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Is the component in 尔 from 刀 or 勹?


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as well as the characters 次,象,解, etc.


Pleco is giving me mixed messages on this one. Says it's called "dao1" but from the component "勹". I also seem to remember Heisig referred to it as coming from 勹


I was sure it was from 勹 but now I've just seen somebody teach it online as being from 刀. It would help me out if someone could tell me for sure.



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Just read your articles and you clearly know your stuff! 


I'm developing an online course at the moment and I'm using aspects of the heisig method, giving every character component an associated image to easily make mnemonics. The general philosophy is, as long as you can think of an image that helps you remember vividly, then it doesn't really matter what that image is. However I'm also using real etymology of the characters to aid memorization (e.g. 不 meaning "root" - the part you really don't want), my attitude to which is summed up well in your article:




(From part 2): As far as character learning, knowing the comprehensive story is probably not very helpful, unless you are already a paleographer. However, a simplified, condensed version of that story that emphasizes the important nodes of a character’s evolution, explained in everyday language can be both helpful and interesting to some people.


You're right, looking at etymology won't help with everyone for every character, but it can still be a powerful learning tool.


In the situation of 你/尔, even though the component isn't meant to be 刀 or 勹, I'll still associate one of them with the component to make it easier tfor my students to remember characters at the beginner stage. However, I still think that learning the etymology of a character can make remembering characters easy and interesting, where appropriate.


Thanks for the great post. You have a new follower!

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The radical of 尔 is 小.  The top part is not a radical, it's just a short 撇 「丿」and a 橫鈎 「乛」.  As OneEye said above, 尔 was the caoshu 草書 and xingcao 行草 form of 爾.  It actually originated from the top part of 爾, and can be written as 尒 or 尓, both reflect better the origin of the character.  尔/尒/尓 were already used as simplified forms of 爾 more than two thousand years ago.


BTW 欠 is a radical by itself.

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