A question from other forum

A question from other forum

Postby papabear » Mon May 30, 2011 4:04 pm

In one forum, the following issue was discussed.

Question -- Decomposing 虜 (from jbradfor)

Another one that stumped me. But, in retrospect, I must have just not really been paying attention.
I could pretty easily see the parts: 广匕田力 Several of which could be the radical.


It's not 广 on top.

In looking at it, this is somewhat of a confusing case. The pronunciation of the character (lu3) is quite close to the pronunciation of the radical (hu3), and dissimilar to the pronunciation of the "phonetic" part (nan2).

And the meaning really has nothing, as far as I can see, to do with a tiger.

In the simplified form, 虏, the phonetic part, 力, has a pronunciation (li4) closer to that of the character. Although, in my opinion, 力 is a much more meaningful radical for the character than 虍 is.

1. I think 男 is the radical. From 說文解字: 獲也從毌從力虍聲 (from Glenn)

2. Both 毌 and 力 are semantic components. 【六書正譌】生得者,則以索貫而拘之,故字从毌从力。俗从男,非。
And the Kangxi radical is 虍. (from Hofmann)

3. The 說文解字 entry I get from zdic is:

虜 獲也。从毌从力,虍聲。郎古切 文三

The 『說文解字注』 expands upon this:


So anyway, the signific elements are 毌 (貫) and 力. The phonetic element (and modern dictionary radical) is 虍. (from doezeedoats)

Are those answers above correct?
Last edited by papabear on Tue May 31, 2011 2:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A question from other forum

Postby Tienzen » Tue May 31, 2011 11:31 am

Those three answers are correct as the answer from 說 文 解 字 is correct in this case while 30% of 說 文 解 字 answers are not correct.

In this new etymology, the word 虜 has three roots,

1. 虍, the tiger's head. It symbolized about tiger.
2. 毌, the top root of word 貫, and it means "punching through and thread together".
3. 力, force

So, the static scene about this word 虜 is about something being tied up with force. So, 以 索 貫 而 拘 之 is the correct decoding.

Note, in the modern word form (printing), the word 虜 has the radical of 男 (man), and this is a mutation from the two roots 毌 and 力. This is a case that if someone does not know the mutation part of the Chinese system, he will have a difficult time to decode this word. Please see the mutation part of Chinese system at http://chineselanguageetymology.blogspo ... cters.html
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Re: A question from other forum

Postby papabear » Tue May 31, 2011 2:13 pm

If the meaning of the word 虜 was read out by others correctly without using this new Chinese etymology, what is the difference between their way and this new Gong’s etymology?
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Re: A question from other forum

Postby Tienzen » Tue May 31, 2011 7:44 pm

Excellent point, papabear.

Yet, there are some major, major differences.
1. Their answers are quoting from 說 文 解 字. That is, they do not have an answer of their own. In this case, 說 文 解 字 is correct, and they are correct.

a. 說 文 解 字 lists only 9,353 characters while there about 60,000 Chinese characters. The largest dictionary lists about 58,000 words, about 48,000 for the Kangsi dictionary. Then, for 48,647 (58,000 – 9353) characters, they will not be able to get answers from 說 文 解 字.

b. 說 文 解 字 was published around 140 a.d. (about 1871 years ago). Yet, in 1950s,
魯 迅 (lǔ xùn, the greatest Chinese linguist, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lu_Xun ) wrote, 漢 字 不 廢, 中 國 必 亡 (without abandoning Chinese character system, China will surely vanish).

錢 玄 同 (Qian_Xuantong, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qian_Xuantong ), one of the greatest Chinese philologist in 1930s, even promoted the replacement of Chinese with Esperanto.

In 1960s, Dr. F.S.C. Northrop (one of the greatest Sinologist in the recent time) wrote in his book "The Meeting of East and West -- an Inquiry Concerning World Understanding (The Macmillan Company, 1968 by Dr. F.S.C. Northrop)" with a verdict which has the following two points.
i. About the Chinese written language (Chinese words): Denotative and solitary -- no logical ordering or connection the one with the other.
ii. The consequence of such a language: No chance of any kind to formulate scientific, philosophical and theological objects.
Then, 胡 適 (Hu Shih, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hu_Shih ) and 林 語 堂 (Lin Yu Tang, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lin_Yu_Tang ) who were the two greatest Chinese philologists agreed with Dr. Northrop completely.

Why did 說 文 解 字 not enlighten those great scholars?

說 文 解 字 gave the etymology, word by word in an ad hoc manner, and it did not present the Chinese word system as an axiom system. By carrying the 說 文 解 字, one cannot decode a word which is not listed in it.

On the contrary, the Gong etymology will allow the students acquiring the ability to decode all newly meet words. For the word 虜, I did not use any saying from 說 文 解 字 but dissected it into its roots. From those roots, I read out its meaning.

This is one of the fundamental difference between the two, using the saying of 說 文 解 字 or the new axiomatic system of the Gong etymology.

2. 說 文 解 字 has many errors. Those errors cannot be pointed out by the 說 文 解 字 itself. For the Gong etymology, the system is an axiom system which is governed by a set of axiomatic laws. Any answer of 說 文 解 字 which violates those laws is wrong. Thus, there is a set of laws and criteria to check the validity of an etymology of any character. For anyone who carries 說 文 解 字 to provide etymology answers will be wrong 30% of time even when the word is listed in 說 文 解 字.

3. 說 文 解 字 is very difficult for common Chinese people (99.9999% of them). That is, no one in China nor in Taiwan learns Chinese words via 說 文 解 字 which is a material only for a handful “specialized” linguists. On the contrary, the Gong etymology can be learned by a first grader who knows not a single Chinese word at the beginning.

This is the key difference. One is a very difficult subject which can be studied only by some specialized experts, and the other (the Gong etymology) is a great pathway for young kids to learn the most difficult language in days (90 days as the world record thus far).

Please read the article “Proper prospective of this new Chinese etymology” at http://chineselanguageetymology.blogspo ... inese.html
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A question from other forum

Postby tibbotbaftexy » Fri Jun 03, 2011 2:53 pm

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Postby Latrypady » Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:14 pm

Chinese Language Forum is a very usable forum! Thank you!
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