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Chinese Language Forums - Chinese Etymology Institute • View topic - Some discussions with my students
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Some discussions with my students

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 12:42 pm
by Tienzen
Some discussions with my students


Dear Adam:

Thanks for the email. You have done an excellent job. You have clearly described your ‘problems’, and it is a great achievement.

“I have a fleeting feeling that many of the combinations admit of more than one interpretation. ... I feel like I am still a long way from reading the characters from their faces.”

For the more than one interpretation: This issue can be viewed in two way.
One, the creator for a word did not spent too much time to thinking through all the possibilities (the interpretation). That is, it is usual a direct reading of a set of semantic roots. So, the rule of parsimony takes the dominance.

Two, at those days, the dictionary (although already available before Confucius) is not widely available. Thus, the meaning of every new word must be readily readable by others (the reader, not the creator). Again, it should be read directly from the semantic roots with parsimony again as the dominant rule.

With the two reasons above, any second thought (beyond the first impression) is in general not the right one. There is only one exception on this. That is, when the ‘direct and first impression’ reading was used by another word, then you need to go the second steps. In this case, you must learn it. After all, this system does not mean that one does not need to ‘learn’ any more. I will give one example here.
忘 [亡 (disappear) over 心 (heart)] = forget
忙 [heart + disappear] = busy

These two words in fact encompass two identical radicals (although with different topological arrangement). The choice of meanings follows the ‘taken away’ rule. When a choice is taken, the other must choice another. Yes, one must learn this.

I will go over the four examples of yours here.

偎 (to fondle - which is a homely kind of action): 人 + 畏 (fear). It can have a few direct read.
a. The person is in fear.
b. The person in fear lean beside a man.
Which one should be? Well, Chinese word has no parts of speech. That is, a word can be all parts of speech. So, 畏 can be a concept or a state (as noun, adjective, adverb or verb). Yet, it can also be the ‘person’. In general, all Chinese words are ‘person’ centered. So, in ‘usage’, the 畏 itself can be used as ‘person in fear’. That is, no ‘new’ word is needed for it. Yet, the second choice is a ‘state’ cannot be covered by the non-inflectional strategy.

Yes, when a ‘word’ stands alone, the above choices could be difficult to make. But, for a language, we are not reading ‘standalone’ word all the time. In a sentence (or word phrase), we can often make this kind of choice easy.

洋: 水 +羊.
a. A sheep made of water. (This is obviously nonsensical).
b. Water looks like a herd of sheep (covering the entire pasture)

忝; 天 fits almost as well as 夭
夭 is about ‘not upright’. So, 忝 is about the not-upright heart (now means ‘shameful’). This is a direct read. “a heart is humbled before the power of heaven” is not correct.

Or 舌 with flowing chi and perfection, both properties flowing and perfected energy points to the organ which endows us with the power of speech, since the top stroke has changed from 干).
Recognizing the ‘correct’ roots or radicals is not easy and must learned. This is one reason that this Chinese etymology was not known in China for over 2,000 years. No, we cannot arbitrary change the composite of an existing word. Of course, we can always ‘create’ our own new words.

Among my students, there are two types.
One, simple-minded: they read out the semantic ‘directly’, and they are correct over 90% of time.

Two, deep-thinker: they evaluates all interpretations, and they have hard time to make any choice.

Be confident, read words ‘directly’. Often, the direct meaning is different (or significantly different) from the ‘current’ usage, but the direct reading is almost always correct while the usage is the ‘extension’ or the ‘borrowing’ from the direct. In fact, this is another ‘skill’ one can master quickly.

Of course, you must read all “radical (roots)” correctly. Again, you must read the ‘largest’ semantic parts in a word (not all the way back to the root level). You might already read (http://chineselanguageetymology.blogspo ... ology.html ), please read it again.

Yours truly,
Tienzen






Dear Adam:

"A simple piece of advice about over-thinking seems to have helped a lot."

Confidence is the key for the decoding. The way of the decoding is ‘correct’ while the current dictionary meanings are just derivations of the direct decoding. Jason (my son) knew not a single Chinese word (written and verbal) before taking up my lessons. He used only 89 days and was able to face the media test (with many Chinese reporters). Those reporters had no mercy on him and selected the most difficult words to test him on the spot. In fact, he did not make a single one correct in terms of the current understanding by those reporters. But, before the test, I talked to him that if reporters say that his answers are not correct, he should ask them what the correct meanings for the words are. Then, he will show how wrong they are, as their understanding was very superficial and show them how those new usages (meanings) are only derivations (or borrowing) of the ‘decoding’ (the original meaning). This shocked all reporters with two facts.
One, Jason truly did not know the ‘current meaning’ of the words. That is, he did not cheat although he is my son.
Two, the way of Jason’s understanding of those words are genuine and way beyond ‘their understanding’.

With these two reasons, they reported that event as a genuine new breakthrough, not any kind of con artist. Now, you can review the 50 words of that media test. Over 90% Jason’s answers was not correct in accordance to the ‘current usage’ but was correct etymology. Please review {The entire test answer sheets are available here (http://www.chineseetymology.com/2009/12 ... rd-attempt )}.



“I feel like I'm not learning anything about the sound system. In my reading, I am not encountering the 300 sound tags (in unaltered form) all that often, and it is taking a lot of labour to keep reviewing the sound modules so as to keep them in my memory - since I'm not putting them frequently to use in my reading.”

The 300 sound modules have three purposes.
1. The entire Chinese “sound’-bandwidth has only 250 ‘four-tones’. The 300 sound modules provides 175 of those ‘four-tones’. By learning the ‘sound’ of those 175 ‘4-tones’, you set those sounds in your memory. That is, you should find a way to get these ‘sounds’ into your memory (such as with a Chinese-speaking friend, or get from a dictionary)
2. I used those 300 as ‘examples’ for decoding lessons for helping students to do their G1 lesson.
3. It will be the foundation for the third premise. Note: this is the most difficult one, and you should not put too much time in it for now.


“I am intent on mastering the third premise: the pronunciation of all Chinese words can be read out from their faces.”

This is the most difficult part and should not be a goal before you can ‘speak and read’ easily. Now, with
a. The knowledge of dissecting and decoding G1 words (over 1100 words), you should be able to learn 3000 commonly used words first and fast.
b. After those 175 ‘4-tones’ sounds in your memory, you should be able to pick up the verbal speaking easily with your ‘ears’ and ‘mouth’. Train your ears and mouth first and fast before thinking about the third premise.

Yours truly,
Tienzen Gong

Re: Some discussions with my students

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 12:44 pm
by Tienzen
Dear Chuck:

All the dance steps are, in fact, in the CE which has three tiers.
1. Tier one --- from roots to characters
2. Tier two --- from characters to word phrases
3. Tier three --- from characters/word phrases to sentences

These three tiers encompass the entire Chinese language (from free morphemes to sentences).

There were three impossible dreams in linguistics.
A. Forming the words --- with finite number of symbols to form unlimited words while the meaning and the pronunciation of each word can be read out from its face.
B. Unique meaning of each word --- every word carries a “unique” meaning, not having multiple meanings.
C. Universal grammar --- a grammar is the mother of all grammars.

Before the discovery of CE, no language in the world has the courage for even dreaming about to make those three dreams becoming true. But, it is very easy to show that CE has made the first two dreams true. The true free morphemes in CE are the word phrases which have one and only one meaning for each one of them. The CE grammar is also the only universal grammar, but it will take more explanations on that.

By learning the entire CE (all three tiers), one is not only a great Mandarin linguist but is the greatest “Linguist” who knows the true linguistics.

Obviously, no one in the past two thousand years knew about this CE in China. And, no one in the West ever knew that the three impossible dreams of linguistics can become true. Yet, when the CE is published, it becomes the simplest lessons in the linguistic world, as simple as 1, 2 and 3. Your comment that CE is undervalue is a grossly understatement.

Yours truly,
Tienzen





Dear Chuck:

Being so busy, I missed answering this email. The second answer is the correct one. During the grading, I sometimes missed a few.

It took some time to grade your work. It is finally done and is given back to you.

You did a great job. Your understanding on CE is now better than the professors of Beijing University (or any university for that matter). But, your body of knowledge on Chinese is, of course, much less than they are. You need to begin doing more reading. If you keep up, you can make a name for yourself soon.

Yours truly,
Tienzen Gong




Dear Chuck:

What are "jacuzzi" and "phlebitis" in Dr. Moser's article?

“…And, despite all that knowledge, I do not yet know the sounds, so I cannot pronounce them or type them in at the computer. My Chinese friends are also fascinated by this, as they view written Chinese as the hardest part, and most of them admit they are poor at it, especially the traditional characters.”

This is a personal miracle of yours and is the linguistics wonder of a new paradigm. If you have read this link (http://www.chinese-word-roots.org/nparadi.htm ), please read it a few more times. This is not an everyday article but is revolutionary. Then, you should read this link (linguistics-f25/language-types-and-second-language-acquisition-t222.html ).


Today’s paradigm for the language acquisition (both for the mother tongue and for the second language) is the immersion. Yet, my model is that the second language should be learned by anchoring. For Chinese written language, it can be learned as 100% knowledge (similar to algebra or geometry), not as a living habit. Your personal experience is a part of this revolution. If you keep moving forward, you will soon go pass this unique experience. Thus, you should document your current experience somehow, with blog or videos.


Give me a comment after you have read the two articles above. I will discuss your other questions next time.

Yours truly,
Tienzen





Dear Chuck:

Your decoding of 靜 is correct and is, in fact, better than the current usage (knowing by the public) as “be quiet”.

Competing loud is among the rascals. Competing in quietness is the topmost level of competition. Don’t be scared by the current usages. Soon, you will see that many of the current usages are the derivatives of the original etymology which is not known by the highly trained Chinese language professors and by many modern dictionaries.

Yours truly,
Tienzen





Dear Chuck:

In my last email, I have said that CE is absolute while the usages are either the direct result or the derivatives of the CE. You have learned 90% of the CE first tier. Yet, I have discussed very little about 轉 註 者 (synonymize), that is, one "word" can be expressed with many different characters, such as, 庵 = 菴, 怡 = 貽, 琛 = 賝, and many many more. They are not synonyms per se. They are the same word with different forms, arrived with different roots. This is something special in Chinese but is no importance for a beginner. On the same token, one root (radical) can often be read in as two different roots, yet still get the same outcome.

"1. 隶 is SM281 and you say it is 肀 over 水 and not 尾. Yet, in the CE book you say it is a complicated module and is, in fact, ultimately 尾. Am I confusing 隶 with another character? Or is "catching a fish in water" simply a better decoding based on more recent findings?"

In some literatures, the water in 隶 was viewed as 尾. In sm 128, the water is water. As the language has evolved over 3,000 years, some fusions are expected. In my book, I have chosen the 尾 as the answer. But, I will not go berserk if someone insists that it is a water.


"2. You explain 有 as "a not-seen Moon is still there". Is there a Chinese story or philosophy which would give more substance to those choices? For example, we could render "gravity" as an apple over a head, yet it might seem nonsensical to anyone not knowing the story of Sir Isaac Newton."

This one is from the literature. Some decoding needs some culture info, but most of them need no deep philosophical reasoning. This one is simple and straight as it is.


"3. For 久 you said "I like your decoding, keep it. [...]" I can come up with many wrong decodings while still consistent with the roots, facilitating fast acquisition. Then, what use are the true decodings? My guess is "superior form". That is, knowing the true way of "dancing", one has the topmost skill and advantage in decoding when encountering new characters."


This new CE was unknown for over 2,000 years. Thus, it is truly deep. I did many wrong decodings myself too. But, the more you do, the less mistakes you will make. And, the wrong decoding you did before will become a very big sore thumb to you after you getting more experienced. Over 90% of characters has true dissection and obvious true decoding. The remaining ones can be divided into the following groups.
a. They cannot be dissected at all, as they are mutated. These must be learned.
b. Some can be dissected in more than one way. I will determine it with the DNA, that is, the meaning of their descendent words.
c. It can still go both ways after the examination of the above methods. I will happily take the both.


But, for a new beginner, I will not go this deep on CE with him. Yes, facilitating fast acquisition will be the goal at this point. When a student goes through all three tiers, he can come back and rediscover the wonder of the CE-first-tier by himself with ease and with great wonder. At one point, you will simply know that you are absolutely right even if it does not agree with the all known literatures. The knowledge of the system and the logic preempts all literatures. This will be the time for one to be his own master.

Yours truly,
Tienzen





Dear Chuck:
There are two parts for this new CE.

A. As linguistics:
A “dream” of all linguists is that an “ideal” language which consists of the followings.
Tier 1. Forming the syntaxes
i. with finite number of symbols to form unlimited number of syntaxes (vocabulary).
ii. the meaning of each syntax can be read out from its face.
iii. the pronunciation of each syntax can be read out from its face.

Tier 2. Arising the semantics: the semantics of each syntax or the compound-syntax can be read out from its face.

Tier 3. Forming the language system (making a sentence): the rules of sentence fall out naturally, no learning is needed when one has mastered the first two tiers.
Note: The tier 3 is seemingly very abstract, but it is not. It can be precisely defined practically. When we take all demarcation marks (punctuation marks) out of a written page, all sentences in that page will still be clearly distinguishable, no mess-up at all. At this point, no rules of sentence (grammar) need to be learned.

The tier 3 can become a reality only if entire system is constructed by similarity transformation (of fractal). That is, the tier 3 and tier 2 have the identical internal logic structure the same as the tier 1, with only a different “manifestation” which will in fact be with different looks.

As far as I know, only Chinese language meets all the above criteria. When tier 1 was completely unknown, the Chinese language became the most stupid and hard to learn language of the world.


B. Facilitating fast acquisition for Chinese language:
In addition to this newly discovered “ideal” linguistic system, this new CE is a way to facilitate the fast acquisition on Chinese language. In my program, the acquisition of Chinese language can be reduced to “3” months from the old standard of “10” years for a person who knows not a single Chinese word at the beginning. That is, one month per tier.

As being a self-learning, you are not truly in my program. You have spent 14 months on the tier 1.

In this acquisition program, I will not let the students spend too much time on the nitty-gritty of the decoding. They will simply walk through the decoding process as a way of fast memorization pathway, using it as the launching pad and the foundation for the tier 2 and tier 3. When they finished the tier 2 and 3, most of their questions in tier 1 will be answered automatically.


As your interest is more on the linguistics side, I will strongly recommend you to get know more about the old school, especially the big wheels, such as,
Dr. Moser (dmoserus@yahoo.com )
Dr. Victor Mair (vmair@sas.upenn.edu , https://www.sas.upenn.edu/ealc/mair )

You must not challenge them but ask their advices.

Yours truly,
Tienzen





Dear Chuck:

There are 13 roots for chi and 11 roots for hand while each one of them are different, representing a different aspect of the chi and hand. There are two roots of animal’s horn, one for the real horn, the other for its symbolism. Root 77 is for the horn as a substance. Root 201 is about the abstract image that horn represents. Today, deer’s horn was hanged in the living room as trophy. In the ancient, the shaman used the animal’s horns to decorate his place of magic.

瞢 (obscured sight, ashamed) is r201 + “net(not 目 )” over 冖 (covered) 目 (eyes). The three radicals on the top represent “under the control by magic power”. Thus, 夢 is not simply as lowering & covering the eyes at night. By all means, this is not an easy one to decode. Your ability to use that “site” as studying material is great.



In CE, we study tier 1, then 2, then 3. For the old school, it knows only the tier 2 and 3. So, it starts from learning “sentences”, and then learning the words and phrases on its way. Thus, you are on their ground zero now, and this is a great opportunity for you to get a deep sense of the field. In this page (words-of-the-week/ww-038-mastering-chinese-character-set-in-90-days-t193.html ), I listed 10 American universities which have big Chinese language study. You should try to know them as part of research.

Yours truly,
Tienzen





Dear Chuck:

Just got done with the first set of chores of today.

It is nice to read your saying. It is the way to be. I grew up in the old school. Almost all my students (even the 10 year old American kids) are having at least 2 to 3 years of old school experience. Without knowing the old school, one cannot truly appreciate this new CE.

While some proprietary info of CEI is not available in public, the status of CE has some public info.

a. While America universities are not able to make a sharp turn to embrace the CE because that their professors are all trained in old schools, the US federal government is taking the lead to endorse the CE by asking me in person to refer my students as the Mandarin linguists for the federal jobs, average $40 per hour.

b. Abandoning the old Chinese written system was the goal for Chinese government, and whole abandonment was planned in 2015, replacing the old with 100% Romanization system (especially in the keyboard era). When my CE was published in 2006, China put the brake on it and decided to return to the old system (the traditional) in 10 years, a decision made in 2010. A few newspaper clips on this evolution was available at http://www.chineseetymology.com/2009/12 ... ethodology

c. As Taiwan having a very strong independent-movement with the de-China mentality, Taiwan government was reluctant to embrace the CE for the past few years. Yet, the news media is now promoting it, see http://tw.news.yahoo.com/%E6%B2%89%E5%8 ... 24833.html

Yours truly,
Tienzen





Dear Chuck:

CE consists of three tiers which could (and should) be studied in three months (fulltime) for a person who knows not a single Chinese character at the beginning. And, it claims that after the completion of this course (all 3tiers), the student will gain a solid foundation to learn both Chinese language and culture on his own, no further assistance from a teacher is needed.

For tier one, there is one textbook and one workbook, which are available for general public. For tier 2 and 3, there are 4 handouts, not available for general public.

The tuition for the entire CE course is $3,000, a 98% off from the average old school cost. The calculation is as follow.

Old school cost;
a. 10 years with $1,000 per year of tuition = $10,000
b. The time cost (living expenses during the long study, loss of earning, the travelling expense to a language environment, etc.) is about $20,000 a year. For 10 years, = $200,000

So, [1 – (3000/210000)] = 98.5%

If you are interested in the entire CE program, please send a tuition check of $2,000 payable to:

Chinese Etymology Institute
Mailing address:
Jeh-Tween Gong
3218 Leticia Drive
Hacienda Heights, CA 91745
Note: You have learned the tier 1, and it will not be re-charged.

Most of my students learn CE for themselves, and they are happy for the program, never give a damn about the old school. But, if you are interested in staying in this field, it will be good for you to know more about the old school. After all, the remaining program should be completed in 2 months (fulltime), that is, you can do it any time at your choosing. This is why I strongly encouraged you to know more about the old school first.

Yours truly,
Tienzen

Re: Some discussions with my students

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 12:46 pm
by Tienzen
Dear Chuck:

The first set of course handouts has mailed with the next day express mail (with the tracking number EI 331480035 US), and it should be at your door by noon tomorrow.


This is a two months course. During the course, if you have any question, please write it done in a notebook. Often, most of your question will be answered after you learned more lessons. At the end of the month, if you still have some unanswered questions, I will answer them for you by then. The following is an outline for the first month class schedule.

1. Two days --- go over the “Advanced material --- word phrases”, at least, once (twice if possible). Do not try to memorize it this time.

2. Three days --- go over the above material by writing each phrase, at least, twice (more if possible).

3. One day --- get the meanings of Part one in English.

4. Seven days (homework) ---- making one “sentence” for (embedding) each “word phrase” in it for Part 1 and Part 2. If you have problem at the beginning, you can write an English sentence first for the first 20, and try to translate it from English to Chinese. Then, you must try to write Chinese sentence first and write the English for all other part of the homework.
a. Work phrase
b. Chinese sentence
c. English sentence
Then, send your homework to me for grading and review.

5. Seven days (homework) ---- doing the same (as 4) for part 3 and part 4.

6. Seven days (reviewing the homework).

Note: if you have some free time with the above schedule, you can study the Chapter 28 of the book “The Great Vindications”.

The second set of handouts will be mailed after your first homework is turned in.

Yours truly,
Tienzen





Dear Chuck:

It is good to see your using the “inheritance (DNA)” method in this CE analysis. The most difficult part of CE of tier one is about the phonetic logic which you can only master it after you are able to read. Now, you are on the 2nd tier lesson, you need not worry about it for now.

The entire Chinese system is constructed with the “self-similarity transformations”. That is, the internal structure of the higher tiers is isomorphic to the 1st tier in logic. Yet, there is some differences because of the “boundary conditions” of each tier are different. But, by all means, you now have a solid foundation to study the 2nd tier by yourself. Thus,

a. I will let you do the self-study on the 2nd tier first and let you to figure out the 2nd tier logic yourself and to find out the differences between the two tiers yourself. And, I am looking forward to your findings soon, and then we will discuss them.

b. The material for the study is not much in comparison to the old school, but it is enough. Using such a minimum amount of material is, in fact, the hallmark of this new CE. That is, this study is timed (should be completed in one month). I am looking forward to your first 20 Chinese sentences by or before June 1st. With the first 20 sentences, I will know the exact “status” of your study.

Yours truly,
Tienzen





Dear Chuck:

I have done grading your part 1 homework and planned to email it to you when you finish the part 2. Yet, I think that it is OK to send it back to you now as it has been five days since you have done the part 1. You can use it as “reference” for now but “study” it after you have done the part 2.

When I am grading your part 2 (upon receiving it), you should do the following homework.
1. Summarize the rules of Chinese sentence grammar.
2. Study the part 1 customary ways as they are.
3. Write an essay about what are the differences between your sentences and the customary ways.

Here, I am giving you some hints.
a. Except a very few cases which are a bit far out, 99% of your sentences are grammatically correct.

b. Your sentences are somewhat awkward which will be “corrected” by the street-walk Chinese who knows only the customary ways, not truly knowing about the Chinese sentence grammar. In fact, there are two types of awkwardness.
i. Those who are the new learners, not knowing the customary ways.
ii. Those who are the best masters of the language and can manipulate a very awkward way for his sentences. The awkwardness will shock his readers for them to think (not just read) the sentence through.

While there is no grammatical difference between the two awkwardness, the style difference is very obvious. This is why I am letting you to do the homework without giving you any instruction first, to preserve your innate knowledge of the true Chinese grammar which is not known by “all” native Chinese.

Again, do not feel bad when seeing the graded homework. They are just customary ways. In many senses, they are more elegant too. They are the “ways” that you should and must learn about. But, don’t take them as the “absolute”. You should incorporate them in the 2nd half of the homework; need not to be in the part 2 homework.

Looking forward to receiving your part 2 homework in a few days, before July 1.

Yours truly,
Tienzen






Dear Chuck:

You did a great job. Yet, I can sense your boredom.
1. In English, there are clear grammatical rules, the subject/predicate, the parts of speech, the tenses, the numbers, the voices, the moods, etc.. Yet, in Chinese, there is not a single of those to guide you. The fact is that there are no rules (per se) in Chinese sentence grammar, a total freedom. But, there are still some customary ways which are not reachable by some simple rules. This can make a person of logic-minded very confused and discouraged. For the customary ways, you just have to bite a few bullets. In the old school, the students are taught with the customary ways at the beginning. It will take them a long time to get the hang of it. I let you to make-up sentences with all freedom first and then show you the customary ways. That is, you are learning the customary ways via your own sentences. By all means, your sentences are not wrong. But, the customary ways are still difficult to be handled with a few rules. And, this can be very discouraging. I do see your struggle on the usage of 是 and 很, but you will definitely get it over very soon.

2. There are indeed some rules which are the manifestations of the CE tier one logic in the higher tiers. I will show you those very soon, just be patient. It is still better for you to come up some of them yourself. Please do send me a summary of this.

I am sending you the 2nd set of material to 536 Mississippi St., 94107 in a few days. In the meantime, do learn the customary ways as they are from the two homework. Please also learn the Chapter 28 (of the Great Vindications) as much as you can.

Your part 2 homework is attached.

Yours truly,
Tienzen





Dear Chuck:
I sense the following rules about word phrases, and they seem to share most of the same rules as individual characters:
Direct read, e.g. 玉米, 土產, 示威. The meaning is plain.
Infer by pointing, e.g. 文化, 立場, 支出. The meaning is a result of some association or interaction between words.
Infer by pointing + cultural knowledge, e.g. 穴位. Pointing out the position of a hole is not so obvious unless you know about the practice of acupressure.
Contrast or "ranges", e.g. 長短, 風格, 色素. Long vs. short is two extremities, almost to ask "Where between is it?" and they categorize at a high-level. Length, style, color, etc.
Scoping, e.g. 土地 vs 地土, 士人 vs 人士, 皮膚 vs 膚皮. Similar to contrasting, but comparing something general with something more specific. "Narrowing" from general to specific points out finites, "widening" from specific to general points out infinites, concepts.
Assignment, e.g. both 子彈 and 彈子 read the same.
Horizontal modules, e.g. 色 is a category. They are all about appearances.
Vertical modules, e.g. 我 has a small number of descendants and mostly logical additions like 我,我的,我們,我們的.
Inheritance + substitution, e.g. 多彩 derives from 色彩
Sentences:
Words describe single ideas but sentences are stringing many ideas together, relating them somehow. In order to separate ideas and define the relationships, there must be "glue" words between those ideas or that act as sentinels. Otherwise, the boundaries between ideas cannot be distinguished.
There are at least a few types of glues, e.g. prefix, postfix, insertion.
Glues can be applied at different levels, such as words (不), whole sentences (嗎), or both (了).
Glues are not excluded from other uses, such as 中 in the word 中國.
是 and 很 are glues linking things to expressions of facts or perceived qualities about them.
的, 之, and 有 are glues showing ownership.
在 is a glue prefixing locations.
嗎 is a glue postfixing sentences to flip them from statements to questions.
不 and 沒 are glues prefixing words to negate them.
與 is a glue inserted between two participants points out activity between them. It seems similar to 共 in 暴. 共 or 共同 seems to behave similarly.
中 is a glue for activities, indicating an ongoing process. "I'm in the middle of doing this..."
時 is a glue postfixing to point out the time of ..., such as "birth" vs. time of birth as "born".
Similar to roots combining into modules (言) and modules into words (請), words combine into phrases (乍涼), phrases combine into compound phrases (乍涼乍暖), phrases combine into sentence fragments (黑如夜晚) and sentences (玉石是漂亮), and sentences with combine into complex sentences. All levels stack similarly to create greater expressivity, though also adding some glues/markers at the higher levels for relations among "participants".
Seemingly, a lot of Western punctuation in Chinese texts is serving no purpose as they could be removed while sentences still being obvious, as many end with some sort of "finalizing glues", e.g. 嗎. So, paragraphs should be composable by simple concatenation of sentences without those Western punctuation, following the same pattern as all lower levels.
Ordering is important at some levels of binding (不 prefix for phrases), yet growing less important at higher levels (glued/sentineled phrases). Seemingly, some glues bind with greater strength and stricter rules, similar to operator precedence in programming languages.
Reordering any sequence of data does not lose any data, while it could be considered scrambled if scrambled at an arbitrary granularity without regard for the rules of composition, e.g. scrambling a sentence by character. Yet, reordered only at the appropriate compositing level, it is not scrambled or ambiguous as there are special glues/markers for all qualifications of time, location, and relationships among participants.
There are customary orderings in different contexts for convenience, acting only as a standard protocol. Thus, non-customary orderings introduce difficulty in understanding only by a reader's lack of familiarity with the rules, not by ambiguity or absence of required data.





Dear Chuck:

“Reordering any sequence of data does not lose any data, while it could be considered scrambled if scrambled at an arbitrary granularity without regard for the rules of composition, e.g. scrambling a sentence by character. Yet, reordered only at the appropriate compositing level, it is not scrambled or ambiguous as there are special glues/markers for all qualifications of time, location, and relationships among participants.”

This is the excellent understanding about the Chinese grammar which is not known even by the Chinese language professor in both Beijing University and the Harvard University, as both of them cannot understand that any language can be totally free (without any grammatical restriction). But this is only the half story. In my book “The Divine Constitution”, I showed the Ramsey theorem (the large number theorem) in page 149 that a total chaotic system will always encompass many orderly subsystems. That is, there are many beautiful “orders” in a total free (chaotic) language. I will discuss this more in due time.

Now, let’s talk about the word phrase rules. You have done a great job.

First, the principle: for any hierarchy building, if the base has 10 traits, the higher tiers can maximally have 10 traits (often a few less). That is, the higher tier cannot get a new trait by itself but some base-trait can be suppressed because of the boundary conditions are slightly different from the base-tier.

For the CE first tier, a “character” can have up-to 9 topological seats for the roots. Thus, the same set of roots can become many characters by the different sitting in those seats, such as, 忘, 忙; 暉, 暈, etc. . But, in word phrase, the degrees of freedom was reduced from 9 to 2 (linear only, forward/reverse).

In CE 1st tier, the characters are constructed “semantically” via roots meaning, and they can grow phonetically via sound modules. Yet, in the word phrases, the phonetic dimension is significantly restricted but not all the way out. This is something for you to figure out.

In general, one character is a word. Two words become a phrase. Three or more words become a sentence. Of course, there are three (or more) words still as phrase. I will discuss this later. For now, word phrase = two words, and it has the following equations.

1. A + A = A, doubling is very important in Chinese. You will figure out the reason very soon.
2. A + B = A or A + B = B, try to find some of them.
3. A + B = C, most of your examples are in this group, and they can be divided into many more subgroups.
a. as counting, 1B, 10B, etc.
b. In contrast
i. many/less 多少, 大小
ii. whole/part 國家, 尺寸
iii. different characters 風雨, 美醜
iv. more

c. In similarity
i. same group 姐妹, 爸媽
ii. same characters 美麗, 蝴蝶
iii. more

d. in process
i. proceeding 前進, 迴避
ii. cause/effect 文化, 種族
iii. more

e. more

Your classification is very good. Please go over the entire tier two work (part 1 to 4) and identify each phrase with a phrase classification (you can make up your own classification).

Yours truly,
Tienzen





Dear Chuck:

I have sent you the 2nd set of study material with the tracking number 9549010105673189371911 . You can go ahead glance it after receiving. I will give you a study instruction soon.

"Meetup", it is a great place to go, especially as a verbal practice place for the future.

“ Afan, who surprised me by saying a "good" college education required knowing 20K characters.”
No. Afan will not know more than 5,000 characters. But, this is not important for now. You can still learn a lot from him, but soon you will find out that he is quite shallow. By all means, learn from him, not showing his ignorance.



“I explained to the group I was learning by the CE.”
This is a very good exchange. But don’t let them feel being ignorant. Afan learned “some” Kangsi radicals but had never known that the meaning of characters can be read out from their faces. You already know this from the articles of many great Western Sinologists.


“In mentioning my focus on traditional characters, my current avoidance of phonetics, and my intention to learn to read before I can speak, I got some interesting looks and a lot of skepticism since that is a big part of the group activities.”
As soon as you get done the written, I will give you instruction on how to learn the verbal. Yet, your experience is a good example for this new pedagogy of this new school.


“Of course, everyone was very friendly and I was not confrontational.”
Good job.

Yours truly,
Tienzen





Dear Chuck:

Just checked usps tracking, it stated that you have received the 2nd set of material.

The Key of this new CE pedagogy is about the memory-management. The Chinese language should be learned without the brutal memorization on its characters, vocabulary (word phrase) and sentence rules (patterns).

For the CE tier 1, it is quite complicated and can take a person many years to master. In my program, it was taught as a “tool” for acquiring 3,000 characters fast and needs not to be a master on it for now. You have spent more time on it and are a semi-master now. Congratulation.


For any language, the purpose is to master it in a literately sense, that is, being able to read and to write. So, one must know enough vocabulary and sentence rules. For Chinese “verbal” language (used in newspaper writing), the vocabulary is word phrases, not characters. So, the students must get the following abilities.
a. Read out the meaning of word phrases from their faces.
b. Recognize the word phrases in sentences.
c. Make-up new word phrases in his own writing.

The above is achieved in old school by brutal memorization of zillion word phrases and sentences patterns. In this new CE pedagogy, the above is achieved by learning the logic of them. Thus, for the new material, you should do the followings.
1. “Sensing” the “spreading the wings” of the Chinese system --- from roots to characters, to word phrases, to sentences.
2. Reading (not brutal memorization) the spread ---
i. Are you able to read out each phrase’s meaning directly?
ii. Are you able to see its combination rules (classification)?
iii. Are you able to use it to make a sentence?

If you have a problem with a phrase, you should circle it and study it. If a phrase strikes your fancy, you should circle it too.


You should only take 3 to 4 days for this reading-through work. Then, I will send you the homework sheet. You should do the homework with “close-book”. Under each G1 character, you should write “2” (minimum) word phrases (from your memory or your own constructs), and do the followings,
a. meaning
b. combination rule (classification)
c. Making a sentence (then, in English)


Today, computer analysis on the slow-motion of the somersaults is very important for any gymnast. But, viewing those analyses zillion times will not help one bit until the gymnast practices it over and over. In order for you truly mastering the language, you need learn 3,000 “Sentence patterns”. Instead of learning them from the old school textbook, I let you learn from your own sentences, then, I will correct them with the customary ways.


You have written about 300 sentences (only 10%). Please complete part 2 “sentences” homework and send it to me by July 15.

Yours truly,
Tienzen





Dear Chuck:

"卬 is 匕卪 according to 說文, but 卩卩 in my dissection of the 220 radicals and it was not marked wrong. Yet, its definition is "high, lofty, majestic" and would make sense to me as 匕卩 -- transformed by king's seal is becoming those things."

There are many errors in 說文. There are two the greatest 說文 scholars in history.
1. 王 安 石 (http://baike.baidu.com/view/2515.htm , one of the greatest philologist in Chinese history) and his book 字 說 (http://baike.baidu.com/view/420769.htm , which turned out to be a laughing-stock).

2. 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.

These two were two geniuses in Chinese history, and they two spent life-time studied 說文. If 說文 is an internal consistent system, these two would never fail on recognizing it.


段玉裁 is “the” one who made 說文 readable. But,
a. He did not know any error in 說文 but stretched all the way to make some senses out it.
b. He himself is not a linguist by all means. That is, he did not have ability to know anything better, right or wrong.

No. In 卬, there is no “卪”, and “卪” has nothing to do with “庶及”(becoming commoner). 卪 is about egg or sperm. When two 卪 meet, it becomes a fertilized egg.

卬 is reduced from 卯 (the highest properness). With one stroke missing, 卬 is just one “hair” below 卯. Thus, 卬 connotes to “looking up to (almost there)”.


段玉裁’s saying “欲有所庶及也。从匕卪。匕同比。庶及意。庶及猶庶幾也。卪者,其欲庶及之所也。” is nonsense.


This CE tier one is a huge subject. It will take years for one to master. It will take too much of my time to go over each one of them. When you are able to read Chinese essays with ease, my two Chinese books already have sufficient material for someone to get going into it. You should try to get to that point first and fast. By then, if you still have more questions after read those two books, I will definitely spend time to discuss them.

Yours truly,
Tienzen





Dear Chuck:

“Okay, thank you for suffering all of my etymology questions up until now! I will reserve further questions on Tier 1 for a time much further in the future.”

It is very good for your deep passion on this CE tier 1 etymology. It is a big field with many great advancements waiting at the horizon. I will be very happy for having you as my protégé.


But (a huge but), however great a person is on the CE tier 1 etymology, he will be ignored if he cannot read and write more than a 7th grader of a Chinese student (definition for illiterate). Furthermore, he will not be able to read the deep material on the issue, which is all written in Chinese (such as my two books, the “Chinese Word Roots and Grammar” and “The Great Vindications”).


The fact is that the entire Chinese system grows with the self-similarity transformations. Thus, the highest tier reaches the whole (total) “expression” of its internal logic. We will not fully appreciate the CE logic until we have wholly understood its higher manifestations. Awhile back, you wanted to create new “characters” with the CE logic. Yet, it is done in word-phrases. In the Chapter 28 of GV, I showed 500 some examples which are “word-phrases” written as “characters”. On the one hand, this is continuity from the tier 1 to tier 2. On the other hand, there is a “balance” for the two. Word-phrase-characters are more economic in sentence wordings. Yet, word-phrases have more “freedom”.


This “freedom” reaches its zenith in sentences (the grammar), which is discussed in detailed in the chapter 4 & 5 of “Chinese Word Roots and Grammar” and the entire “part 2” of GV. By the way, this freedom is totally incomprehensible by Western linguists, and it is not known by any Chinese philologist. You could be one of a very few to understand it fully as soon as you can read them in Chinese.


In my system, one needs to learn the followings,
a. 220 word roots --- lead to 3,000 character with ease.
b. 3,000 characters --- lead to zillion word phrases (without the brutal memorization).
c. Word phrases --- lead to 3,000 sentences patterns (from students’ own sentences, that is, without the brutal memorization).


With the completion of the above, one can truly read and write and be able to study the higher tier CE manifestations.


I am sending you the G1-word-phrases-sentences homework sheet.
1. Go over “lesson 4” of CE, root-G1-word phrase (without the brutal memorization). If a word-phrase cannot be decoded from its face, then study it.

2. Study with the following schedule:
a. go over 40 roots ---- do the first 20 (root) on the homework sheet (close-book, write “2” word-phrases for each G1 [from memory or from your own construction], then, construct “a sentence” for each word-phrase). It is very important for constructing 3,000 sentences for the entire course.
b. go over 41 to 60 roots ---- do the above homework (21 to 40). Etc.

3. The entire homework should be done in “2” weeks (by July 28).

4. Please send me the homework at the half-way, that is, the first part of the homework is due on July 21.

Please send me the “last” homework soon.

Yours truly,
Tienzen





Dear Chuck:

You are very smart. Yet, there are zillion smart people around the world. On the other hand, your mentality (willingness and aggressiveness) on learning is the most valuable asset for you, not shared by the majority of the population.

“I wrestle with feelings of "cheating" and "skimping" by working so fast without fully understanding it all.”
Yes, I of course know this. Thanks for saying yourself. By all means, you are learning the “most” difficult language in the world, and you have done it amazingly in so short of the time.

The CE tier 1 is the simplest, with the clear logic and small scope. The tier 2 is the continuation of the tier 1. Yet, tier 3 (making sentences) goes into the “deep” water, no bottom to rest on, nor landmark for direction (a complete loss of support and sense of direction). In the old school, it takes a Chinese kid 12 years (minimum, 6 years for learning the verbal, 6 more for written) to get a sense on it.

The essence of Chinese sentence grammar is “total freedom”, yet there are rules. Paradoxical, indeed. The old school students will never sense this paradox, and they will end their lives without truly knowing the “essence” of Chinese language.

You are not just learning Chinese language. You are experiencing a “linguistic wonder” and will be a greatest linguist in human history after you have done with it.

Even with your Frankenstein monster, you are soaking in the essence of the monster. Thus, I am strongly encouraging you to move ahead aggressively, for truly feeling the freedom of monster making. Yet, bringing the monster a “fine-look” takes some very subtle tweaking. And, those subtleties cannot be learned with aggressive energy. They must be digested with relaxed energy. When your total energy goes above a threshold, you will be able to see a world with rules and orders in it. I will definitely lead you on that pathway when you reach that point. Now, go ahead move aggressively with the new lesson (monster making) as we planned. As I promised that you can reach that point in a few weeks (instead of 10 years) with this aggressive program, soaking first before the deep diving. In a sense, you are already in very deep water.

Yours truly,
Tienzen





Dear Chuck:

Thanks for telling me your study status. This is the only way for me to know your progress.

Five % is a big number by all imaginations for such a short time of study. And, it is very much in line (even a bit better) with my classroom students who have the advantage of having me to help them on the spot.

You had two questions before, and here are my answers.
1. Soaking vs detailed work:
a. We use soaking when the material is “overwhelmingly huge”, that is, the detailed work cannot be carried out in a real sense.
b. Soaking when one is at the “starting” point for a huge task.
c. Detailed working when one has a good base established already, and it is very important for doing the “research”, not at the beginning of learning.

2. Time-box:
a. A (any) skill can be divided into a few sub-steps. There is no way to practice the later steps before the previous steps are learned. Yet, it is very difficult to perfect the early steps without knowing the later steps. Thus, we should learn the later steps before “perfecting” the early steps. Therefore, moving “ahead” as fast as we can is the best way to perfect even the early steps.
b. To truly master any step will take long time. Often, a student will give up without knowing the whole picture. Letting students knowing the “whole” picture will give them the knowledge for estimating the total energy required for the whole task. Someone will then dropout while someone else will persist on.


You have now entered into very deep water but the shore is not too far away. By relaxing soaking, you can get enough energy to get to the yonder shore.


Miyamoto Musashi is the sword sage in Japan. In addition to being the best swordsman in Japan’s history, his book “the Book of Five Rings (” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Book_of_Five_Rings )” is now viewed as the best book in business warfare. The last ring (the Book of void) is the soul of the whole book.

I am strongly encouraging you to review that web page for two reasons.
a. The Chinese grammar arises from the CE tier 1 logic to total freedom (the total void). The essence of this is very difficult to be understood. Musashi’s book is one good example for how to reach this “state” in a swordsman’s way (via the four other steps).
b. His book is also a best guide for learning, how to learn an overwhelming large material in a systematic way.

Do send me some of your homework soon. It will be OK if it is not all done. We should move on to get know all steps, and we can come back to use them as a “whole” for more detailed work.


I have not encouraged you on learning the verbal thus far. Again, verbal is a very important part for the “whole”. As soon as you get the written done as a “base (foundation and anchor)”, you should begin the verbal, and I will give you some guidance on it then. After knowing the verbal, the written will become a “new” world.

Yours truly,
Tienzen





Dear Chuck:

In old school, “reading” is the only pathway for learning the Chinese written language. Reading begins on the first day of the first grader. From reading, students learn the characters, the word-phrases, the sentences patterns, and the cultures.

In this CE pedagogy, reading is delayed while learning the characters, word-phrases and sentence patterns with the CE logic first. Yet, we still must come to reading, as it is one of the “ends” for Chinese written language. After the intense preparation, it is time to do the reading.


I have sent you two sets of newspaper articles which are written by the 4th graders (in Taiwan and/or in China). The reading course is now beginning this week (July 29, 2013). Please read one set. The homework is,
a. read it (using word-dictionary or word-phrase-dictionary if needed),
b. translate it into English,
c. re-write it (the same story) with your own words (paraphrasing).

Please send me 3 (out of 10) as the turn-in homework.


If your last homework (G1 word-phrase) is ready, please send it to me. If not, place it to the background and try to finish it slowly. This reading lesson will help you on your last lesson too.

Yours truly,
Tienzen

Re: Some discussions with my students

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 12:47 pm
by Tienzen
Dear Alexey:

It is so nice of seeing that you are working on my system.


In addition to as a linguistic theory, one main purpose of my system is for someone to be able to read the Chinese current newspaper in 3 to 6 months from a beginning of not knowing a single Chinese word. The entire course has three tiers.

Tier 1: root to character. Students should learn 3,000 characters in one month with the help of knowing their composing parts and be able to memorize them easier from decoding the word meanings from their faces.

Tier 2: characters to word phrases. For the ideal language, every vocabulary carries one and only one "meaning". Superficially, not a single language achieved this goal. Yet, this is achieved in Chinese by using the word phrases.

Tier 3: vocabulary (characters or word phrases) to sentence, the grammar.


Your questions are a bit entangled with the higher tiers. That is, when you learned the entire 3 tiers, many of those questions will be answered.


I will of course try to answer those questions. But, it will be much easier for me if I know your background. How much you know about Chinese language before your learning my system? How much can you speak?

Yours truly,

Tienzen






Dear Alexey:

Thanks for the info which allows me to know what level of issue we should discuss here.


For your second question, “Yet, how can “we” know the phonetic value of any phonetic point without already knowing them all?” you have very much answered yourself in your email. The 反 切 (reverse checking or engineering) is not invented by me but is “the” way of marking Chinese character pronunciation before the concoction of pinyin was invented. You might be able to google 反 切 and learn from there. But, after knowing your status, you might not want to spend time on it at this point. It might become a very good “research” project if you are interested in going beyond using Chinese language as only a communication tool. By then, I will be more than happy to “discuss (not answer)” it with you, as it is indeed a very interesting subject.


For your first question, I am a bit confused. You have asked a very, very deep question. Do you truly understand that deep issue? Or, you just asked it intuitively?
For every tool-box, it always has more than one tool. It will take more than one tool for the Chinese phonetic system, such as,
1. via sound modules
2. via sound span
3. via sound spin
4. via sound borrowing
5. via semantic pointing
6. via inheritance (sound of its siblings)

Then, there is a big mess,
a. every “sound” is shared by “many” different characters.
b. every “character” has always more than one “sound”.

Often different characters use different tools. Sometimes, one word needs more than one tool. This is the biggest mess or the best research project. In the case of 暖, the siblings play a very important role but some other tools are also required.


At your current status, it is much easier for you to set this great question aside for the time being and study the course material as it is first. After that, you will have stronger foundation for discussing this great issue.

On example of student’s homework on SM is attached for your reference.

Yours truly,
Tienzen






Dear Tienzen

Your books arrived successfully yesterday in excellent condition.
What funny is that usps website still shows that it is only processed their sort facility and it has also never occurred in our local post tracking website.

I am now reading the study guide and learning the Taiwan pinyin.
I have looked briefly throughout the book and for what I can see already, the sound tag theory will be most challenging for me of all material, and if I can manage this topic it would be 80-90% of my success.
I did read your blog entries considering this but it is still somewhat vague idea for me so I shall need to reread it several times in both the book and the website.

Being not enrolled your training course I can't ask you for tutelage throughout my study, but maybe just a few questions will occur which I hope won't trouble you much to answer.

I appreciate the gift you have given me that is "Workbook 1", thank you very much once more for it.

Yours,
Alexey








Dear Tienzen

Thanks for specification of the dictionary you used I found the proper Romanization of the textbook, it is Gwoyeu Romatzyh, you can recommend it to future students:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwoyeu_Romatzyh
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spelling_i ... u_Romatzyh
Check if I am correct or not.

I am now following your instructions and feel myself vice versa to my previous view, that is the sound tag system seems to me now more straightforward and easy to learn than bridging the logical gaps and finding the correct meanings of the tacit root complexes, which itself although very interesting and gives insights. But the time dedicated will show, and I hope after a week or two I can be more precise on my experience.

Yours,
Alexey






Dear Tienzen
Some time ago I purchased your book "Chinese Etymology" and you also kindly bestowed me the auxiliary "Chinese Etymology Workbook". My order number was #808. The Workbook became almost gray from my pencil notes, and since then I somehow advanced in dissecting and decoding the words and now I feel almost ready to proceed to the phonetic part of your theory. I also read sometimes your blog and forum posts, and before I start to memorize the Sound Modules, could you please help me to clarify some questions on the whole theory which are still remain obscure for me, if you do not complicate?

1. My first question is to check if my comprehension of the implicit sound tag concept is correct. As I understand any character has the implicit sound tag when its phonetic value is not clearly seen from the phonetic values of its components, for example:

291. The shared radical of 戀 、 變 (luan , something small yet important to human) is 言 (human speaking) inserted into 絲 (silk, also means small).
4T - [ X, M(鸞 、 鑾 ), 暖 (roan'), 亂 (luann)]



孌 、 巒 、 攣 、 欒 、 孿 、 鸞 、 鑾

Here the words which don't have the shared radical of (戀 , 變) are 暖 and 亂 .
Their phonetic value is not derived from their components so they have implicit sound tag, right?
But according to "WW (034) --- Chinese character’s sound tag revisited" (words-of-the-week/ww-034-chinese-character-s-sound-tag-revisited-t188.html ):
Law 5 --- Any character which does not carry an explicit sound tag will pronounce the same as its 轉 註 字 (synonymized word).

So there must be synonyms for 暖 and 亂 which in their turn are parts of some identical SM, but here we haven't anything of the sort. I somehow can't make the ends meet here for myself.

2. The second question is based on your forum posts on the new Chinese etymology phonetics:

WW (026) --- The marking the phonetic value of Chinese words words-of-the-week/ww-026-the-marking-the-phonetic-value-of-chinese-words-t172.html .

沉冤大白(Part Three): The new Chinese Etymology chinese-idioms/part-three-the-new-chinese-etymology-t229.html .
------

Every Chinese phonetic point is defined with two variables, the 聲 母 (similar to consonant) and the 韻 母 (similar to vowel). With 聲 母 alone, it cannot define a phonetic point. On the other hand, 韻 母 alone can define a phonetic point.

Yet, how can “we” know the phonetic value of any phonetic point without already knowing them all? There is a way to resolve this issue. We can zero in the phonetic value (pv) of a phonetic point (pp) with two other points. Thus, by knowing only a few starting points, we can map out the entire set. This is called 反 切 (reverse checking or engineering).

So, the sound (phonetic value) of a Chinese word (character) is “checked” out by two other words, by using the 聲 母 of the first word + the 韻 母 of the second word to get its own 聲 韻 (the phonetic value). Now, the phonetic value of every word can be recursively defined, which an axiomatic operation is.
...
The phonetic value of a word is used as a coordinate to define the phonetic value of other words in the procedure of 反 切 (reverse checking or engineering).

---------
Could you please elaborate this concept a bit more in detail maybe with some examples?
Which two characters should I pick up to detect the phonetic value of any unknown for me newly encountered character?

Though these questions are not directly connected to memorising 300 SM, but it is very motivating to have a correct birds eye view for me before starting to work. I hope it will not take much time for you.
Thank you very much!

Kind Regards,
Alexey






Dear Alex:
Go ahead use my gmail for the future emails.

1. Your Taiwan pinyin is slightly different from what we can see at wikipedia article on it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tongyong_Pinyin
Is there some webpage on the net which describes Taiwan pinyin closer to yours?

Ans: The Taiwan pinyin I used was from a dictionary from Taiwan 30 years ago. Since then, it has been standardized. The difference should not be too big. You can sound them out.

2. For every 300 sound modules in the Lesson 2 of the textbook there are also 3 other tones of the 4-tone set given, yet their meanings are not given. Should I consider them as Gx words and decode them after I learned all the 300 sound tags, or I am supposed to look them right up in the dictionary and learn by heart while learning these 300 sound tags? In other words, is there some info they carrying I do need immediately in the sound tags learning process, or should I treat them later? They aren't given at all in the Workbook I, which is another reason for me wondering about them.

Ans: For lesson two, you should
a. learning 300 word etymologies first without the concerns of their sounds.
b. after (a), you should go back to lesson one to learn the etymology of all those (about 1,100) G1 words.
c. after you have mastered the etymology of 220 roots, 300 sound modules and 1100 G1 words, you can begin to learn the sound of those 300 sound modules (by yourself with any dictionary, don't have to be using the Taiwan pinyin, or from a friend who can speak Mandarin well).
d. after you have learned the sounds of those 300 sound modules, you should learn the 4-tone from them, without the concern of the words' meanings which are listed in the 4-tone bracket.
e. after you have learned those 4-tones, you will know the sound of those words in the 4-tone brackets. Now, you can and should try your skill of dissecting or decoding those words yourself. Then, check your finding with a dictionary. Note: there are often having some difference between your decoding and the word meaning from the dictionary. But you should and could bridge those gaps quickly at this stage. If you are successful at this stage, you need dictionary no more. You will know the meaning and the sound of any newly meet word 95% of the time without needing a dictionary.

3. Which English-Chinese dictionary on your opinion could fit well with your textbook?

Any online dictionary is fine, such as,
http://www.mdbg.net/chindict/chindict.php?page=cedict

Tienzen (Jeh-Tween) Gong





Dear Tienzen
Thank you for readiness to counsel me, I hope that won't take much time.
My first questions are not so advanced but rather technical and on the textbook usage.

1. Your Taiwan pinyin is slightly different from what we can see at wikipedia article on it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tongyong_Pinyin
Is there some webpage on the net which describes Taiwan pinyin closer to yours?

2. For every 300 sound modules in the Lesson 2 of the textbook there are also 3 other tones of the 4-tone set given, yet their meanings are not given. Should I consider them as Gx words and decode them after I learned all the 300 sound tags, or I am supposed to look them right up in the dictionary and learn by heart while learning these 300 sound tags? In other words, is there some info they carrying I do need immediately in the sound tags learning process, or should I treat them later? They aren't given at all in the Workbook I, which is another reason for me wondering about them.

3. Which English-Chinese dictionary on your opinion could fit well with your textbook?

Thank you very much.
Yours,
Alexey





Dear Alexey:
It is so nice of seeing that you are working on my system.

In addition to as a linguistic theory, one main purpose of my system is for someone to be able to read the Chinese current newspaper in 3 to 6 months from a beginning of not knowing a single Chinese word. The entire course has three tiers.

Tier 1: root to character. Students should learn 3,000 characters in one month with the help of knowing their composing parts and be able to memorize them easier from decoding the word meanings from their faces.

Tier 2: characters to word phrases. For the ideal language, every vocabulary carries one and only one "meaning". Superficially, not a single language achieved this goal. Yet, this is achieved in Chinese by using the word phrases.

Tier 3: vocabulary (characters or word phrases) to sentence, the grammar.

Your questions are a bit entangled with the higher tiers. That is, when you learned the entire 3 tiers, many of those questions will be answered.

I will of course try to answer those questions. But, it will be much easier for me if I know your background. How much you know about Chinese language before your learning my system? How much can you speak?

Yours truly,
Tienzen






Dear Tienzen,
Thank you very much for your answer.

I do not hasten with Chinese language, I remember your saying that the language itself should be learnt only after knowing at least 3500 Chinese characters. Besides I am not sure what kind of dialect to learn first - putonghua or maybe classical Chinese. So the characters and your system are my current interest for the moment.

I have the general idea of Chinese "grammar" - from the books like "Basic Chinese: A Grammar and Workbook" by Yip Po-ching. I have also read a half of "Beginning Chinese" by Defrancis (in pinyin) and listened some chinesepod and pimsleur lessons. So of course it is easier for me to read explanations in English, if that's what you're asking about, though examples can be in Chinese. For the characters I have some dictionaries by L.Wieger and B.Karlgren, and we all have here good web-dictionaries.

Concerning your system I'm know finishing decoding G1 words of "Workbook I" and preparing to memorize 300 SM with their 4-tones.

Kind Regards,
Alexey






Dear Alexey:
Thanks for the info which allows me to know what level of issue we should discuss here.

For your second question, “Yet, how can “we” know the phonetic value of any phonetic point without already knowing them all?” you have very much answered yourself in your email. The 反 切 (reverse checking or engineering) is not invented by me but is “the” way of marking Chinese character pronunciation before the concoction of pinyin was invented. You might be able to google 反 切 and learn from there. But, after knowing your status, you might not want to spend time on it at this point. It might become a very good “research” project if you are interested in going beyond using Chinese language as only a communication tool. By then, I will be more than happy to “discuss (not answer)” it with you, as it is indeed a very interesting subject.

For your first question, I am a bit confused. You have asked a very, very deep question. Do you truly understand that deep issue? Or, you just asked it intuitively?

For every tool-box, it always has more than one tool. It will take more than one tool for the Chinese phonetic system, such as,

1. via sound modules

2. via sound span

3. via sound spin

4. via sound borrowing

5. via semantic pointing

6. via inheritance (sound of its siblings)

Then, there is a big mess,
a. every “sound” is shared by “many” different characters.

b. every “character” has always more than one “sound”.

Often different characters use different tools. Sometimes, one word needs more than one tool. This is the biggest mess or the best research project. In the case of 暖, the siblings play a very important role but some other tools are also required.
At your current status, it is much easier for you to set this great question aside for the time being and study the course material as it is first. After that, you will have stronger foundation for discussing this great issue.
On example of student’s homework on SM is attached for your reference.

Yours truly,
Tienzen






Dear Tienzen
Thank you very much for your recommendations, especially for this really motivating piece of art in xls form. I added to it new 2000 rows and will go on with remaining sound modules down to 300, it is a bit easier that way than writing them on the paper.

Your notes in the green column are very ispiring with their clarity and simplicity yet precision. Yet when some cultural background is needed to decode the character, it seems impossible for an amateur student to unravel the logic. Where really could we take it if not from someone already knowing it? So if you have the similar xls-sheet but with complete 300 sound modules and their 4-tones and derivations fully and correctly decoded in the same manner as these 16 SM, I would be pleased to acquire it. It looks unsportsmanlike but would spare a good deal of time for me. How do you look at it? By the way it's a pity that you did not issued a chinese-english analytic character dictionary based completely on your system. I think it would have an enormous success.

The second question is surely a bit beyond my current learning status, so it is really needless to go in depth of it now, I was just interested in maybe a couple examples. Considering my first question, it came half-intuitive, I tried to gather the general scope of your phonetic system before plunging into memorising their sounds. And reading your blog posts along with examining the SMs in the book, it is what glared to me and seemed as one of the key obstacles for understanding and hence memorising I should wonder about. But your tool-box metaphor somewhat puts it in order.

Kind Regards,
Alexey






Dear Alexey:
"So if you have the similar xls-sheet but with complete 300 sound modules and their 4-tones and derivations fully and correctly decoded in the same manner as these 16 SM, I would be pleased to acquire it."

Yes, I do have it.
a. In general, students are required to do their own work first. Then, the correct answered will be provided for their own grading. After that, there will be some discussions.
b. It is only available for the registered students. But, I will provide it to you as I remember that you are currently in Russia.

Are you a Russian?

Sincerely yours,
Tienzen
PS the example of homework for the G1 dissection and decoding is attached.






Dear Tienzen
"So if you have the similar xls-sheet but with complete 300 sound modules and their 4-tones and derivations fully and correctly >> decoded in the same manner as these 16 SM, I would be pleased to acquire it."

Yes, I do have it.
a. In general, students are required to do their own work first. Then, the correct answered will be provided for their own grading. After that, there will be some discussions.
b. It is only available for the registered students.
But, I will provide it to you as I remember that you are currently in Russia.
Are you a Russian?

Yes I'm in Moscow, Russia. Though I am not registered as a student but I did buy the books and can cite any place from them which is not on the web, in case the bookshop website has forgotten me. I also attached one of the pages of Workbook 1 with my handwriting. It would be very kind of you to provide me (maybe for some additional price?) with such correct answered xls-sheet of SM 4-tones and their derivations.


PS the example of homework for the G1 dissection and decoding is attached.

Very nice and though I did it myself with pencil in Workbook 1, I will need something similar afterwards to decode 7500 characters from Chinese Etymology Workbook (which is after the Litmus Test in "Chinese Etymology" book). But it is not for the moment.

Sincerely,
Alexey






Dear Alexey:
There is no requirement for anyone who buy the book. For a registered student, CEI (Chinese Etymology Institute) needs more info about the student (the name, the gender, the age, the nationality, a recent personal photo, mailing address, etc.). The tuition per student is US $3,000, which ensure the student to get a foundation of being able to study Chinese language and culture without any additional tutoring. The courses have three tiers,
a. tier one --- from root to character (books available for public)
b. tier two --- from character to word phrase (in Chinese, word phrase is the vocabulary, the "unit" of semantic meaning, that is, by knowing only characters, one might still not be able to read).
c. tier three --- from word phrase to sentence

There are 4 class handouts for the tier 2 and 3, and they are not available for public. If you want to be a registered student at CEI, you will need to pay an addition of $2,500 tuition.

When students get the answer of the homework ahead of time, there is "no chance" that they can truly do the homework. Thus, the school policy is that students will be provided the answer sheets only after they turned in their homework.

Although you are not a registered student of CEI, I will provide you both answer sheets after you have done the homework.

Thanks for the jpg file. It is always a great feeling for seeing someone is learning on this new CE.
Yours truly,
Tienzen





Dear Tienzen, you are very kind to me.
I agree that it is clever not to skip study stages. And obviously I am still in the beginning stage which is implied in the tier one.
Could you please send me two marked up xls-forms - one with 300 SM and 4-tones as in Chuck's decoding and second one with 220 roots as in Meichun's G1 dissection, yet both without decoding and dissection, so that I can fill them in on my own?
For it is difficult to find some of the roots which are not in the keyboard layout and besides why retype if it is already exist.
Sincerely,
Alexey





Dear Tienzen, you are very kind to me.
I agree that it is clever not to skip study stages. And obviously I am still in the beginning stage which is implied in the tier one.
Could you please send me two marked up xls-forms - one with 300 SM and 4-tones as in Chuck's decoding and second one with 220 roots as in Meichun's G1 dissection, yet both without decoding and dissection, so that I can fill them in on my own?
For it is difficult to find some of the roots which are not in the keyboard layout and besides why retype if it is already exist.
Sincerely,
Alexey






Dear Alexey:
I do not have blank one for them, as there was no such a need before. In my class, I do require the students to make their own sheets.

But, I will make them for you in a few days. Although there are rules and policy, I will bend them if they do not hurt the objective of learning. Such a convenience does reduce some practices but does not hurt the main objective, the dissections and decoding.

Yours truly,
Tienzen





Dear Tienzen
That would be great. I hope it will not cause much discomfort. Thank you very much for being so kind, and I'm looking forward to once be ready for more advanced studies with your system after finishing them.
Best Regards from Moscow,
Alexey





Dear Alexey:
Here are the two blank homework sheets.
For a full time student, these two homeworks should be done in "one" month. I do not know your work schedule, but you can use that schedule as a reference.

Yours truly,
Tienzen






Dear Tienzen,
Thank you very much for the sheets, this is enormous help.
I hope after I filled the Workbook 1 by pencil it will get faster.
At least with the G1 sheet I expect to finish it in a couple of weeks.
Will write back with results after that.
再次谢谢您!
Sinserely yours,
Alexey

Re: Some discussions with my students

PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:49 pm
by Tienzen
Dear Kaser:
Thanks for the email.

By asking the word 物, it shows that you did study my book. The book gives you the first step, and it is designed for someone to learn Chinese words in 90 days from the beginning of not knowing a single word. If anyone knew a lot of Chinese words already, he will have difficult time to come out of the traps of those old knowledge while a new kid will not have that baggage.

However, with that book, you should overcome those difficulties by learning it as a new kid, without any preconceived knowledge. And, you need to learn a few tools, not a single set of rules. If you are trapped in a single set of logic, you will have problems.

For 物,
Step 1, with my method of roots and dissection, 物 = 牛 (cow or ox) + 勿 (flying flag).
Step 2, decoding, you should consider all attributes of 牛 and 勿:
a. the phonetic of 物 is identical to 勿, so 物 is a phonetic loan word. Thus, 物 is a kind of cow or something related to cow.
b. 勿, as a flying flag, it symbolizes of sending a message. In general, the most urging message is to stop an action, not to encourage one. So, the derived meaning of 勿 is 非 (not be), 毋 (should not), etc.
c. inferring, 牛 is big and should not be mistaken as not a cow. 物 looks as a cow but not a cow, then what it is? It can be anything.

You have chosen a word which takes a few tools (turns) to infer its current meaning. If you did not pick up this word with luck, you are seemingly getting the ropes of this new Chinese etymology.
Congratulation.

Yours,
Tienzen





Dear Tienzen,
Many thanks for your wonderful explanation and dissection of the word which had been puzzling me since long. If you don't mind I would like to ask about the module #265 which "depicts the scene of ivy growth". Out of all 300 modules, this is the one which is the most difficult to comprehend for me. In particular what sense does the "intelligence word" make in this character? The meaning in the dictionary is long, vast, extended which somehow might derive from the "ivy growth". Please explain your understanding.
Referring to the example 1 in the Introduction/ Instruction, namely "king's seal": where are the G2 words 宛 and its G3 words listed in word list at the end of the book? I can't find this...
My last question for today is referring to 候: which root is the upper part on the right side? Is this a variant of one of the listed roots? Which one?

I am looking forward to your kind answers and further explanations,

Best regards,
Gottfried




Dear Gottfried:
You are really getting deep. This is very good.

For the word 曼, it has three roots, 曰 (intelligent speaking), 网 (net) and 又 (hand).

In China, intelligence is always viewed as much superior as force (hand). So, 最 is 曰 (intelligent speaking) over 取 (taking). Taking with intelligent speaking is the best way. So, 最 connotes the superlative now. 周 (all encompassing) is 用 (using) over 口 (mouth). Spreading with mouth (not hand) can be all over the places. So, when the force (hand) is suppressed by intelligent speaking, it spreads all over, the same as the ivy growth.

"...where are the G2 words 宛 and its G3 words listed in word list at the end of the book? I can't find this... "

The word list lists about 7,000 commonly used words (about 12% of the total). If a student learns all those words, he should be as great as the Chinese college graduate on Chinese written language. So, the list is not all encompassing. Many examples in the lessons are not listed in it. Do I answer your question?

The right radical of the word 侯 is "human chi (root 12)" over "heaven's chi (root 1)" over 矢 (arrow). It depicts a human chi is supported by the heaven's chi and carries an arrow (signifies power and prestige). Commoners had no arrow those days. So, 侯 is a royalty. 候 is a phonetic loan word, to welcome a 侯 long way out from the village; the tradition is 10 miles (里). So, it has the root 82.

Yours,
Tienzen




Dear Tienzen,
I am becoming more and more "addicted" to understand and comprehend the etymology of the Chinese characters. However, I still have many questions and feel somehow stuck when seeing even simple characters which I simply cannot dissect yet. One of such example is 新 or 商...

On the first page of lessen two of your Chinese Etymology, you mention that there are around 500 sound modules. You only introduce 300 in this book. At the end of lessen two, you refer to your teacher's handbook for further information. Do you mean that all the remaining sound modules are introduced there? If yes, could you please tell the exact title of the book and where I can buy it?

I have been reading with great interest your weekly discussions. You gave valuable background information and elaborated on the theory. I now even enjoy more the examples you are giving. This allows to practice. The only suggestion I would like to make here is following: in order to make this work even more beneficial and comprehensive to more people, could you consider to keep your analysis of each character bilingual. Sometimes, an explanation in English makes things easier and at times even more precise. I really would appreciate this to learn faster and more precise especially when you will discuss more complicated characters in the future.

Many thanks and best regards,
Gottfried




Dear Gottfried:
Do you have my book "Chinese Etymology Workbook One"?

If you have it, you should work on it, the first dissection and then the second dissection (decoding) for G1.

The dissection and decoding for any word above G1 is quite easy. Indeed, the G1 dissection and decoding is the most difficult. After you master the 1100 G1 dissection, you should have no problem anymore.

I am sending you the examples of G1 for the first 50 roots. This is a lesson which I charge $1,000 for my students. You can do this yourself, and I will send you the answers after you done the home work, and this will be free for you.

After you learned the characters, you should begin to learn reading. This is why I begin to send email out with more and more Chinese short sentences in it. When you are ready for learning the reading, send me an email.

Yours truly,
Tienzen Gong





Dear Tienzen,

I would like to thank you for your kindness for having sent me your list of G1 words. I will do the dissection work of these 1100 characters slowly. This is a very useful exercise.

I would like to share my work with you which I have done so far, namely dissecting the modules. Everything in black is from your book, everything in red is from me (mostly semantics).
Meanwhile, I am looking forward in receiving your weekly emails for leaning more examples.

Thank you again and wishing you all the best,
Gottfried






Dear Mr. kaser:
Thanks for the email. I am doing fine and my best wish to you too.

I have not sending those weekly emails for a while. I just translated 《論 語》 Confucius --- the Analects: A new translation. It will be a great material for someone who wants to learn Chinese written language, both on the word level and the grammar level.
It is available at chinese-idioms/confucius-the-analects-a-new-translation-t2062.html .

Give me a line anytime during your convenience.

Yours truly,
Tienzen Gong






Dear Mr. Gottfried:
Merry Christmas and happy New Year!
Dr. Noam Chomsky (at MIT) is the greatest linguist at our time. His "Linguistics Manifesto" was the central pillar of our modern linguistics. Yet, with a Google search the key word "Linguistics Manifesto" today, a new "Linguistics Manifesto" ranks #1 now, way ahead of Dr. Chomsky's.
Please do the Google search on "Linguistics Manifesto" for this.

The book "Linguistics Manifesto" is published by "Lambert Academic Publishing" (124 pages, ISBN 978-3-8383-9722-1), and it is available at,

amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/Linguistics-Manif ... 552&sr=8-3

Barnes & Noble
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Lingui ... +manifesto
Yours,
Tienzen Gong

Re: Some discussions with my students

PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:52 pm
by Tienzen
Dear Mr. Gant:
Thanks for the email and your interest in my program. You can check out the following two samples,

Preview the book "Chinese Etymology"
http://www.chinese-word-roots.org/intro10.htm

Sample Textbook for AP Chinese
http://www.chinese-word-roots.org/cw9.htm



Yours,
Tienzen Gong






Subject: Chinese
Hello, I have lived and worked in China for 18 months. I've studied Chinese a lot. I don't know how many hours, but hundreds, if not thousands. I find your approach to learning the language fascinating and would like an example of the text book. I am familiar with all the radicals and maybe know ~4000 characters, and yet I'm unable to grasp an understanding of a Chinese newspaper, simply due to character combinations.
I would be - and my small group of learners - extremely grateful if you let me see your course

best wishes
Tom Gant





Dear Mr. Gant:
"...are you simply guessing at the approximate etymology of the characters ...?"
Absolutely no guessing.

Seemingly, you have studied my work somewhat. Yet, without my direction, you cannot get through some barriers just by the info listed online. The "opposite" is not "cliff" but is "deliver to " (root 7, see http://www.prebabel.info/bab002.htm"). Hand against "deliver to" is against, opposite or push away. So, your word is "food" + {deliver to, hand}, which means taking a small chunk from a big pile of food.

Every Chinese word has two meanings.
1. The innate meaning, coming from 100% from the composite of roots. Yet, there are many variants, mutations, camouflages of roots. You must learn these. And, there is no place besides of my school that you can learn them.

2. The meaning for the usage, this can be somewhat a bit different from the innate meaning. Yet, there are always connections between the usages and the innate meaning. This is a major part of the lessens.

How to express colors (the concepts) with pictograph words? Of course, you cannot. White, black, green, etc. are constructed in different ways. For red, it is (silk, engineering). Why? The dying silk was the biggest industry in the ancient China, and the red color is "the" most demanded color.

"I would love to buy your book and/or study online at your school,..."

The book will set you a good foundation. If you want to learn the whole 10 yards, you should enroll in the school.

Yours,
Tienzen Gong






Dear Mr Gong,

I have spent the past 48 hours gathering as much information as I can on radicals and meanings, and attempting to apply your deconstruction approach to random characters from my dictionary. It's become a sort of frantic obsession, and I do admit is actually extremely exciting.
It has, however, shown varied levels of success. At best I could conclude by breaking down characters to their barest roots you develop some sort of mnemomic way of learning.

When I used to learn Chinese characters, I did so purely through repetition and memory. However, linking the etymology and semantics certainly increases retention rates in recalling how to write and read characters.

Ok, so you express this theory:
B = root(s) + one P, the pronunciation of B is P.
P = root + root(s), the pronunciation of P is assigned, as sound module.
Though, everyone who has studied Chinese for some time is aware of this fact, that usually the right side of the character pertains to pronunciation and the left to meaning (or combination of both). Which explains why sometimes I can say a character, but have no idea of the meaning.

Anyway, that aside, I see you have reconstructed the Kangxi radical system into categories, which is a beautiful thing in itself.
Am I to presume then that your school teaches many meanings behind each of these radicals, or enough meanings to emcompass meanings behind the characters?

I remain naturally sceptical, though fascinated. If your school does provide what it says it does - and I have the growing confidence it does - then it is certainly worth any sum of money. However, at this stage it remains (don't take this the wrong way) an expensive risk. Is there anything such as a trial or try?

Thank you for your replies, I find your work fascinating.






Dear Mr. Gant:

"When I used to learn Chinese characters, I did so purely through repetition and memory."

Not just you but "everyone" in the world, including me.

"It has, however, shown varied levels of success."
By knowing my roots, the professor of Chinese language in Beijing university can get 70%. You can get some too. Yet, without learning the variants, the mutations, the camouflages, no one (except me) can get 100%.

"Is there anything such as a trial or try? "
The study is divided into three sessions. If you are discouraged in the first session, you can stop any further investment.

Yours,
Tienzen Gong





Dear Mr. Gant:
"I've worked solidly on this for the past 4 days and it's starting to make some sense."
Excellent!

"..., so why don't you share your knowledge with the world more widely or with others studying."

My work is well-known around the world.
Google "Chinese etymology", my sites are on the first page.

Google "Linguistics Manifesto", my sites are ranked #1 and #2.
Yours,
Tienzen (Jeh-Tween) Gong





Dear Mr Gong,
So, After dissecting each character from the first 4 levels of HSK (about 2000) I've written up a preliminary list of ~210 radicals. Many of these are the same as the Kangxi radicals, but with very different meanings.

Still, I've ended up with perhaps 500 characters in which the meaning is almost completely impossible to deduce from face value of the radicals。

For example, the most basic of these characters being 最
I gather 取 is to take or steal, with the 日above it being a cover.

Still, no matter how you look at the radicals, there doesn't seem to be any etymology indicating it as a superlative indicator.

给 for instance, a combination of threads 糸 and gathering 合 doesn't really link into the idea of giving. Unless you make up some mnemonic story in order to remember.

I have to say, I've become quite disheartened at this. Some of the radicals make SO much sense and are so logical that I find myself willing the others to fall into place, though it seems this is not the case.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
Regards






Dear Mr. Gant:
"So, after dissecting each character from the first 4 levels of HSK (about 2000) I've written up a preliminary list of ~210 radicals."

Many of these are the same as the Kangxi radicals, but with very different meanings.
About 80 Kangsi radicals are not in my 220 roots. About 60 my roots are not in the Kangsi radicals. Indeed, some of them have very different meanings.

"Still, I've ended up with perhaps 500 characters in which the meaning is almost completely impossible to deduce from face value of the radicals。 There should be a lot more which are impossible with the ways you are doing.For example, the most basic of these characters being 最, I gather 取 is to take or steal, with the 日above it being a cover. Still, no matter how you look at the radicals, there doesn't seem to be any etymology indicating it as a superlative indicator. 给 for instance, a combination of threads 糸 and gathering 合 doesn't really link into the idea of giving. Unless you make up some mnemonic story in order to remember."

There are special rules of how to read the decomposed roots. The following webpage might be some helps to you. http://www.chineseetymology.com/response.php .

Tienzen Gong

Re: Some discussions with my students

PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:56 pm
by Tienzen
Dear Dr. Gong:
I have read your various short articles on the internet with tremendous interest. You have made a wonderful breakthrough in the structure and etymology of our Chinese characters!

I am also a high energy physicist by training. My professional career has been with the US telecom industry. I am now semi-retired and have more time to learn more about our Chinese culture.

I have several questions:

1. I understand you have published at least 1 book on the Chinese word etymology and structure. Can you give me your book ISBN and tell me where I can purchase a copy of your book?
2. I am interested in the study of Chinese antiques especially in Shang and Zhou bronze pieces. I noticed there is always mentioned of the 2 words:
饕餮
Can you tell me the root words based on your work and the decomposition? I am a Christian and am interested in the sacrifice and the worship aspect in Shang and Zhou dynasties.

3. I am also interested in HongShan culture which predates Shang and Zhou. As you know, this culture predates the bronze age. I am particularly interested in the inscriptions on the jade pieces. For example:

SEE ATTACHED

My question for you as an expert: by studying the strange scripts, will they shed light on the etymology of the current Chinese characters? This is my question only. I have NOT done any study yet on this approach.

In any case, your work posted on the internet has been wonderful! You have really made a breakthrough work on Chinese characters. I feel you may have done the same as the Ancient Greek who made breakthroughs in the current consonant and vowel approach to English and other European words. Congratulations!!!

Best wishes,
F.T. Dao








Dear Dr. Gong:
Can you help me as a fellow high energy physicist with the root and meaning [etymology] of the following Chinese word for mirror:

I understand the left side for metal/bronze but not on the right hand side.

I collected a number of antique Han bronze mirrors and will give a local talk to the local American community here. This is to arouse the interest of our Chinese culture.

Thank you in advance for your help!
Best wishes,
F.T. Dao






Dear Dr. Tao:
It is my policy of not discuss the individual Chinese word with anyone who is not a part of the "Chinese Etymology Institute," either as a student or as a reader of my book. Yet, for two reasons,
1. as a fellow high energy physicist,
2. to arouse the interest of our Chinese culture,
I will take one time exception.

In general, I cannot give you an one sentence answer. In fact, I must teach you some lessons for explaining just one word. This is the reason for the policy. I hope that you can understand this.

First, I must show you one root, the root number 188 (Image) which means violating the heaven or above (higher authority). There are hundreds words having this root. I am showing a few below.

¨Image, root 188 over earth, violating heaven's law (on earth) will face hardship and difficulty.

聿, the handmade item. So, 筆 (with bamboo, it is pen), 書 (with intelligent speech, it is book), 津 (with water, it is harbor), etc.

妻 has three roots (woman, crafty hand [聿 without the two lines] and union). That is, the crafty hand woman who unites with me is my wife.

妾 is a woman who violates heaven's law (the law of husband and wife)

童 is one who is often violating heaven's law in the village.

Note: inside words, the root 188 is often written as 立 [which is another word which is 大 (meaning adult) over 一 (earth) , and it means an adult standing on earth]. There many this type of camouflages in Chinese system. Without knowing these camouflages, you can never decode Chinese words.

音 is derived from the word 言 , the only difference between the two is that there is one addition line in the bottom radical mouth. So, 音 means the sound of speech. Now, you see that the top root of the word 言 is a mutated root 188. So, 言 means violating above with mouth. So, talking to the higher authority is 言 . 語 is 言 吾 which means talking to the colleague.


Now, 章 is 音 (music) over perfection. When a music is at an end, it is a chapter.

意 is music over heart, the heart's music, the mind, the thinking.

竟 is music over child. For a child, the music will never end, that is, the farthest end. So, 竟 means the "true" end.

鐿 is metal beside 竟 (the true end). So, it is an item made of metal and it encompasses the true end (the entire world). The mirror can see the entire world. Furthermore, it is not a phonetic loan word although it has the sound tag of 竟 . This is a deeper issue and I will not discuss it now.

Sincerely Yours,
Tienzen Gong






Dear Dr. Gong:
Heartiest thanks for opening my eyes on Chinese words and making an exception here. In your hands, our Chinese characters/words become alive.

In a much simpler forms, I will incorporate this in my talk to the Jewish community here.

Thanks,
Best wishes,
F.T. Dao

Re: Some discussions with my students

PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:59 pm
by Tienzen
Dear Mr. Chan:

The few examples you showed in your last email are easy words. From those examples,
1. You have some basic ideas now.
2. You still have a small problem to dissect a few words correctly for decoding. Sometimes, one symbol can go one side to belong root a or go the other side to belong root b. However, this can be learned when you get more and more practices.

As I said before, the Chinese system has, in fact, two sub-systems.
1. Composing system -- from roots to words.
2. Camouflage system -- with variants, mutations and phonetics, etc..

The second system is the most difficult one. I am forwarding one email as one example. This word mirror cannot be decoded with system 1. Try it.

Yours,
Tienzen Gong







There seem to be a combination of 監 競 竟 with 鏡 as they all have similar pronunciation.

One says that the gold radical is the form of the bronze mirror with the jing 竟 pronunciation. This last radical indicates the person saying words or playing music. Woudl there be a borrowing of 監 and 競 or 竟 as the right phonetic root with the message of someone looking at the basic to see ones reflecton?

Well this is difficult by using your system alone.

On a second reflection can this radical be considered as a man on top and the brother on the bottom forming a reflection of the bronze mirror on the left竟?

Just thinking about an alternative way of interpreting the word you have sent me.

YC Chan






Dear Mr. Chan:
"Well this is difficult by using your system alone."

Thus far, you have learned a small part of my system 1. My system has three parts as I have mentioned before. After you learn all three, my system becomes very easy, and it can resolve all problems.

" There seem to be a combination of 監 競 竟 with 鏡 as they all have similar pronunciation.

One says that the gold radical is the form of the bronze mirror with the jing 竟 pronunciation. This last radical indicates the person saying words or playing music. Would there be a borrowing of 監 and 競 or 竟 as the right phonetic root with the message of someone looking at the basic to see ones reflecton?"

There are two issues on Chinese phonetics.
1. phonetic loan -- 形 聲 , this is relatively easy but not as easy as the people think as simply plus a sound tag. There is a deep knowledge of how that sound tag was select for a particular word. For the word mirror, it is a phonetic loan word by definition (as its pronunciation is the same as the sound tag). But why was that sound tag chosen? It is not randomly done. Please read page 43, lesson two of the textbook (the quote on Columbia History of the World). It is all wrong about the phonetic loan. Yet, its view is the mainstream view among Chinese scholars.

2. borrowing -- 假 借 , This is the most difficult issue in Chinese etymology. It has, at least, two types of borrowing. The simplest is the phonetic borrowing (not phonetic loan). What you are talking about here is this phonetic borrowing. Seemingly, you have some basic idea. Yet, your explanation in this case is not correct.


"On a second reflection can this radical be considered as a man on top and the brother on the bottom forming a reflection of the bronze mirror on the left 竟?"

The problem here is that you do not know the "original" meaning for the word 竟. It is "music" + "child". From this innate meaning, the original usage was derived.

Yours,
Tienzen Gong






Dear Chan:
The answer for the word 竟 is quite easy. However, if I am telling you the answer now, you will take all for granted.

In the textbook,
A. the lesson one is about the system 1, the axiomatic composing system

B. the lesson two is about the phonetic -- in system 1, the phonetic plays very little in it. However, the phonetic does play big role in Chinese etymology. And, this is a very deep subject. I have mentioned two in my last email.
1. Phonetic loan
2. Phonetic borrowing
There is something more, please re-read Prebabel (Chinese) at http://www.prebabel.info/bab015.htm

On the contrary, my "Chinese Etymology" is significantly different from their works. The fundamental difference is that the characters of Lii set are not o-blobs but are t-blobs in "Chinese Etymology." Thus,
word token -- t-blob (B), with internal structure, composed with roots.
word sound -- t-plop (P), a sound tag (radicals, composed of roots) is found in the word token.
word meaning -- t-glob (G), an innate meaning of the word token can be read out loud from its composing roots.

In "Chinese Etymology," there are,
220 word roots (+ 50 variants)
about 500 P (sound modules, 300 are listed in the book Chinese Etymology).

Thus, the "construction" equations in PreBabel (Chinese) for the Lii set are as follow,
B = root(s) + one P, the pronunciation of B is P.
P = root + root(s), the pronunciation of P is assigned, as sound module.
G = there are two cases.
G = root(s) + one P, the sound of the P is not part of the meaning.
G = root(s) + one P, the sound of the P plays some or important roles for the meaning.

Yet, there is one advanced equation.
B(a) = root + root(s), without a P.
G(a) = root(a) + root(s) is a synonym of B(x).
P(a), the pronunciation of B(a) = P(B(x))

This is the most bizarre equation in linguistics that I have ever seen.

C. lesson three -- the introduction of camouflage system.

After you have read the above, I will show you the answer.

Yours,
Tienzen Gong






On reading and rereading your various websites, I come to realize that learning only the 220 roots are not enough.

One needs to know the 50 variants and the rest of those characters (not within the horizontal root system) by heart! Am I right there?

Any way I still find dissecting and synthesizing them difficult by using the 220 roots alone. The last exercise in the exercise book took me a long time and I had to repeatedly used the dictionary before I can get meanings out of the 220 systems.

Your completed illustration with the 300 sound module contains a number of usage at variance to my past experience and explanations in the dictionary. That makes it difficult for me to record within my memory on which is the conventional explanation and which are under the 220 root system.

Looking at the 6500 words list gave me another hair raising sensation because I cannot make head of tale over many of them.

May be I have to go back to the 220 root system. In fact every morning, after my breakfast I would rehearse the 220 roots.

Life is still difficult with implementing the 220 roots for my arena as yet.

For the word 鏡 I thought it would be initiated by the word 監 indicating a person lower her head to use the plane water surface as a mirror in ancient time. Later on a 金 radical was added to it to indicate the bronze mirror was used in later century.

With the mutual loan 轉注 the right radical 竟 was used resulting in the word 鏡.

I am aware that the right radical means a person saying words or making music. Some would interpret the 競 as two person competing while the 竟 was a simplified and mutated form.

I don’t know how to interpret the 竟 and gold radicals resulting with the concept of mirror as yet.

I wonder if it is possible to get the teacher's book where your detail explanation was given for the exercise?

Thanking you for your advise and help, I am eager to get the firm hold on the 220 root system (though without success at the moment).

YC Chan






Dear Mr. Chan:
"On reading and rereading your various websites, I come to realize that learning only the 220 roots are not enough."

The 220 roots are the basic, the "first" step. There are many more steps after that.


"One needs to know the 50 variants and the rest of those characters (not within the horizontal root system) by heart! Am I right there?"

Yes, you must know them by heart. Otherwise, you cannot dissect, let alone to decode.


"Any way I still find dissecting and synthesizing them difficult by using the 220 roots alone. "

For decoding, you must dissect the word to its meaning compose unit, not always back to the 220 roots. The meaning units are often compound roots or G1, G2,... words. Of course, the meaning of those meaning units can be decoded by their composing roots most of the time, when the contribution of the verbal (phonetic) part is nil.

***** very important -- before you can master the art and science of decoding, do digest (memorize) all examples in Lesson 2 and lesson 3.



"For the word 鏡 I thought it would be initiated by the word 監 indicating a person lower her head to use the plane water surface as a mirror in ancient time. Later on a 金 radical was added to it to indicate the bronze mirror was used in later century.

With the mutual loan 轉注 the right radical 竟 was used resulting in the word 鏡.

I am aware that the right radical means a person saying words or making music. Some would interpret the 競 as two person competing while the 竟 was a simplified and mutated form."


No. I did not select this word by myself. It was a question of Dr. Dao who is a Chinese physicist working in the FermiLab. However, this is a good example for the entire system, the step one, two, three, ...

The book "Chinese Etymology" was copyrighted in December 2007, about three years ago. In fact, many great advancements were made since then. Thus, the system are divided into three parts.

1. Websites -- all info on websites are free. There are enough info to convince a person about this new discovery if he can be convinced. If anyone is not convinced by the websites, no further effort will be make on him.

2. Published books -- After fully digesting those books, a person will master the Chinese Etymology 70%. In those books, most of the issues are discussed, although there are only some (not all) examples for some vital issues, such as the contribution of phonetic on the system.

3. Chinese Etymology Institute (CEI established in July 2009) -- CEI provides the completed info and the results of the most recent researches.


"I wonder if it is possible to get the teacher's book where your detail explanation was given for the exercise?"

I have three groups.

1. Readers -- who reads my books. I will only provide some guidance for reading the books, not teaching nor about the newest researches.

2. Students -- who enroll in the CEI, he will be taught the whole system and the results of the most recent researches.

3. Associates -- who are formal students. While some students graduate and are gone. Some students are interested in working with CEI as a life mission, and they become the associates of me. No tuition is charged for associates when they continue to study from me. At CEI, we do have study groups. The associates can become group leaders. The associates can also open branch campus for CEI as a profit center.


"I don’t know how to interpret the 竟 and gold radicals resulting with the concept of mirror as yet. "

After you have mastered the lesson 2 and 3, I will show you the answer on this, as those two lessons are needed to understand the answer.

Yours,
Tienzen Gong





Dear Mr. Chan:
"I don’t know how to interpret the 竟 and gold radicals resulting with the concept of mirror as yet. "

After you have mastered the lesson 2 and 3, I will show you the answer on this, as those two lessons are needed to understand the answer.


If you have done the study of lesson 3, you now have the foundation for decoding the word 鏡 . There are two steps.

1. Go to page 21, lesson three of CE textbook, on "Indirect and implicit contribution:"
The word X has the sound of word Y, and the word X has the same meaning as word Y.


2. Go to page 137 of the book "Chinese Word Roots and Grammar".

The word B has the original meaning as X. Often, the word B gains more meaning as X, Y, ... In order to regain its original meaning, a word B1 was created to represent the original word B, such as, 欲 means 慾 originally. Yet, 欲 acquires many more meanings than its original meaning. So, a new word 慾 was created to regain its original meaning. There are many more such examples. In our case, the original meaning of 竟 is 音 over child 儿 . Child's sound represents the mother tongue, a dialect. In China, every dialect demarcates a territory ( 境 ). That is, the original meaning for 竟 was territory ( 境 ). Yet, 竟 acquired many more meanings, such as "at end", etc.. Thus, a word 境 was created to regain the original meaning of 竟.

Now, we go back to point 1. Why does 竟 pronounce as it is? the same sound as 禁. In China, when one goes into a new 境 ( 竟 ), he must ask about the 禁 (what is the traditions and taboos of the new place, 入 竟 問 禁). Thus, 竟 pronounces as 禁 .

Now, we know that 竟 ( 音 over child 儿 ) means a territory ( 境 ), demarcated by a dialect. 鏡 is a metal product which is able to reflect a territory as the mirror can.

Yours,
Tienzen Gong






Wishing you and your family a very happy Lunar Chinese New Year.

Thanks for the answer for the mirror character.

I am still working hard on the dissecting the 1st generation of the roots and will send you the written "homework" to see if I do that properly.

As suggested I am also learning the non-horizontal G1 and G2 of the basic roots too.

You also mention in your 2006 book that one cannot understand the Chinese characters without knowing 說文解字. I am starting to read the book and its commentary currently.

I wonder if I can qualify as your student or even associate!

Wishing you all the success in continuing to promote the Chinese culture via your excellent academic contribution.

I am attempting to do the same thing like your good self but with 1/100th of your brain power. Like Lao Zi's directive that one must not seek for money or fame as these will contaminate our progress. For all these recent years I am trying only to find out ways of helping my children and other learners in acquiring the Chinese language easier.

Recently I found out a new book on the "New Science of the Brain" when the authors postulated the concept of extended mind beyond the physical brain. They say that there are system outside within the environment with which one can use in facilating the cognitive processes. Your Root system is one of those envoronmental embedded structure which quick learners can utilize by associating the external system to speed up the inner cognitive processes. If they know the system then they need not memorize each character separately. I will make association of this 2010 cognitive advances with your system in the near future. The books are: Mark Rowland "The New Science of the Mind" MIT book, Lawrence Shapio "Embodied Cognition""Routledge Book.

YC Chan






Dear Chan:
"Wishing you and your family a very happy Lunar Chinese New Year."

Same to you, for a great new year.

"I wonder if I can qualify as your student or even associate!"

As soon as you have mastered my system, you can choose to become a part of my school, that is, by your choice. Then, I will introduce you into my circle, as a group leader of a study group or a regional business associate.

"Wishing you all the success in continuing to promote the Chinese culture via your excellent academic contribution."

Thanks. After mastering my system, you will know more about Chinese etymology than any Chinese language professor in Beijing university, Taiwan university, Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard, Yale, etc..

"...one must not seek for money or fame as these will contaminate our progress."

Indeed, money and fame are not good objectives. By knowing the Chinese etymology now, it will be a disgrace to let all young Chinese people to waste their youth by continuing learning Chinese written language via the old way. Yet, it will take great efforts to change the old way. When we success, the money and fame will come naturally as a bonus. That is, we must not withdraw from our obligation for those young people because of our lacking of interest in the money and fame.


"...there are system outside within the environment with which one can use in facilating the cognitive processes. "

Very interesting. Let me know more on this later. Please review my book "Sexevolution" (at
http://sexevolution.wikia.com/wiki/Sexevolution_Wiki ) and to see whether there is any similarity between the two (mine and Shapio's).

Yours,
Tienzen Gong






Thanks for the reply.
I am working hard all these days on the project and some side reading apart for caring for my family.

The new cognitive theory mentions that one has been using some systems established outside of mind embedded in the environment like the language system and the mathematic (short cut) system and yet claiming that these are part of the cognitive processes within the head. Some of these mental processes are using the external systems without which the cognitive tasks cannot be completed. So for some mental processes it is not just "can use" as listed below but "must use" without which the mental function cannot be carried out.
YC Chan