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Chinese Language Forums - Chinese Etymology Institute • View topic - T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby pietymoon » Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:49 pm

"Cracking the chinese puzzles" by T.K.Ann and "Chinese characters" by Leon Wieger are wide known works and it would be interesting to know their value from the point of view of venerable mr.Tienzen. Thank you very much
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Re: T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby Tienzen » Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:56 pm

Thanks for the info. I did not read those two books myself. Thus, it is hard for me to provide a scholastic review or critique. However, I did search the Google and read some other persons’ comments on them. Seemingly, those two books are mnemonic types of books which can be useful short term but very harmful long term, by learning the wrong etymologies. Those comments did confirm that Ann admitted that his book is a mnemonic type book. My article on Heisig book provides a detailed analysis on this, and that article is available at http://chineselanguageetymology.blogspo ... rning.html .


The followings are the info I found from Google.

1. “Cracking the chinese puzzles” by T.K.Ann ,
http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php ... by-tk-ann/

Comments from:
a. realmayo --- “The author constantly gives interesting reasons for why a character is built the way it is. Some of the etymological explanations for characters seem pretty standard; others may be a bit tenuous but nevertheless help you remember them. In this respect, perhaps, it's a bit like a more grown-up Heisig book.”

b. realmayo --- “I've got a feeling that Ann does say that lots of his stuff is not necessarily correct, with respect to the historical development of a character. But I've not got my books with me right now so I can't check.”

c. Wushijiao --- “He does say that. But he also says, if memory serves me, that his speculation has been proven right be scholars. In any case, his stories make things easy to understand, in my opinion.”


2. “Chinese characters” by Leon Wieger,
http://books.google.com/books/about/Chi ... rkZvbqJQoC

The book’s own claim is “Chinese characters explained and visualized by various artists.” Then it is very much a mnemonic type book, often with wrong etymologies.

User Review --- “… Etymologists dispute some of the explanations but it is still relevant almost 100 years after it was last revised. It includes the older versions of characters from oracle bones and seal scripts along with the traditional characters, which are not shown in in such detail in dictionaries. As long as you don't try to use it as a dictionary, the etymological inaccuracies won't affect its value as a prime reference for older scripts.”


Before 2005, no one truly understood the Chinese etymology. Thus, those mnemonic type books were good learning tool. Now, the Chinese etymology is understood completely, and using those books is not only wasting learner’s time but poisons him to reach the true understanding in more advanced studies.
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Re: T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby pietymoon » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:29 am

Dear Mr. Tienzen, thank you for your answer
The Wieger's book has a full preview by google book link you gave just in case you would like to explore it more closely.
T.K.Ann's main point is that he gives about 1600 phonetic morphemes and lets you learn their derivative characters in these phonetic groups. Wieger gives only 850 phonetic groups and you only 300. Could you please tell besides wrong/right etymology what's the difference in the number of them and why 300 phonetics is enough for you while in most known books they start from 800? Thank you!
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Re: T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby Tienzen » Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:49 am

pietymoon wrote:The Wieger's book has a full preview by google book link you gave just in case you would like to explore it more closely.
T.K.Ann's main point is that he gives about 1600 phonetic morphemes and lets you learn their derivative characters in these phonetic groups. Wieger gives only 850 phonetic groups and you only 300. Could you please tell besides wrong/right etymology what's the difference in the number of them and why 300 phonetics is enough for you while in most known books they start from 800? Thank you!


Excellent point.

In the entire Chinese verbal system, there are "only" 250 four-tones and no more (4 X 250 = 1000). There must be some duplicates in Ann's 1600 morphemes. Without reading his book, I cannot critique it one way or the other.

The concept of "sound module" is different from phonetic morpheme which concerns only about the sounds. Sound module is a "radical" which carries phonetic morpheme(s) [note: one sound module can carry more than one morpheme] and plays a major role in word forms.

There are a "total" of about 500 sound modules. I listed only 300 of them which encompass 70% of the entire system. After student learned those 300, he should be able to discover the remaining ones himself. Please see the quote from this url http://www.chinese-word-roots.org/prl020.htm

"For the total 60,000 Chinese written words, there are only, at most, 250 four-tones, that is, there are only 1,000 tones (for all 60,000 Chinese written words) in the entire Chinese verbal universe. Thus, every tone is carrying an average of 60 words (from 20 to 100). That is, 60 words in average are having identical sound (pronunciation). This is one reason that Chinese verbal language is not a hard language to learn. Of course, it will cause some confusion for the beginners. In this lesson, the 300 sound modules encompass 175 four-tones which is 70% of the entire bandwidth (175/250 = 70%)."


In addition to the 300 sound modules, I did write out the entire framework of Chinese verbal universe in my blogs. One should starts out by reading the 六 書 at http://chineselanguageetymology.blogspo ... inese.html

Then, there are about 5 blogs on 形 聲

The last but not the least, "The way of marking the phonetic value of Chinese words" at
http://chineselanguageetymology.blogspo ... ue-of.html

I hope that those links are of some helps to you.


pietymoon wrote:The Wieger's book has a full preview by google book link you gave just in case you would like to explore it more closely.

Thanks for the info. I will read and then comment on it soon.
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Re: T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby mariaC » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:58 am

pietymoon wrote:"Cracking the chinese puzzles" by T.K.Ann ... are wide known works and it would be interesting to know their value from the point of view of venerable mr.Tienzen. Thank you very much


Can you show 5 to 10 examples of Ann’s work? Then, we can ask Tienzen to comment on them.
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Re: T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby pietymoon » Thu Oct 13, 2011 4:12 am

I bet for excuse for such a long absence as I was mostly absorbed reading Mr. Tienzen Gong's blog and pages from his book.

Concerning T.K.Ann's book "Cracking the Chinese Puzzles" there were discussions on several forums which could give an outline of his work even with some examples:

http://forum.koohii.com/viewtopic.php?pid=1853#p1853
Reply #9 - 2006 October 06, 10:41 am by Serge

http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php ... by-tk-ann/
the whole thread on the subject

http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php ... ntry102729
mesage by furyou_gaijin on this book

http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/fo ... 29147&PN=1
also the whole thread on this book with scans of 4 pages (on the second page of the discussion)

I think that an abridged version is almost as good as the full 5-volume set with only difference that there is no place for bisyllabic words which Mr. Gong in his system calls "word-phrases" and which are in abundance after almost every character in 5 volume set.

But here is no place for promoting the work of mr. T.K.Ann, it is just to answer on mariaC question.

For as I read mr. Tienzen Gong's passages my old questions disappear and new arise I would like to post them a bit later.

Thank you very much for your answers and patience.
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Re: T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby pietymoon » Thu Oct 13, 2011 4:37 am

In addition here is the critical review of T.K.Ann's book by John Defrancis
from Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 106, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1986):

Cracking the Chinese Puzzles. By T. K. ANN. 5 volumes. Pp. 3,572. Hong Kong: STOCKFLOWCSo,. , LTD. 1982. N.p.

These elegantly printed volumes are aimed at helping adult foreign students learn to read Chinese. To this end the author, a highly successful Hong Kong businessman whose publication is obviously a labor of love, teaches 5,888 different characters by an "integrated" approach in which characters with common components are taught as a group along with many words and phrases that can be formed from the characters presented. Very little is provided in the way of actual reading material.

This means that students are expected to memorize thousands of individual characters and additional thousands of combinations of characters before they can have much practice in actual reading. Such an approach presumes an almost computer-like memory. It might possibly work for illiterate adult native speakers of Chinese who already command the pronunciation and meaning of the items presented, together with the grammatical and cultural framework in which they occur. But the author, like many highly literate Chinese steeped in their own language and culture, overlooks the special needs of foreign students.

Most language teachers believe such students must be given adequate preparation in the other areas of language already commanded by native speakers before they can engage in extensive character study. They must also be helped to master individual characters and combinations of characters by encountering these in extensive written contexts, that is, by actual practice in reading.

In the course of the author's strenuous efforts to entertain as well as inform, he introduces many interesting and informative tidbits together with a number of useful tables. Of particular value is the last volume with its various appendices, including an extensive list of character components and the characters of which they form part, lists of characters used only in Hong Kong and Japan, and, most importantly, a list of 3,650 "frequently used characters" arranged by order of frequency as determined in a count of almost one and a half million characters of running text in four Hong Kong newspapers.

The five volumes contain a great deal of material which, while academically uneven, is often informative and stimulating. Unfortunately, the individual items scattered throughout the more than 3,000 pages are made difficult to find because of inadequate indexing, chief reliance being placed on the inefficient and frequently arbitrary four-corner system. A pinyin index, supplemented by a radical index, would greatly
facilitate access to the wealth of material so laboriously put together by the author.

JOHN DEFRANCIS
HONOLULU, HAWAII
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Re: T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby Tienzen » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:14 pm

pietymoon wrote:In addition here is the critical review of T.K.Ann's book by John Defrancis
from Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 106, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1986):


Thanks for the info.


John Defrancis wrote: Cracking the Chinese Puzzles. By T. K. ANN. 5 volumes. Pp. 3,572. Hong Kong: STOCKFLOWCSo,. , LTD. 1982. N.p. reviewed by JOHN DEFRANCIS

These elegantly printed volumes are aimed at helping adult foreign students learn to read Chinese. To this end the author, a highly successful Hong Kong businessman whose publication is obviously a labor of love, …


John did not view Ann’s work as a scholastic work.


John Defrancis wrote: … teaches 5,888 different characters by an "integrated" approach in which characters with common components are taught as a group along with many words and phrases that can be formed from the characters presented. Very little is provided in the way of actual reading material.


Kangsi dictionary (康 熙 字 典) groups all Chinese words with 214 leading radicals (部 首). In fact, almost all Chinese words have a head (首) and a body (體). By grouping the body together is not any different from grouping the head. For example, grouping 嘈 , 曹 , 槽 , 漕 , 糟 , 遭 will, of course, help students to learn those words easier in word forms. Yet, students will not be able to read out the meanings of those words if they do not know the etymology of the word 曹. If Ann knew the etymology of the word 曹, the meanings of those words can be readout directly, and John’s comment above will be different.

With Kangsi dictionary (with head grouping), we cannot readout the meaning of each word. With the body grouping, we cannot readout word’s meaning neither if we do not know the etymology system.


John Defrancis wrote: This means that students are expected to memorize thousands of individual characters and additional thousands of combinations of characters before they can have much practice in actual reading. Such an approach presumes an almost computer-like memory. It might possibly work for illiterate adult native speakers of Chinese who already command the pronunciation and meaning of the items presented, together with the grammatical and cultural framework in which they occur. But the author, like many highly literate Chinese steeped in their own language and culture, overlooks the special needs of foreign students.


This is not a positive comment. With Gong's new etymology, learning a system (220 word roots and 300 sound modules) will help students to learn all words. Obviously, Ann's work is not such a system and still needs a computer-like memory to do the job.


John Defrancis wrote: Most language teachers believe such students must be given adequate preparation in the other areas of language already commanded by native speakers before they can engage in extensive character study. They must also be helped to master individual characters and combinations of characters by encountering these in extensive written contexts, that is, by actual practice in reading.


This is the old paradigm but is correct in T. K. ANN’s case as his work is not about etymology.


John Defrancis wrote: In the course of the author's strenuous efforts to entertain as well as inform, he introduces many interesting and informative tidbits together with a number of useful tables. Of particular value is the last volume with its various appendices, including an extensive list of character components and the characters of which they form part, lists of characters used only in Hong Kong and Japan,


When those interesting and informative tidbits are not correct etymology, they will poison students’ mind and prevent them to get a true understand of Chinese language. This is very, very bad.


John Defrancis wrote: … and, most importantly, a list of 3,650 "frequently used characters" arranged by order of frequency as determined in a count of almost one and a half million characters of running text in four Hong Kong newspapers.


This will be extremely useful for the old school way but is a waste after the true Chinese etymology is now known.


John Defrancis wrote: The five volumes contain a great deal of material which, while academically uneven, is often informative and stimulating. Unfortunately, the individual items scattered throughout the more than 3,000 pages are made difficult to find because of inadequate indexing, chief reliance being placed on the inefficient and frequently arbitrary four-corner system. A pinyin index, supplemented by a radical index, would greatly facilitate access to the wealth of material so laboriously put together by the author.


Ann did not know that Chinese word system is an axiomatic system. He, of course, was unable to put those 3,000 pages into a system.



John Defrancis was a great (may be the greatest at his time) Sinologist. Yet, in the thread “Chinese character set is pseudoscience, 汉 字 是 伪 科 学!” (At post204.html#p204 ), it has showed that John knew no Chinese etymology. In his article “The Ideographic Myth” (at http://pinyin.info/readings/texts/ideographic_myth.html ), he wrote, 來 as "Pictograph of wheat". This one sentence shows that Defrancis had no clue of any kind about Chinese etymology. 來 is the “moving” scene of the wheat field, and thus its derived meaning is coming. 麥 is wheat; 麵 is wheat flour; 嗇 the warehouse, 牆 the wall, etc..

However, Defrancis’ ignorance on Chinese etymology was not his fault as no one at his time knew any better. The three articles below can help you to get an understanding on this point.

1. The proper perspective of this new Chinese etymology (at http://chineselanguageetymology.blogspo ... inese.html )

2. Chinese language in the eyes of some great Western Sinologists (at http://chineselanguageetymology.blogspo ... great.html )

3. The history of despising the Chinese character set (at http://chineselanguageetymology.blogspo ... acter.html )
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Re: T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby mariaC » Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:35 pm

Tienzen wrote:
pietymoon wrote:The Wieger's book has a full preview by google book link you gave just in case you would like to explore it more closely.

Thanks for the info. I will read and then comment on it soon.



Are you able to comment on it now?
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Re: T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby pietymoon » Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:51 pm

Dear Mr.Tienzen, thank you for your answer.

Tienzen wrote:By grouping the body together is not any different from grouping the head. For example, grouping 嘈 , 曹 , 槽 , 漕 , 糟 , 遭 will, of course, help students to learn those words easier in word forms. Yet, students will not be able to read out the meanings of those words if they do not know the etymology of the word 曹. If Ann knew the etymology of the word 曹, the meanings of those words can be readout directly, and John’s comment above will be different.


Here is the etymology of 曹 cao2 given by wiktionary:
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E6%9B%B9

Also I have found this character in the 5th volume of T.K.Ann using his 4-corners method. At the page 2722 he writes:

T.K.Ann wrote: 曹 cao2 - people of the same kind

This character has a long history. As early as in Bone-shell Script, it was written [bone-shell picture] to mean 'trough' for fermentation to manufacture wines. Later it received the addition of 木 mu4 and became 槽 cao2. At the time of Xiaozhuan, the [bone-shell picture] character was used to denote government official who was to carry out the job of judiciary, not only hearing from the plaintiff and defendant but also doing the talking. Hence the change to 曰 yue1 as the south component. The presence of two 東 dong1 'east' was to emphasize the location of his office which was always on the east side. Libianization caused it to change to its present form 曹. In those days, the plaintiff and defendant were called 兩曹 liang3cao2, later changed to 兩造 liang3zao4 of similar pronunciation. The sense 'people of the same kind' must have derived from such circumstances when the officials were tired of hearing cases.


As I don't know how to insert pictures and it takes time to find them of bone-shell script I just marked it in italic.
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Re: T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby pietymoon » Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:08 pm

Further he gives the derivatives with their bisyllabics which I omit here:


槽 cao2 - trough, groove, slot
漕 cao2 - water transport (especially of grain) (water trough in a metaphoric sence)
嘈 cao2 - noise, din (sound)
糟 zao1 - distillers' grains, be pickled with grains or in wine, rotten, poor, in a wretched (terrible) state, in a mess (grains in the wine manufacturing trough)
遭 zao1 - meet with (disaster, misfortune), suffer, round, time (the plaintiff and defendant are at a distance, but they will eventually meet)
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Re: T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby Tienzen » Fri Oct 14, 2011 9:51 am

mariaC wrote:
Tienzen wrote:
pietymoon wrote:The Wieger's book has a full preview by google book link you gave just in case you would like to explore it more closely.

Thanks for the info. I will read and then comment on it soon.



Are you able to comment on it now?


Léon Wieger’s book, “Chinese characters: their origin, etymology, history, classification and ... By Léon Wieger” is available at http://books.google.com/books?id=odrkZv ... &q&f=false

Basically, Wieger learned the old school way, that is, Chinese character is mainly pictographic. On page 9 of the book, for the word 君, it gives seven pairs of comparison between the old style and the modern form. All his interpretations are pictographic in nature, and it is wrong. I will quote only 3 pairs here.

Pair 1 (1, 8) --- The primitive form, Ku-wen. A cap with horse, to inspire awe. Two arms, the executive power. A mouth, the legislative power.

Pair 2 (2, 9) --- A mere graphic variety [of pair one]. The elements are the same, but their form is different.

Pair 5 (5, 12) --- The next writer, an ignoramus, thought he saw two hands, instead of the horns on the cap, and he invented the chi-txu 5. The hands figure the power, the mouth makes law; the ideais still the same, but the graphic elements are partially different.

The correct etymology of 君 is 尹 (officer) over 口 (mouth). 尹 is a hand + ) (flow). Using hand directing a flow is an officer, such as traffic police, central banker, dam controller, etc.. While an officer using the hand directing the flow, the one who uses mouth doing 尹’s work is 君, the king.

The key point of any system is its internal consistency. Thus, the symbol for hand should still be a hand in all words, such as,
聿 (handmade item), thus 筆 (pen), 律 (law), 津 (harbor), 畫 (drawing), etc..
雪 (snow), the rain which can be hold in hand.
慧 (wisdom), the richness from hand and heart.
丑 (twisted hand).
Thus, Wieger’s idea was wrong from the beginning. Of course, it was not his fault as no one knew any better at his time.

On page 23, it lists 224 primitives. It is an old list, and 70% of them are roots in my system. However, the lacking 30 % renders it impossible to read the meaning out from the word faces.

In etymological lesson 1 (page 26), it uses mainly the information from So-Wen (說 文), and the etymology in So-Wen is 70% correct. Thus, Wieger’s book is still valuable in this sense.
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Re: T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby Tienzen » Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:43 pm

pietymoon wrote:Here is the etymology of 曹 cao2 given by wiktionary:
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E6%9B%B9

Also I have found this character in the 5th volume of T.K.Ann using his 4-corners method. At the page 2722 he writes:

T.K.Ann wrote: 曹 cao2 - people of the same kind

This character has a long history. As early as in Bone-shell Script, it was written [bone-shell picture] to mean 'trough' for fermentation to manufacture wines. Later it received the addition of 木 mu4 and became 槽 cao2. At the time of Xiaozhuan, the [bone-shell picture] character was used to denote government official who was to carry out the job of judiciary, not only hearing from the plaintiff and defendant but also doing the talking. Hence the change to 曰 yue1 as the south component. The presence of two 東 dong1 'east' was to emphasize the location of his office which was always on the east side. Libianization caused it to change to its present form 曹. In those days, the plaintiff and defendant were called 兩曹 liang3cao2, later changed to 兩造 liang3zao4 of similar pronunciation. The sense 'people of the same kind' must have derived from such circumstances when the officials were tired of hearing cases.


You know a lot about Chinese characters. Congratulation! However, you are seemingly not a scientist. If you are a scientist, you will know right the way that wiktionary’s etymology is wrong.

First, we are talking about a system. For any axiomatic system, it consists of the followings.
1. A set of base members (in finite numbers, the less the better).

2. A set of rules for the interactions of those base members (in finite numbers, the less the better) .

3. A set which is derived from the two above, such as,
a. some laws,
b. some derived new members (in variety of composed forms).


For the entire physical universe, there are only 16 base members.
Image

From those 16 base members, there forms proton, neutron, etc., and then there are about 118 elements. Click the link to see the Periodic table (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Periodic_table.svg )

From these elements, here comes the entire universe.


For the entire number system in mathematics, there are only two base members (0, 1) and four operations (+, -, x, /). From them, it comes infinite numbers, integers, rational and irrational numbers.


Second, there is another very important concept in any system, the internal consistency. The essence of every member and every rule must stay the same throughout the whole system and will not change according to circumstances.


Third, yet, there is a very most important razor to cut out all nonsense in science, and it is called the Occam’s razor.
Occam's razor (or Ockham's razor) often expressed in Latin as the lex parsimoniae, translating to law of parsimony, law of economy or law of succinctness, is a principle that generally recommends, when faced with competing hypotheses that are equal in other respects, selecting the one that makes the fewest new assumptions.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor

That is, if theory A and theory B can both explain a fact C, then theory A is a crap (nonsense) if it is more complicated in explanation than theory B does. This Occam’s razor is not understood by most people who are not a scientist. It seemingly is almost not making any sense. But, it is the king-rule in science.

After knowing those three points above, we can construct a system for Chinese characters (if it is an axiomatic system) with the following steps.
Step one --- establish a “base member” set from every word which we encounter. For example, (東, 曰) are the base members for the word 曹. 來 is the base member for the words, 麥 , 麵 , 嗇, 牆 , etc.. So far, we have three members in our base member set (東, 曰, 來).

Step two --- establish a “derived member” set, and we have (曹, 麥 , 麵 , 嗇, 牆 ) thus far.

Step three --- establish some rules for the two steps above, that is, the way of interactions of those base members to get the derived members.

The following rules are common for most systems (physics, mathematics, etc.).
a. Direct composite --- Such as H2O (water) or 麵 = 麥 + 面.
b. Fusion --- Nuclear fusion (the hydrogen bomb) or 兼 = 秉 + 秉, 並 = 立 + 立, 我 = 手 + 戈, etc..
c. Deform transformation --- plastics or 立 =大 (man) over 一 (earth), 雨 = 天 (sky) over 水 (water), 光 = 火 (fire) over 儿 (child), etc..
d. Mutation --- Please read the article “The mutations of Chinese characters” at http://chineselanguageetymology.blogspo ... cters.html



With the understanding of above, we can now examine wiktionary’s etymology on the word 曹. It says, “東 + 東 + 曰 – the top 東 + 東 have merged, and resembles the unrelated 曲 with an extra 一 stroke.”
So, 曹 is composed of two base members with the rule of fusion, perhaps. Yet, it is a bit more than a direct fusion. It also has a significant “Omission operation”, that is, the bottom part of the word 木 was omitted for both. For the etymology, it says, “Hence the change to 曰 (yue1) as the south component. The presence of two 東 (dong1) 'east' was to emphasize the location of his office which was always on the east side. Libianization caused it to change to its present form 曹.” This East/South info is another additional twist. Thus, the wiktionary’s etymology requires three operations (fusion, omission and a twist).

My etymology for 曹 is 一 (united or a union) over 曲 (a curved basket) over 曰 (intelligent speaking). It is a “direct composite”, and its meaning also reads out directly. The (different) intelligent speaking (opinions) are placed in a curved basket, and those opinions are united (in unison). So, the etymological meaning for 曹 is the “consensus” from a group of jurors. The current usage for the word 曹 becomes jurors or colleague.

By using the Occam's razor, the wiktionary’s etymology is a crap for needing too many operations and twist. Yet, most importantly, its etymology cannot become a “general” rule which can be used for many words. If we can find 50 Chinese words using its procedure (two operations + a twist), then, we can reconsider its value again. Without becoming a general rule, it is just another ad hoc nonsense.

In my etymology for 曹, no special mumbo jumbo is needed, and the base members and rule used can be used in many, many other cases. This is what the system consistency means.

Now, we are setting an Occam's razor for Chinese etymology. With this Occam's razor, all those mumbo jumbo Chinese etymology craps can be cutout easily.
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Re: T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby pietymoon » Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:51 pm

Dear Mr. Tienzen, I had never doubt, that with wiktionary etymology might be something wrong as it is written by whoever wants. I am rather concerned about T.K.Ann's etymologies as so many people praise him here and there.
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Re: T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby pietymoon » Fri Oct 14, 2011 2:42 pm

So far we have several etymological metaphors for 曹:

1. curved busket as a place where different opinions are placed (Tienzen)
2. trough as a trial process during which opinions "fermenting" like wine (T.K.Ann)
3. two Easts melted as two opinions (T.K.Ann and wiktionary)

I still can't see why one of these metaphors is better or rather right than another,
except of third (two Easts), from further consideration of which
you have us graciously spared by means of Occam's razor.
Thank you.
Last edited by pietymoon on Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby pietymoon » Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:23 pm

moreover as we have seen at least three derivatives of 曹 cao2 have to do with troughs and fermenting:

槽 cao2 - trough, groove, slot
漕 cao2 - water transport (especially of grain) (water trough in a metaphoric sence)
糟 zao1 - distillers' grains, be pickled with grains or in wine, rotten, poor, in a wretched (terrible) state, in a mess (grains in the wine manufacturing trough)

which can be said rather in defence of mr. T.K.Ann version
whereas version of mr. Tienzen nevertheless delights us with its simplicity.
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Re: T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby pietymoon » Fri Oct 14, 2011 6:31 pm

here also the Bone-shell pictures for 曹:

http://www.chineseetymology.org/Charact ... =%E6%9B%B9

Image

and this of them is in T.K.Ann's book:

Image
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Re: T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby Tienzen » Fri Oct 14, 2011 9:19 pm

pietymoon wrote:here also the Bone-shell pictures for 曹:

http://www.chineseetymology.org/Charact ... =%E6%9B%B9

Image



You are making me a bad person now, forcing me to call many other great scholars’ works craps and nonsense. But if they are craps, what can I do?


The relationship between the current word forms and those old forms (oracle bone, seals, etc.) is not a direct evolution, and there was a “revolution”. Thus, using the old system to explain the new one is the same as describing the human evolution with the facts of Neanderthal, and this is exactly what the "old school" (including the chineseetymology.org) is all about. A detailed analysis on this is available at http://www.prebabel.info/pchina01.htm However, I am quoting the key passage of that article below.

article wrote:The evolution and the revolution:

The evolution of the old school theory is correct before the year 220 B.C.. Between 220 to 210 B.C., there was a revolution on Chinese character system. The revolution moves drastically away from the normal evolution.

Oracle Characters
--> Bronze Characters
--> Large seal characters
--> Small seal characters
--> Standardized small seal characters (around 220 B.C.), implemented by the Prime Minister Li ( 李 斯 ) of the Qin Empire.


The above evolution is correct.

Yet, there was another event happening at the same time of PM Li's work. Mr. Wang ( 王 次 仲 ), a hermit, invented an "entirely different" system of written characters. Emperor Qin Shi Huang read about this and was greatly impressed. The Emperor asked Mr. Wang to come out from his hermitage and to serve the government many, many times, but Wang declined all those invitations. Although the Emperor was very angry, he was unable to change Wang's mind. Mr. Chang ( 程 邈 ) was a high officer and a highly revered scholar in the Empire. Yet, Chang was in jail for some reasons at that moment. So, the Emperor gave Chang an assignment of refining and completing Wang's work. If Chang is successful, he will be pardoned and will return to his high office. With 10 long years (in jail), Chang worked day and night on Wang's system and finally "constructed" 3,000 new characters. The Emperor was extremely satisfied, and Chang was put back to a high position. Chang's system was, then, used as the written system for the governmental papers, and it spread very quickly to commoners. At that time, most of the servants who did the chores of copying governmental papers were drafted commoners or prisoners, and they were call Lii ( 隸 ). As Chang was also a prisoner once and as his system was used by Lii, this new system was named as Lii characters. Very, very soon, the Small Seal characters were no longer used as a communication tool, and it became an art, not a language any more.

Of course, nothing can be truly invented out of the blue. The Lii system, of course, used many Small seal characters or parts of those characters as roots. Yet, the two systems (old evolved system and Lii) are completely different. The old characters (from Oracle to Small Seal) are arbitrary vocabulary with every word as a standalone blob. The new system (Lii) is a root word based system.

Although these two events happened at the exact same time, around 220 B.C. to 210 B.C., there is, in fact, a break, a divide and a huge canyon between the two. Using the old system to explain the new one is the same as describing the human evolution with the facts of Neanderthal, and this is exactly what the "old school" is all about.

At the time of the First Emperor, there were three events happened about the same time, from 220 B.C. to 210 B.C..

Event 1: the standardization of the Small Seal set by the Prime Minister Li.
Event 2: the construction of the Lii character set (the Wang - Chang set).
Event 3: a few years after the debut of the Lii set, the Small Seal set went extinct, not a living language any more. It survives to today as an art, not as a living language.

The Emperor - Wang - Chang encounter was documented in detail in "History Record" ( 史 記 ) , written around 140 B.C., in the article "the First Emperor's Record" ( 秦 始 皇 正 紀 ).



It is now a consensus that Richard Sears’ website has nothing to do with etymology. Please read the thread asking-questions/what-is-chinese-etymology-t39.html
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Re: T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby pietymoon » Fri Oct 14, 2011 10:30 pm

Dear Mr. Tienzen

I strongly agree with you that Richard Sears' work has no merit as etymological work. I did not try to make him a paragon and only referenced to his website to show the Bone-shell picture for exactly the same was in T.K.Ann's book. T.K.Ann's etymology in it's turn (trough as a trial process during which opinions "fermenting" like wine) has some etymological value proved by derivatives of 曹 cao2 for many of them have connotation of trough and fermentation. This is the only point concerning this character I tried to underline. Maybe I am wrong so please correct me. Thank you.
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Re: T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby Tienzen » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:30 am

pietymoon wrote:T.K.Ann's etymology in it's turn (trough as a trial process during which opinions "fermenting" like wine) has some etymological value proved by derivatives of 曹 cao2 for many of them have connotation of trough and fermentation. This is the only point concerning this character I tried to underline. Maybe I am wrong so please correct me. Thank you.


You have hit the key button, the genetic analysis. For any axiomatic system (especially a root system with a genealogy structure), it can be analyzed with a genetic-like analysis. In system engineering, this is called reverse-engineering. Thus, this genetic-like analysis is a global principle, applicable in many disciplines. However, there are some special details on this genetic analysis.
1. Law of inheritance --- the descendants of a gene will inherit that gene. Thus, by analyzing the traits of the descendants, we can identify their common parental genes.

2. Law of expression --- a gene can have many different expressions. While the toenail cell and the brain cell carry the identical genes, they are two different expressions.

3. Law of high level expression --- a toenail cell can express a function of digging the ground while the brain cell can express a function of intelligence.

4. Law of expressed cell --- an expressed cell cannot return to its unexpressed state, a stem-cell. So, a toenail cell can never become a brain cell although it has the identical gene to the brain cell.


With the above understanding, we can analyze your argument about the word 曹.
a. 曹 is a composite (a cell), not a gene. Its genes are 東 and 曰 in Ann’s etymology.

b. 曹 has the expressions as trough or fermenting.


With the law of expression, 曹 can have different expressions, as trough or as fermenting. With the law of expressed cell, the trough 曹 and the fermenting 曹 is not interchangeable. Yet, both expressions do not fit with the cell 遭, that is, a third expression is needed.

I do not know how the genes of 東 and 曰 express as trough. However, I accept they do for the sake of analysis. Yet, how can they express as fermenting? Wait, we might have made a mistake. Fermenting is a high level expression, the expression of trough, not directly from 東 and 曰. Well, I accept this too, again for the sake of analysis. But, what kind of expression from 東 and 曰 to get descendants as 遭 or 嘈.



In Gong’s etymology of 曹, there are two clearly identified genes.
1. the consensus (meaning a unison or coming together, identified by 一 , as 合 而 為 一, combined into one)

2. a group (jurors, meaning colleagues, identified by 曲 and 曰, opinions are placed in a basket)


So, 槽 , a wooden trough gathering (coming together) a group together, such as 馬 槽, 水 槽, etc.,

漕 , a group coming together via water, such as 漕 運,

嘈, a group runs mouths together, could be very noisy,

糟, in wine making, a pile (group) of rice becomes wine after sitting together under some certain nature conditions (note: fermentation is an automatic process in nature under some conditions),

遭, people (more than one) meet (coming together) during travel.


In comparison,
a. The genetic expression in Gong’s etymology is direct; Ann’s is not.
b. The genetic expression in Gong’s etymology is consistent; Ann’s demands different expressions.
c. In word form, Ann’s needs to invoke two processes (fusion and omission) while Gong’s is a direct read.

It is kind of stupid by using so many twists just to make one word if Ann's etymology is correct, and our ancestors were not stupid.


Thus far, I have analyzed this case with three principles.
i. system consistency
ii. genetic analysis
iii. Occam’s razor.

These three are global principles, applicable in many (in fact, all) disciplines. A global principle is much more powerful than any local principle which applicable only in one discipline. Yet, most importantly, the Occam’s razor is the final judge, the king, the emperor. For two spider-men, Mr. A got to the top of a building with using only one hand while Mr. B used all two hands and two feet. Although both of them completed the job, Mr. B is the loser, cutout by the razor right the way. For two designs which perform the identical job (function), DA costs $100 while DB costs only $10. DA is cutout by the razor right the way as a crap. Perhaps, these two examples can make a non-scientist to understand the power of the Occam’s razor, being the final judge.


With Occam’s razor, which one is a crap is very clear now. However, if you still cannot accept the idea of Occam’s razor, I will go one step further by using some local principles.

In Chinese culture, there is some very special meaning for the numbers (1, 2, 3 and 4). Laotze said, “ 1 begets 2, 2 beget 3, 3 begets all). That is,
a. “1” is an identifier, identifying an entity, such as, 木 (tree), 口 (mouth or a person), 火(fire), 水 (water) etc.

b. “2” is intensifier, intensifying the quality of an item, such as, 林 (many trees), 炎 (big fire), etc.

c. “3” represents “perfection”, such as, 森 (forest), 淼 (flood), 品 (normal or standard), etc.

d. “4” represents “corruption”, such as, 囂 (rude), 葬 (bury, with 4 grass), etc.


This 3 to 4 transformation is one key concept in Chinese philosophy, after perfection comes corruption (物 極 必 反). With this understanding, Ann’s 曹 has two 東 as its roots (genes). Thus, this 東 gene is intensified which must over power the other gene 曰 (intelligent speaking). With an intensified 東 gene + 曰 (intelligent speaking) , it is very difficult to reach the final expression of 曹 without making a long and tortuous story, and it was what Ann did. After all, the 東’s expression is clearly defined. Without a great twist, 東 東 曰 cannot become 曹 (colleague). Of course, if 曹 is only an ad hoc symbol without any internal logic, then all the analyses above are meaningless. Otherwise, Ann’s etymology on 曹 is simply a crap.


Furthermore, we are talking about a system, not just one word. In this system, are there genes for trough and fermenting? For fermenting, there is a gene for it, the 酉; everything fermenting will carry this gene. There is also a gene for making a trough, the root for the words 凶 , 函 or 皿, or the root for the words 匝 or 匱. They both are containers; one has the opening on top, the other on the side. A word for trough can be easily using the radical 皿 as its base. Why abandoning the existing genes in favoring of making up something new? After all this something new did not become a new base (gene) for any other words. If this is not wrong, it is clearly stupid.
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Re: T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby pietymoon » Sun Oct 16, 2011 12:04 am

Dear Mr. Tienzen, I never expected to be defender of T.K.Ann for I am not such an adept of his method. I was rather interested in your system and it is just your arguments that forced me to get into the discussion while I still look at your both etymologies as equally beautiful for me. In fact the only difference between them I can discern is that you at the very beginning get rid of fermenting gene regarding it as derivative while he looks at it as one of the primary genes along with group/opinion. This given due to his explanation of the north figure as two plants-Easts melted and yours as a curved basket with unity at the top. So you use three different characters and he two identical and one different.


Tienzen wrote:I do not know how the genes of 東 and 曰 express as trough. However, I accept they do for the sake of analysis. Yet, how can they express as fermenting? Wait, we might have made a mistake. Fermenting is a high level expression, the expression of trough, not directly from 東 and 曰. Well, I accept this too, again for the sake of analysis. But, what kind of expression from 東 and 曰 to get descendants as 遭 or 嘈.

According to T.K.Ann the two 東 Easts in this case first represented two plants fermenting in square which first represented trough. And then given additional line that square mutated to 曰 "intelligent speaking" which allowed comparing this former square-trough and nowadays intelligent-speaking with trial process in which those two plants-Easts represent opinions mutating in such a trial just as they do in disputes, hence fermenting. It clarifies why this character can beget both characters with connotation of opinion/group and trough/fermenting. It seemed to me obvious.

thus 遭 zao1 - meet by chance - has connotation of opinions meeting
and 嘈 cao2 - bustling, tumultious, noisy - also has connotation of opinions producing noise when they meet.


Tienzen wrote:c. “3” represents “perfection”, such as, 森 (forest), 淼 (flood), 品 (normal or standard), etc.
d. “4” represents “corruption”, such as, 囂 (rude), 葬 (bury, with 4 grass), etc.

This 3 to 4 transformation is one key concept in Chinese philosophy, after perfection comes corruption (物 極 必 反). With this understanding, Ann’s 曹 has two 東 as its roots (genes). Thus, this 東 gene is intensified which must over power the other gene 曰 (intelligent speaking). With an intensified 東 gene + 曰 (intelligent speaking) , it is very difficult to reach the final expression of 曹 without making a long and tortuous story, and it was what Ann did. After all, the 東’s expression is clearly defined. Without a great twist, 東 東 曰 cannot become 曹 (colleague).

東 dong1 - east, host, landlord and also a plant before the sun
曹 two landlords in one opinion may be colleages without any twist

Double 東 gene is intensified but being melted also gives connotation of unity which rhymes with only one intelligent speaking and thus intensifies it at the same time.


Tienzen wrote:For fermenting, there is a gene for it, the 酉; everything fermenting will carry this gene. There is also a gene for making a trough, the root for the words 凶 , 函 or 皿, or the root for the words 匝 or 匱. They both are containers; one has the opening on top, the other on the side. A word for trough can be easily using the radical 皿 as its base. Why abandoning the existing genes in favoring of making up something new?

Who can prove if 曹 is younger than 酉, 凶, 函 or 皿 or on the contrary? I am afraid the question is rethorical.
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Re: T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby Tienzen » Sun Oct 16, 2011 10:49 am

Now, we are getting argumentative, and this will not get us to anywhere. However, your thread was very scholastic, and thus, I will answer some of your points the last time. This issue of Ann’s book will be settled for me.

1.
pietymoon wrote:… that you at the very beginning get rid of fermenting gene regarding it as derivative while he looks at it as one of the primary genes along with group/opinion.


I cannot get any connection from fermentation to “group/opinion”.

2.
pietymoon wrote:... According to T.K.Ann the two 東 Easts in this case first represented two plants fermenting in square which first represented trough.


I cannot get any connection for two 東 (East plants) to become two “plants fermenting”, and then these two fermenting plants become a trough. If Ann could do it, and if you believe his saying, it is fine with me.

In fact, 東 is not a root (gene), it is a cell (composite). That is, 東 is a gene carrier and can have expressions. There is a great big difference between a gene and its expressions. If this difference is not understood, all arguments are just wasting of the time.

東 is made of 日 (Sun) inserted into 木 (tree) and symbolizes the East. The Sun movement is identified with the following words. 旦 (morning) is 日 (Sun) over 一 (Earth, the horizon). 午 (noon) is the root 气 (chi) over 十 (ten, the perfection); when Sun’s chi at its zenith, it is noon. 昏 (Sunset) is 氏 (ready to fall) over 日. If you do not know that 氏 is the root for ready to fall (not fall yet), you can find its meaning via its descendants, 低 , 底, 抵, etc.. Now, 氏 stands alone representing a tribe. When Sun shines through the leaves of a tree in the morning, that direction is East.

Thus, 東 has nothing to do with plant although it carries the gene of 木 (tree), as some genes are not expressed (the so called dormant genes). 東’s etymological meaning is East, not thing else. Any other meanings are derived, such as 東 家 (owner of a business), 東 床 (son-in-law), 東 宮, etc.. In etymology, there is not a single case that 東 expresses as a plant. Only in 五 行 (five forces), 東 carries the 木 (plant) chi. Yijing gave a lot of inferences in Chinese etymology but not 五 行. Ann has stretched too far, starting from 東 (East, a direction) to 五 行 to plant to trough to fermenting, and then to a trial process and finally to opinion. Sorry, we must get the idea of group from “opinion” too. Indeed, excellent etymology. Anyone like it, keep it.

3.
pietymoon wrote:… first represented two plants fermenting in square which first represented trough. And then given additional line that square mutated to 曰 "intelligent speaking" which allowed comparing …


Jesus! 曰 "intelligent speaking" is a mutated square trough! I give up on this one.
曰 is something (one line in word form) in 口 (mouth), and this is the description of So-Wen (說 文) and Kangsi dictionary (康 熙 字 典). The following words have 曰 as a radical, 音, 書, 會, 曾, etc..

4.
pietymoon wrote:Who can prove if 曹 is younger than 酉, 凶, 函 or 皿 or on the contrary? I am afraid the question is rethorical.


曹 is a composite, and it will be younger than its genes, 東 (木, 日) and 曰 (口, –). The roots for container and fermentation are at the same level as (木, 日, 曰, 口, –).



一, 曲, 曰 are roots themselves, and their meanings and usage are consistent throughout the entire system.
一 has five meanings (this is a special case), as 天 (heaven), 地 (Earth), 人 (human) and as one (1) and union. So, 王 is the one who is able to unite the heaven, earth and man together. In general, 一 on top of a word means heaven, middle “man”, bottom “earth”, standalone as “1”. In general it is also on top when it represents “a union”.

When a root stands alone, it can mean a different thing, different from its root meaning. As a root, it will carry that genetic meaning throughout. So, 曲 ,as a standalone word, points out a curvedness. As a root, it is a curved basket, such as in the words, 豊, 農, 禮, 蛐, etc..

曹 is a direct composite of 一, 曲 and 曰 which are all roots. Why abandoning this directness in favoring a twisted pathway? With the 一, 曲 and 曰 etymology, the system consistency is preserved, as those roots are applied consistently throughout the entire system.

I do not against the idea of inventing new roots or new pathways. But if that invention is not applicable to the entire system but is a unique solution for a unique case, then it is bad if not wrong.

Your thread did some great good for this forum, and thank you. But, this Ann’s book issue is now settled. I am looking forward to more of your insights in different books.
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Re: T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby pietymoon » Sun Oct 16, 2011 6:35 pm

Ok, you almost convinced me, but leaving T.K.Ann along I still do not see how in your etymology
一 "unity", 曲 "curved basket" and 曰 "intelligent speaking" could together give us "trough" or "channel"?

It does not follow from any of their meanings or their composite.
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Re: T.K.Ann and Leon Wieger

Postby Tienzen » Sun Oct 16, 2011 7:23 pm

pietymoon wrote:Ok, you almost convinced me, but leaving T.K.Ann along I still do not see how in your etymology
一 "unity", 曲 "curved basket" and 曰 "intelligent speaking" could together give us "trough" or "channel"?

It does not follow from any of their meanings or their composite.



With 一 "unity", 曲 "curved basket" and 曰 "intelligent speaking", 曹 has nothing to do with "trough" or "channel". 槽 and 漕 can simply be phonetic loan words. However, the "coming together" and "a group" do provide some side supports on those two words in additional to being phonetic words. Please review the article "形 聲 and 會 意 (sense determinator) , part two" at http://chineselanguageetymology.blogspo ... t-two.html
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