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li3wei1

texts (in Chinese) about individual characters

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li3wei1

Over the years I've accumulated a couple of books that I find useful and enjoyable. My favourite is 汉字详解. This comes in two 辑, each of which is 2 volumes. I've got 第二辑. Between them, the 4 volumes have articles on each of 1500 characters. The articles can discuss the evolution of the character itself, variant forms, different meanings and pronunciations, usage in classical texts, or whatever else the author finds interesting. I find them short, and if I skip over the classical stuff, not too difficult, and they help me remember the character, at least for a while. Published by New World Press, 2009. I've also go 水远山长 (汉字清幽的意境)(Peking University Press, 2013), which looks artier, covers fewer characters, and is harder to read), and 最美不过是汉字 (重庆出版社, 2013), which is, for me, halfway between the other two in difficulty.

My first question is, does anyone know of other similar books, or preferably, online material?

My second question is, does anyone know of anything similar, but about words rather than characters? For instance, how a word's meaning may have changed over the years, who first used it, whether it came from Japan or some other place through transliteration, and perhaps differences between that word and its synonyms (though I have a couple of reference books on 近义词使用区别, and they're pretty dry reading).

  • Good question! 1

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