's a PAPER dictionary. Waaaaaay too much trouble to use compared to on-line dictionaries....

Edited by jbradfor

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Kobo-Daishi

Dear all,

Entry from the Zhongwen Da Cidian (a Republic of China (Taiwan) dictionary):

http://i40.tinypic.com/2zeezoj.jpg

Two entries from a literary Chinese dictionary by a Chinese linguist named Wang Li:

http://i39.tinypic.com/119b191.jpg

http://i42.tinypic.com/rsd2xg.jpg

An entry from another literary Chinese dictionary (Note especially definition no. 8. Sorry about the poor quality of the scan. Got it off of the Internet so... But still beggars can't be choosers. :lol: ):

http://i43.tinypic.com/vovf3d.jpg

An entry from yet another literary Chinese dictionary (Have they coined a new simplified character here? :conf ):

http://i43.tinypic.com/2e3xu83.jpg

The character 註, which isn't even in Shuowen, came after the character 注. It was a variant for 注 in the meaning of "annotate" and "record". And it seems to have gained popularity in those meanings sometime from the Six Dynasties period on. I really don't get what is meant by "tongyuanzi" though. Not a linguist so don't know those linguistic terms. Especially ones in Chinese. :conf

I once saw a book at an online book shop that went through each "simplified" character, explaining the reasoning behind each one. I didn't note the title. It was quite a while back.

Most of the simplifications are variant forms that have been around for ages or are cursive forms used in handwriting. Or just the cursive form of a component part is used.

Sometimes the Japanese simply chose a different variant than the one the Chinese chose.

Kobo-Daishi, PLLA.

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chrix

Kobo-Daishi,

in this case though, the Japanese also did the same simplification as I noted in my post earlier.

Oh yes, there's no doubt that 註 came after 注. But as I have said elsewhere, we have to differentiate the history of characters from the history of words, since per the rebus principle words that sounded similar, or words that had a similar meaning were written with the same character, and later, radicals were USUALLY added to differentiate them. This has been an ongoing process since somebody came up with the idea of adding radicals.

It is entirely possible that the meaning of "annotate" developed from a word meaning "flow", but it can also be that there were simply two words that sounded the same, and they were written with the same character, and later it was tried to differentiate them, in this case not very consistently. We simply don't know in this case.

(See also: William Boltz, the The Origin and Early Development of the Chinese Writing System, 1994)

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