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Random Character of the Day


Tomsima
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zhi4 insect, worm (derog.) 

 

I recall this being used in 獬豸 but much more common is its use in 虫豸. It always amuses me a little as it just looks like a character that someone forgot to finish writing, neglected being given a full form like 犬 for 犭

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

 

I decided to pick up my old copy of 呐喊 that I confess I have never read cover to cover, and as Publius and others had reminded me it is filled with good little short stories. I'm reading through 阿Q at the moment and this character jumped out at me, as it turned up in the phrase 黑魆魆. I read it as 黑黢黢, which is what I'm used to hearing, but it turns out it is xū (not qū) for this character. Makes me wonder if this is common in other regions of China today, or if this is an era thing? I've only ever heard 黑黢黢的  

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I don't know. I'm used to neither and I always thought 黢 was xū until one day I looked it up. I'm more used to 黑乎乎的, or the more colorful 乌漆麻黑的.

 

BTW Lu Xun is a funny man. I found this when leafing through his 故事新编:

[飞车]离地五尺,就挂下几只篮子来,别人可不知道里面装的是什么,只听得上下在讲话:

  “古貌林!”

  “好杜有图!”

  “古鲁几哩……”

  “O.K!”

 

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I didn't get that at all and had to look it up - for those interested:

 

古貌林 "good morning"

好杜有图 "how do you do"

古魯几哩 "blah blah blah" (or some other incomprehensible garble from what I can tell)

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  • 3 weeks later...

 

A rather inconspicuous character, it is in fact a relatively new addition: purportedly invented in Japan as an appropriate translation for the English concept of 'stoneware', today it continues to be used exclusively in the word 炻器 (the compound for 'stoneware')

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  • 3 weeks later...

xiǎn 

appears in 兵燹, 'ravages of war'. Two pigs above a flame...thought it was quite interesting as it looks quite similar to 焚, seems like these are the only two 'double character on a 火', got me wondering if they are related in any way...

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On 1/19/2022 at 2:08 AM, Tomsima said:

seems like these are the only two

Ha, that's a challenge. Grepping through the IDS-List from Babelstone   I found the following:

 

U+2C2DD ⿱㣈火 = 𬋝
U+24496 ⿱㯥火 = 𤒖
U+7138  ⿱昍火 = 焸
U+2428F ⿱朋火 = 𤊏
U+711A  ⿱林火 = 焚
U+243E1 ⿱棘火 = 𤏡
U+708E  ⿱火火 = 炎
U+2C2C7 ⿱聑火 = 𬋇
U+71DB  ⿱臦火 = 燛
U+30798 ⿱行火 = 𰞘
U+71F9  ⿱豩火 = 燹
U+2C2D1 ⿱賏火 = 𬋑
U+3E08  ⿱雔火 = 㸈
U+715B  ⿱䀠火 = 煛
U+2C2BB ⿱㿟火 = 𬊻

U+3079E ⿱𢑑火 = 𰞞

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  • 1 month later...

shān

appeared in 苫块:

 

苫塊 "to observe parent's mourning by sleeping on grass mat on ground (苫) and using clod (塊) as pillow - be in mourning" (林语堂)

 

Caught my eye, as I skimmed over it quickly, reading '苦块‘, then quickly backtracking and sitting there wondering what was going on, before realising it was a different character

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  • 3 weeks later...

guan1 

 

widower, wifeless

 

Used in 鳏夫, 'single man, bachelor, widower (male)'. Thought it was quite telling from a 'social-commentary' point of view that I learned the word 寡妇 about a decade ago, yet don't recall having ever seen this word before. It did turn up in a relatively banal Ming drama, so I can't imagine it being a 冷僻字 by any stretch of the imagination, but still, interesting.

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  • 4 months later...

 

For those interested, the 乂 or shape similar to X (eg. 又 in this instance) was often used in vulgar simplification (presumably not just to save time but in some instances because the writer may not have been able to remember an 'orthodox' component). This has carried over into many modern simplified characters, eg. 雙 represented by XX (双) 趙 as 走X. It's good to know what the 乂 is doing, as it's neither semantic nor phonetic, but simply a placeholder in these kind of characters. This does not mean 乂 is always a placeholder: eg. 爻 yao (see 八卦), 學,樊 or similar characters have a connection to 五 (and, by extension, numbers/calculating) as a component, which itself was originally written 乂. 乂 today is perhaps most prominent in its use in 注音符号 to represent the 'w/u' of pinyin (in connection to its phonetic value in 五,吾,伍 etc.)

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

“指新加坡"

 

As somebody with no connections to Singapore, it appears to have passed me by that this single character can be used to refer to Singapore in a similar way to how 沪 can refer to Shanghai or 鄂 to Hubei etc. According to the dictionaries, it is used in 叻埠 for 'Singapore' among overseas Chinese communities.

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