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Tomsima

zhi4. It means 'pig', and appeared innocently enough as the childhood name of 漢武帝, but you do not want to read the horrible description of the torture this character later became associated with (人彘). If you watch historical dramas you might have come across this before - I remember it from 鹿鼎記 and 甄嬛傳.

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Tomsima

nie4, meaning 'to gnaw' and interestingly also 'stench of urine' in Cantonese. Appeared in the word 齧齒動物, 'glires' (specifically rodents in the context I was reading). This is one of those occasions where I have to admit the simplified wins on the writing front, 齧齒 being written 啮齿, much easier!

 

However in 齧  the phonetic at the top is an interesting one, which appears to also carry semantic value. Kroll approximates the Middle Chinese pronounciation as 'nget', which rings true with other similarly pronounced words featuring this phonetic (絜、契、挈), but in 契 it has the meaning of 'cutting' or 'inscribing on a surface' in addition to being a phonetic indicator. Conversely, in characters like 絜 the phonetic is a 秦 revision of an original 麻 at the top, so there is no semantic value here. In 齧 it would appear the meaning of 'incisor teeth' or 'biting and piercing with teeth' is meant to be indicated in addition to its 'nget'-related pronounciation.

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Tomsima

cun1, appears in the word 皴法, a technique in Chinese painting that uses strokes of differing thicknesses to add texture to irregular surfaces like tree branches. The character 皴 literally means ’chapped‘, but is effectively a special character for this specific term.

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7800
On 4/17/2020 at 10:49 AM, Tomsima said:

jia3

 

an earlier 商 name for a ritual wine vessel similar and perhaps later identical to 爵.

omg I saw SO many of those in the 中国国家博物馆. I must say that going there is like the ultimate Chinese proficiency test, even for natives lol. My Chinese friends would frequently rather read the English descriptions.

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Lu
6 hours ago, 7800 said:

I must say that going there is like the ultimate Chinese proficiency test, even for natives.

The Chinese desciptions often have pinyin in brackets after the more obscure characters. It's fun to see that those characters remain in use even though their use is so narrow.

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大块头

As someone who hasn't yet taken the time to learn traditional, these rare characters remind me of the zalgo text oc̳͈͋̉cas̪̈͢sioń̥aḻ̞ḽ̆y̦̞͗̚ ̑ s̸̪͓̫͗̿͂e̮e͝n ̌on̿ ̪ͧ͒Tw̰̉it̑͑t̸̘͚͉er̆.

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roddy
Quote

oc̳͈͋̉cas̪̈͢sionaḻ̞ḽ̆y̦̞͗̚ ̑ s̸̪͓̫͗̿͂e̮e͝n ̌oń̥ ̪ͧ͒Tw̰̉it̑͑t̸̘͚͉er̆.

Fixed a stroke order mistake for you there...

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If_IwasaLinguist

Aha, I found this interesting post. I would like to share my thoughts about it and also to propose a question for your English natives. 

 

These seemingly unfamiliar characters almost come from the ancient Chinese, as you may see their strokes are more than those of simplified Chinese characters. And also some posts have mentioned these characters appear in the materials somehow related to Chinese history and literarture, such as musuems or novels. However, in spite of their not often used, we natives may figure out their pronunciations or meanings according to their structure. For instance, in @roddy's link, the character 鸨 frequently appears in TV dramas and it refers to the female manager of a brothel. If you are familiar with another character 鸡, which in some dialects refers to a prostitute, you may find they both have a radical of 鸟. Therefore, when a Chinese native first encounter this character, s/he may figure out its meaning according to its radical. This supposition also applies to the pronunciation. 

 

Then, the above point leads to my question: How can an English user guess the pronunciation or meaning of a word s/he does not recognize. In my opinion, a word can be understood according to its affix, which is also its structure. For example, mono- means single while di-means double, and something like this. How about those words without obvious affixes? By the way, I am also interested in one novel named Finnegans Wake, written by James Joyce. In this book, the author created plenty of linguistic magics for translators, such as a created 100-lettered word describing the sound of thunder. If you read it, how can the reading experience be smoothy and fluent? I am just curious, lol. 

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Tomsima

quite enjoyed the connection between 鴇 and 雞 there, the old bustard in charge of the chicks

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Tomsima

 

Spoiler

kun3 'palace corridor', yes I came across this word in one of those 'oh you thought you knew all the characters' challenge that Chinese friends seem to love so much. No it isnt 壺, yes I did fail the test and think it was 壺...but now I know and am ready to disappoint people the next time I'm tested and get it right

 

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Tomsima

 

an interesting character to come across, as its pronounciation appears to be somewhat disputed. It is clearly noted in a few dictionaries that as a verb it is 'xun1', to fumigate for flavour (exclusively when describing the process for making some tea leaves - in the context i bumped into it, it was for jasmine tea - otherwise the character used would be 熏), as a noun it is pronounced 'yin4', meaning a basement or cellar for storage.

 

That being said, in the tea industry the character appears to also be pronounced 'yin4' when used as a verb, so 窨制 is pronounced 'yin4zhi4'. This is apparently because in the Fujian dialect where the process is used widely, the character is pronounced something like 'ying', and has influenced the common usage of the verb in Mandarin.

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Michaelyus
On 9/7/2020 at 12:29 PM, Tomsima said:

This is apparently because in the Fujian dialect where the process is used widely, the character is pronounced something like 'ying', and has influenced the common usage of the verb in Mandarin.

 

It's interesting to trace what the proposed etymology of this 'original verb' is (I see this info was added to Wiktionary's entry on 熏 in early 2017). I've always pronounced it xūn, but I can see both xūn and yìn in use in the media now; and there's a little segment on the pronunciation of this character in this context. 

 

The answer for the explanation of yìn in 窨茶 that's floating around the Internet invoking needs some unpicking. 

 

窨 in its 'canonical' meaning of "cellar" is áng /ɑŋ²¹³/ in Fuzhounese, corresponding with yìn in Mandarin and yam3 in Cantonese. I haven't been able to find any readings for this character in Hokkien, although I believe it would be regular from Middle Chinese and share a pronunciation with 蔭, i.e. ìm

 

  • 熏 is hun in Hokkien and hŏng /houŋ⁵⁵/ in Fuzhounese, corresponding with xūn in Mandarin and fan1 in Cantonese. 
  • 薰 is hun in Hokkien and hṳ̆ng /hyŋ⁵⁵/ in literary Fuzhounese. There is also the colloquial pronunciation hŏng, which is the main way of referring to tobacco in the Min varieties (抽煙/吸煙 is usually referred to as 食薰 colloquially).
  • What apparently really raises the hackles of one seventh-generation jasmine tea "掌門人"翁文峰先生 is others confusing the process of 熏染 (a 浅 method), 酵變 (a 深 method) [characteristic of 普洱茶 for example] and 窨(yìn)制 (不深不淺, also 最難把握).
  • 印 is ìn in Hokkien and éng /ɛiŋ²¹³/ in Fuzhounese, regularly becoming /iŋ**/ through rime tensing. 
  • Throwing another one in there: 煙 (Hokkien: ian, Fuzhounese: iĕng,  /ieŋ⁵⁵/) refers to smoke in general. But that doesn't tense to /iŋ**/.

 

 

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Tomsima

This is why I love chinese forums, fascinating

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Demonic_Duck

Here's a character most long-time learners will be familiar with already, but it deserves a post in celebration of finally being awarded its own Unicode codepoints earlier this year! 🎉🎉🎉

 

Biang
1024px-Bi%C3%A1ng_%28regular_script%29.svg.png

 

↑ Give it another couple of years for the font support, and these will hopefully no longer display as tofu!

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Shelley

Wow, I didn't realise there was a traditional and simplified version. I am assuming the one you shown is traditional. How many fewer stokes does the simplified version have?

 

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Geiko

58 in traditional vs 42 in simplified Chinese. Only the 长 and 马 components change:

 

1280px-Biang_(简体).svg.png

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Shelley

Interesting, the 言 is not simplified.

Thanks for all that.

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Demonic_Duck
32 minutes ago, Shelley said:

the 言 is not simplified

 

It only gets simplified to 讠 if it's squished up on the left. Consider 信 (which isn't simplified to ⿰亻讠).

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