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Freitag, 21. November 2014

Chinese sign tables


English

Something I really like to do is the cre­at­ing of such tables.

主 (zhǔ)
mas­ter
木 (mù)
tree
山 (shān)
moun­tain
亻 (rén)
hu­man
住 (zhù)
to live
休 (xiū)
to rest
仙 (xiān)
im­mor­tal
氵 (shuǐ)
wa­ter
注 (zhù)
to in­ject
沐 (mù)
to wash one's hair
汕 (shàn)
fish trap
木 (mù)
tree
柱 (zhù)
pil­lar
林 (lín)
forest
杣 (shan)
tim­ber
  Small ver­sion:


It is show­ing very well how most of the Chinese char­ac­ters are con­struc­ted: As a phono-se­mant­ic com­pound. In the table's first row are the phon­et­ic (zhu, mu, shan) and in the first column the se­mant­ic ("hu­man", "wa­ter", "tree") com­pon­ents. In­side the cells there're the com­pounds. These take the sense of the se­mant­ic com­pon­ent, which of­ten are Chinese rad­ic­als, and the sound of the phon­et­ic com­pon­ent, as you can see in the table. (Note, that 休 and 林 aren't phono-se­mant­ic com­punds, they're com­pound ideo­graphs, look here: Chinese char­ac­ter clas­si­fic­a­tion. That's why they're pro­nounced oth­er­wise.)
Chinese char­ac­ters can­not only be used as phon­et­ic com­pon­ent xor se­mant­ic com­pon­ent, they can be both, e. g. 木 in the table. There's also no fixed po­s­i­tion and num­ber of the com­pon­ents. A (phono-se­mantic­ally) com­posed char­ac­ter can also be used as the phon­et­ic com­pon­ent in an­oth­er char­ac­ter.
If a Chinese speak­er sees an ideo­graph in a text and doesn't know how to pro­noun­ci­ate it, s/he tries one of the com­pon­ents as phon­et­ic one for read­ing it aloud (look here: Youbi­an du­bi­an).

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