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Christa

What does 文 actually mean?

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Christa

What does 文 actually mean? Text? Script? Literature? Culture? What is its most basic meaning that the many terms that use it ultimately draw their own meanings from?

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GregO

This is from Wictionary...although you cannot believe everything you read on the internet :-)

 

"Ideogram (指事): a man with a painted or tattooed chest – original form of 紋. In current form, tattoo has vanished, so simply an outline of a man (head, outstretched arms, legs, chest). Compare 大, which has no chest."

 

The suggestion is that the original meaning was "symbol" or a written expression - something like that. I don't know if this is true but is seems to make sense.

 

 

 

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Jim

Have read that in a broad sense it can be understood to have had the core meaning of 'pattern', see for example: https://revije.ff.uni-lj.si/as/article/view/2869; you can imagine for yourself how by extension it came to have meanings that have to be translated by that wider variety of English terms.

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Christa
4 hours ago, GregO said:

This is from Wictionary...although you cannot believe everything you read on the internet :-)

 

"Ideogram (指事): a man with a painted or tattooed chest – original form of 紋. In current form, tattoo has vanished, so simply an outline of a man (head, outstretched arms, legs, chest). Compare 大, which has no chest."

 

The suggestion is that the original meaning was "symbol" or a written expression - something like that. I don't know if this is true but is seems to make sense.

 

3 hours ago, Jim said:

Have read that in a broad sense it can be understood to have had the core meaning of 'pattern', see for example: https://revije.ff.uni-lj.si/as/article/view/2869; you can imagine for yourself how by extension it came to have meanings that have to be translated by that wider variety of English terms.

 

Wow, these are a more interesting set of meaning than I thought I'd hear. Thanks!

 

But then, how about today, what is the basic meaning of it now? Literature? Language?

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Hofmann

If by "basic" you mean most common, you can look for the most common meanings by looking at word frequency lists. Here's one. The most common words containing "文" are

  1. 文化, in which it means "culture"
  2. 文學, in which it means "literature"
  3. 文字, in which it means "glyph"
  4. 中文, in which it means "language"
  5. 文章, in which it means "text"

You should see that each of these meanings is related, and ultimately stems from the first meaning "body markings."

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Christa
On 19/03/2018 at 1:33 AM, Hofmann said:

If by "basic" you mean most common, you can look for the most common meanings by looking at word frequency lists. Here's one. The most common words containing "文" are

  1. 文化, in which it means "culture"
  2. 文學, in which it means "literature"
  3. 文字, in which it means "glyph"
  4. 中文, in which it means "language"
  5. 文章, in which it means "text"

You should see that each of these meanings is related, and ultimately stems from the first meaning "body markings."

 

Thanks, this is really interesting and links well to the body markings meanings. It's exactly what I wanted to know! :mrgreen:

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王麻子

文化, in which it means "culture"
文学, in which it means "literature"
文字, in which it means "glyph"
中文, in which it means "Chinese"
文章, in which it means " article"
文体, in which it means " article format"

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