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Tomsima

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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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