The origin and evolution of Chinese characters (hanzi, 漢字), the reasons for its stability and longevity, and its future are some core issues in the study of Chinese characters. We have proposed three research models to tackle these problems: (1). Taking advantage of the logographic nature of Chinese characters, we have used a mathematical model to show that the Chinese writing should have already existed no later than 2100 BCE. (2). We have adopted the “funnel model” of protein folding in biochemistry to illustrate the landscape at the beginning of Chinese writing and how it evolved into a stable writing system. (3). We have proposed an ecological model for studying the past and future of Chinese characters. Based on these models, together with systematic archaeological study of pottery inscriptions and DNA analysis of human skeletons unearthed from various neolithic cultural sites, this article discuss specific issues related to the genesis, the longevity and the future growth of Chinese characters in the context of ecological model of Chinese characters. Particularly, how Chinese characters can be prepared to respond to future challeneges in a world of globalization and dataism.
The Nanjing Museum has published the photographs of some of the oracle bone fragments from its collection. After perusing them, the author believes that the digital color photographs of these materials can provide some insights into the previous cataloguing of the oracle bones in question and the interpretation of the inscriptions they bear. In the article, the author provides the examples and relevant discussion of the cases in which the photographs are: “useful for correct interpretation of an inscription”, “useful for identifying forgeries”, “useful for evaluating rejoinings”, “useful for supplementing information”, and “useful for clarifying the information on the duplicate fragments”.
The four angels standing on the four corners of the earth and the four winds of the earth by season are a same concept in a Shang Oracle Bone inscriptions. By the Yellow River in middle China, there are easterly winds during spring, southerly winds during summer, westerly winds during autumn and an northerly winds during winter. For example, when the Shang people saw the monsoon coming from the east for several days, they believed it shows that the angel of the east had come here, and announced that spring had come and they started farming. Even today the farmers are not only based on the calendar’s date to farm, also check up the new temperature keep for several days. Similarly when the southern monsoon comes and keeps, the Shang people know it is summer. However, due to seasonal lag, May, June, July, August and September are the warmest months in the middle China, it is not generally recognized that the four seasons on the calendar are equal. Two unearthed Shang bone tablets record the names (features) of the four angels on the four corners of the earth and their four winds of the earth, but so far wrongly explaining seven out of the eight characters in the bone script which name the four-end-wind inscription bone tablet. This paper deciphers the following bone scripts: The character Vibrate震 ( ), pictured that a mouth ( ) issues three forces ( ), which means shouting, the god shouting means thunderclap, the dog’s shouting means shock to awe, the belly’s shouting means pregnancy and birth娠. The character for sprout, separating out, spearing out and exploding out is depicted as Xi 析 ( ) , depicting an axe ( ) to a tree ( ). Thus, on the famous four-end-wind inscription bone tablet, the first inscription says 東方曰析，風曰震 “the east angel names Xi ‘dawn or budding’, the spring wind means thunder or birth (or the spring wind angle names thunder)”. The character Assist襄 ( ) is a picture of a host ( ) around two aliens (夷， ) and walk (行 ), it means the host helps the aliens to walk around his land. The picture is also seen as a Multiracial Zone, like a soil in which several grasses root togerther, thus it means Soil 壤. And the multi-race fusion leads culture prosperity, thus it means Rich and Varied 穰. The character Grow 長 ( ) is a person figure with long hair, in which the plant grows in a way similar to the man hair grows. One of the strategies is for the scribe to create a narrative picture (Chinese character) on the parable of the most familiar thing (for example, human body parts). Thus, the second inscription reads 南方曰襄，風曰長 “the south angel names Rich or Assistance, the summer wind means growth”. The character Dye 染 ( ), depicting a tree 木 ( ) with hatching 彡 ( ), it means the tree with multicolors, or dye is made from plants. The character Bride-kidnapping 彝 ( ), depicting two hands holding a girl with her arms back, it means marriage and extends the meaning of the cardinal law. In other perspective, it means Capture, Receive and Harvest 收 ( ). One shape is with two functions in Chinese characters. Thus, the third inscription says 西方曰染，風曰收 “the west angel names Dye or Color, the autumn wind means harvest”. The character Hug, Pack, Wrap and Womb 勹（ ）is a figure of a woman bows down and hugs a baby but the baby is omitted. Similarly a script for riding a horse is depicted as Yi 夷 and Qi 騎 ( ， ， ), the horse is omitted. The character Destroy毀 ( ), composed of an honoust man ( ) under the hand-mallet ( ). Thus, the fourth inscription says 北方曰包，風曰毀 “the north angel names Pack or Seed, the winter wind means destruction”. The first three pairs of characters Sprout-Birth, Enrich-Growth, Colour-Harvest are mutual glossing, the last pair of characters Pack-Destroy is in opposite, which forms a cycle.
Compared with Sui and Tang Dynasties, the variant and vulgar characters were reduced, and the use of characters tended to be unified during the Song Dynasty. However, there are a lot of folk characters in the stone inscriptions of the Song Dynasty, which are valuable materials for studying the history of Chinese characters. Nonetheless, the folk characters in the stone inscriptions of the Song Dynasty have not been given enough attention in academia and so far only limited studies have touched on this topic. This article first expounds the research value of variant characters on stone inscriptions in the Song Dynasty, and defines the concept of variant characters on stone inscriptions in the Song Dynasty. Then, in the form of illustration, it studies 10 examples of variant characters in stone inscriptions in the Song Dynasty, with a table of variant characters on stone inscriptions in the Song Dynasty, in order to provide reference for the study of medieval characters and the development history of Chinese characters.
The primary meaning of“杜撰” is “baseless fabrication”. In Luo Min yulu (洛閩語錄), the annotation is “madeup interpretation of ancient words”. Huilin pointed out that some Buddhist sutra translators regarded “頷劑” as “㜝懠”’s Phonetic annotation, which was a hasty fabrication. For the annotation of the word “肚撰” in 近代漢語詞典 (Modern Chinese Dictionary), “娢儕” should be replaced by “㜝懠” as we follow Huilin’s critics. Drawing on the notes from慧琳音義, the connotation of “杜撰” in the 3rd edition of 辭源 explores its original meaning. In Luo Min yulu, “脱空” is annotated as a synonym of “杜撰”. According to 朱子語類, “脱空” means “out of thin air, falsification”, “being baseless, random, chaotic”, “fabricating, boasting, Lying, exaggerating”, etc.
This study is aimed to provide fundamental data for expanding the scope and dimensions of Sino words research, and to secure a comprehensive perspective that encompasses the ancient, modern and dialect forms of Sino words in Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese. In order to achieve this goal, it is necessary to construct the wide-ranging, multi-dimensional database with maximum coverage, and this study was planned to explore specific ways to realize this. East Asian languages have exchanged cultural and linguistic influences through Chinese characters for thousands of years. Therefore, the study of Sino words requires a radial and reticular approach that can closely connect their complex historical and regional layers. However, the previous researches have revealed limitations such as inadequate examination of major languages, inappropriate use of materials, or inability to analyze rich linguistic features that exist in various dialects within Chinese or differences in words between North and South Korean. To overcome these limitations, this study confirms the need for a database that can comprehensively examine Sino words in the four languages of Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese, without distinguishing between base and surface forms, and encompassing all morphological forms with Chinese character elements. This database should include both archaic and contemporary, or even modern new words, as well as various dialectical forms in North and South Korea and different regions of China. To be utilized effectively in research, it should also include information on usage frequency and educational vocabulary levels, enabling the confirmation of the status of a word in contemporary language. Rather than providing definitive information like a dictionary, it is more useful to provide supplementary information such as the reference and literature, increasing the accessibility of materials for researchers and increasing the possibility of implementing the database. In response to the aforementioned need, this paper proposes the construction of a relational database consisting of 12 entity tables and presents specific procedures and methods for implementing it. Despite the difficulties of constructing a relational database for vast amounts of data and the burden on servers, we expect that a wide-ranging, multi-dimensional database of East Asian Sino words will contribute to existing research on Chinese characters, as well as vocabulary and concept research and education.
Idamsokchan (耳談續纂, Additions to an Earful of Conversation) is an early collection of Korean proverbs capturing 418 proverbs from China and Korea with Chinese translation, most of which are social proverbs. Through a contrastive analysis of the formation mechanism of social proverbs in Idamsokchan, this study explores the influence of Chinese and Korean mindsets on language. Specifically, the study analyzes the structure, semantics, and topic of social proverbs from both Chinese and Korean sources in Idamsokchan. The results indicate that the influence of concrete-versus-abstract and practical-versus-theoretical thinking on proverbs varies. Generally, Korean proverbs exhibit a tendency towards abstract thinking, whereas Chinese proverbs are characterized by an emphasis on concrete thinking. The structural characteristics of Korean and Chinese proverbs are distinct. Korean proverbs are typically formed as a single sentence, whereas Chinese proverbs often employ fixed sentence patterns and connectives. In addition, the syntax of Chinese translations of Korean proverbs in Idamsokchan tends to be morphological. Regarding semantics, a greater proportion of Korean proverbs are of a philosophical nature when compared to Chinese proverbs. While Korean proverbs employ a simplex network and extend metaphors through contrast, Chinese proverbs are adept at using the creative double-scope network. In terms of topic selection, both Korean and Chinese proverbs, cover eight types of topics, using interrogative pronouns as subjects. Nonetheless, the contrastive-topic structure is more commonly observed in Chinese proverbs. Moreover, while the first-person singular pronoun is commonly utilized as a topic in Korean proverbs, the equivalent in Chinese proverbs is the third-person pronoun 其 (qi).
Translators of chemical translations in the late Qing Dynasty translated element terms in several ways: connected with Chinese natural object nouns and recorded new meanings with the same characters of the nouns, created translated names, used common words, borrowed from inherent Chinese characters, and created new character. Translators use or create characters according to different motivations, and the selected characters may accord with the components of the characters coincidentally, resulting in one character with multiple translations. As different translators translated the foreign names of the same element, different motivations for selecting/creating characters, or the same motivations with different components of the characters, resulting in different characters with the same usage. Because of the influence of the words used in the translation of Hua Xue Jian Yuan and the requirements for the systematic use of words, most of the words used for liberal translation that are related to the natural nouns have been retained, and the other words have been almost eliminated. The reasons for the elimination include: the selection of inherent Chinese characters leads to an imbalance in the Chinese character system, the inconvenience of the recognition/use of borrowed and created characters, the phenomenon of one character with multiple translations and different characters with the same usage, etc.
It has been more than three years since the emergence of the COVID-19 at the end of 2019. The COVID-19 epidemic has had a certain impact on human’s normal production and life, and it is also constantly changing people’s social cognition, which are reflected in the vocabulary. There are many new words invented and the words with a sudden increase in frequency appeared. This paper selects the important Chinese words related to the COVID-19 epidemic from 2019 to 2022 as the research objects, and divides these words into three categories: COVID-19 cognition, government measures and social life. By sorting out the meanings and usages of the words, this paper analyzes and explores the development trend of Chinese social cognition reflected by these words according to the timeline. The research found that these words reflect the gradual concretization of disease names caused by the COVID-19, the proliferation of the names of mutated virus, the sudden high frequency of related words, the strong generalization and creativity of words in specific fields, lots of related words come out in the era of intelligence and so on, as well as the spiritual thoughts and cultural cognition of Chinese people contained in the vocabulary.
Shenchuangtu (神創圖), written by an unknown author, discusses dots and strokes (筆劃), writing rules (筆法), and structures (結構) for regular script (楷書), a Chinese character font style. Dating back to the late 19th or early 20th century, Shenchuangtu begins with the Eight Principles of Yong (永字八法) and presents the names of seventy-two Chinese character dots and strokes that compose a character, also explaining ninety-four types of Chinese character structuring rules. It provides such valuable data, yet no systematic research has been conducted to date. As such, introducing the valuable data to the academic field in the present study is of great significance. In this study, Shenchuangtu is examined for its composition and content. Furthermore, Shenchuangtu is compared with Dazijiegou Bashisifa (大字結構八十四法), written by Li Chun (李淳) during the Ming Dynasty (明代). It is expected that this work can present significant research in the study of Korean and calligraphy, as well as Chinese characters.
This paper investigates the dissemination of Jesuit publications regarding China and the impact of Johan Nieuhoff’s illustrations on the emergence of English Chinoiserie during the seventeenth century. Despite England’s lagging behind the Roman Catholic powers in Chinese research, the works of Mendoza and Jesuit scholars such as Trigault, Semedo, and Martini were widely disseminated in Europe and heavily relied upon by English writers. These works played a complex role in challenging and reinforcing prevailing stereotypes about European civilization. Moreover, Nieuhoff’s illustrations, produced by a Dutch merchant, had a significant impact on English Chinoiserie and were widely employed in practical arts. The extensive readership and influence of Nieuhoff’s illustrations serve as a testament to their significance, which can be seen in the variety of ways in which they were used to reflect the popularity of English Chinoiseries. By examining the cultural trends that followed and the translated publications available in seventeenth century England, it becomes apparent that the works of the Jesuit missionaries and Nieuhoff’s illustrations played key roles in shaping English perceptions of China. Furthermore, their influence on European attitudes towards China during this period provides valuable insight into the development of cross-cultural exchange between Europe and China.
Based on the previous studies, this paper intends to comb and sort out the related literature, dialect, foreign languages, images and object data to pushed the research of steamed bread,which is the common cooked wheaten food, into a deeper stage. First of all, this article tries to draw the outline of the evolution of appellation from ancient to present. differentiate and analyze the concept and objective being of other names of steamed bread. What’s more, it explore the named motivation and distinguish different opinions about etymology. In addicion, the Word-formation of steamed bread were analyzed. The study figures out that fillings are wrapped, head shape, smooth without wrinkles are not only the central feature of steamed bread but also as the main bases of its naming motivation. Originally steamed bread was Modifier-head Disyllabic Compounds, and afterwards it became Affixed Double-syllable Words.
To transform old words into new words is a very efficient mode of word derivation in contemporary Chinese, which mainly involves the transformation of word form and the transformation of meaning. In the process of transforming the old words language users have created a lot of new words that are very novel in form or meaning based on the relationship between Chinese characters in terms of sound, shape and meaning or the structural features of Chinese characters. This paper lists more than 130 new appellations including sound-based words, form-based words, meaning-based words and words produced by changing the structure of Chinese characters, names the ways how old words transform into new words as JieYinFuXing, XieYinFuYi, BieJieFuYi, FanBeiFuYi, GaiZiBianXing and describes the transformation process of these words. These lexical phenomenons reflect some language psychology such as pursuing new differences, playing jokes and mental association. They have some impacts on the lexical system of contemporary Chinese as they open up new ways for the generation and change of contemporary Chinese words, they supplement the word-making methods and lead to some unconventional combinations in contemporary Chinese lexis. This paper intends to further clarify the important role of Chinese characters in word creation and word development, and deepen the understanding of Chinese Character study and contemporary Chinese lexicology.
Language is the living fossil of culture and the etymological motivation of vocabulary often contains rich cultural concepts. Therefore, it would be a preferable way to explore the cultural information behind the words by examining their origins. In this article, we explore the naming rationale of ancient weapons and interpret the cultural concepts behind them. The naming rationale of ancient weapons implies the internal relationship between the creation of weapons and everything in nature, the perfect fusion of weapon shape and actual combat function, the efficient use of weapons functions and the inherent constraint of weapons. It reflects the ancients‘ artifact-making ideology of learning from nature, the substance-function thought of “the resemblance of form and identity”, the military thought of making good use of tools and the ritual thought of prohibiting violence.
The (Hanilseonman) New Dictionary is a multilingual dictionary of Chinese characters marked in multiple characters. It records the pronunciation and interpretation of Korean, Japanese, Northern Mandarin and Manchurian language corresponding to Chinese characters. There are few Chinese-Korean bilingual dictionaries in modern Korea, and the (Hanilseonman) New Dictionary, which records many Chinese words, is evaluated as the prototype of Chinese-Korean dictionaries. In this study, we examine the Chinese and Korean meanings of the ‘火部’ Chinese monosyllabic cooking verbs in the (Hanilseonman) New Dictionary. We then analyze their meanings, summarize their meaning-positions and classify the semantic fields. Furthermore, the accuracy of their Chinese and Korean interpretations in the (Hanilseonman) New Dictionary is examined, and the prominent interpretation methods and characteristics of the (Hanilseonman) New Dictionary are investigated. This study examines the influence of Modern Times food culture and language, and also points out the problems of Modern Times Chinese-Korean bilingual dictionaries and the direction of future dictionary compilation. This paper discussed the applicability of modern and contemporary Chinese-Korean dictionary definitions, examine the interpretation strategies of modern and contemporary Chinese-Korean dictionaries, summarize their similarities and differences. This paper also discusses the applicability of modern and contemporary Chinese-Korean dictionaries from the perspective of language learners. This study has significance for researchers on the historical development of Chinese-Korean dictionary compilation.
Chu Bamboo Book in Anhui University (vol.2) published in August 2022 (hereinafter referred to as “Anda II” or “An Da Jian”) is the latest collation of the bamboo slips of the Warring States Period in Anhui University by the Research Center for the Development and Application of Chinese Characters of Anhui University, which includes two parts: Zhongni Yue and Cao Mo Chen. Through a preliminary comparison and analysis of the writing phenomena corresponding to the purposes of such articles as Cao Mo Zhi Chen and Zhong Ni Yue in An Da Jian, Cao Mo Zhi Zhen in Shang Bo Jian (Chu Bamboo Book in Shanghai Museum), the author found some special phenomena related to He Wen. For example, although the writing of Cao Mo by An Da Jian seems to have various ways of writing, this way of writing may contain a profound interpretation of the meaning of the text by the scribes at that time. This writing phenomenon is of great value for in-depth consideration: 1.When the two words “Shang Xia (上下)” and “Zhi Suo (之所)” can be taken apart or not, the words that cannot be taken apart are often written as He Wen, and the words that can be taken apart are often not written as He Wen; 2.When the original two words “Jun Zi (君子)” and “Xiao Ren (小人)” cannot be separated, the written form of He Wen may represent a special emphasis. At the same time, through a comparative study of the use of Chinese characters in Cao Mo and Zhongni Yue, we may speculate that although Cao Mo and Zhongni Yue may not belong to the same style of writing, at least in the arrangement of He Wen, There may be some similar writing logic in these two chapters - the speculation about this writing logic may be used in the analysis of other difficult texts in Zhongni Yue.
In actual language corpus, there exists a phenomenon of semantic dislocation between “Du1 (度1)” and “Du2 (度2)”. The sense of “Du1 (度1)” is mainly a noun, but it also has a verb sense of “according to rules”. On the other hand, “Du2 (度2)” is mainly a verb, but it has a noun sense, which is a military term. Based on domain restriction analysis, this paper analyzes the syntactic position, semantic evolution and domain restriction changes of the dislocated semantics, and examines the semantic evolution process of the two. It is found that when the verbal noun “Du (度)” undergoes a part-of-speech change, it is often influenced by external factors of language, leading to a sudden mutation in domain restriction. However, when “Du (度)” is only subject to internal language mechanisms, its part-of-speech does not change, and it only extends new meanings within the domain field and transitional domain field. Therefore, the study of domain restriction has practical significance in the classification of Chinese verbs and nouns.