Talk:Shuowen Jiezi

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Is 慮 a combination of 虍 and 思?[edit]


Why did you write: "慮 is not a combination of 虍 and 思"? I always thought it was. Wouldn't you be concerned if you had to think of a tiger?
Sebastian 02:16, 2005 Mar 3 (UTC)

[1]. --Menchi 04:52, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
As Menchi's link show, not all Chinese characters are quite straightforward. The character "to ask" 問 (问) wèn is not listed under door 門 (门) mén but under mouth 口 kǒu, since the action involve the mouth, but the word has the door phonetic. Dylanwhs 18:16, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Of course not all characters are straightforward. There has been lots of discussion which constituents of a character are phonetic, and which carry which meaning. I personally don't see much evidence for the "tiger" being used to mean "stripes"; there are other meanings to "tiger", and other elements to represent "stripes", but that's beside the point.
Dylanwhs's second(?) point is correct, as well. The situation that there are characters with two or more radicals is one of most commonplace issues in Chinese character dictionaries. But that's not a question of "right" or "wrong". It always has been up to the author of a given dictionary under which to list them. Hadamitzky and Spahn e.g. list 問 under 門.
OT. If you take different modern dictionaries, then there are some very different assignments of the radical to characters where there are more than one potential radical. As I recall, PG O'Neill's reference book on the joyo kanji, like Spahn and Hadamitzky are two which differ from Chinese dictionary sources too. I'll have a look up 慮 in Duan Yucai's dictionary, and get back to answer the point below later. Dylanwhs 23:56, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)
But what does this all have to do with my question why TAKASUGI wrote "慮 is not a combination of 虍 and 思"?
Sebastian 21:55, 2005 Mar 4 (UTC)
I think I know why Shinji said that, but the fact cannot be ascertained from looking in Shuowen Jiezi, after checking Duan's verbose explanation. One must go to an even older source of Chinese characters - those found on jinwen - bronze inscription. The original character for lǜ 慮 was actually a combination of lǚ 呂 and xīn 心, where the former is the phonetic. I've added this to the article. Dylanwhs 08:03, 5 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for adding this interesting bit of information. But I must say, if this is supposed to be an example for how "arbitrary" Xu Shen's categorization was then it was more systematic than any modern work. It's absurd to call a dictionary "arbitrary" because it doesn't classify its entries by their old forms! Who would expect the word "reed" to appear under "H", just because in Old English it was spelled "hreod"? Sebastian 09:21, 2005 Mar 5 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification here and in the article! I think I now know what you both mean. I agree that it would be wrong to jump to etymological conclusions based on the 說文解字. I therefore moved your example together with the following paragraph and hope that expresses what you meant. Please feel free to edit it or move it back if it isn't - I'm sure you know more about the 說文解字 than I do.
Sebastian 07:00, 2005 Mar 10 (UTC)
Sorry for my late reply. I didn't notice this talk page. 慮, 虜, and 盧 have the same phonetic radical (Mojikyo 032705, unavailable in Unicode). Probably they are not good examples of the obsoleteness of Xǔ Shèn's explanation, because many dictionaries just follow him in this case even today, ignoring oracle scripts. But I think it's so clear that the common part of 慮, 虜, and 盧 must be a phonetic radical because they have similar pronunciations. An ideophonetic compound is easily divided into two radicals, one phonetic and one semantic, like 問 consists of the phonetic radical 門 and the semantic radical 口. - TAKASUGI Shinji 09:30, 2005 Mar 22 (UTC)
I was reading Karlgren's Analytic Dictionary of Chinese and Sino-Japanese this week, and he says that Shuowen characters are essentially inherited from Li Si's Qin dynasty revision of the writing system in the form of xiaozhuan (zhuan_shu=tensho in Japanese). He says that xiaozhuan characters are a new writing system, in that characters on older bronzes (and as we know from oracle bone inscriptions) are much different in some cases.
I am inclined to accept Karlgren's point of view, since looking into the character forms for oracle shell and bone characters. For instance, zi3 (child) in xiaozhuan appear as a depiction of a circle for a head, outstretched arms and a suggestive curve for the body reminiscent of stickman doodle. In the earliest inscriptions and also in older bronzes, the character appears to represent the head and neck of a spikey haired head. It would be worth mentioning that though Shuowen is often used a source of character etymology for Chinese characters, the xiaozhuan really only dates back reliably to Li Si, that is around 220 BC and the true origins of characters in oracle bone and bronze inscriptions now have modern interpretations, for those characters which are known to have modern descendents. Jiaguwen Zidian has around 1200 characters listed in the modern character index which provide explanations to their meaning. There are four thousand or so oracle bone characters, and most of them have no known meaning. Dylanwhs 21:25, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Xiaozhuan was absolutely not a new writing system at the time of Li Si. It evolved organically out of the Qin system of writing of the Eastern Zhou. All Li Si did was oversee the elimination of variant Qin forms and the imposition of the resulting standardized script as the unified standard for all areas under conquest. Of *course* if you compare the 3rd century BC graphs to 13th or 8th century BC graphs you'll find some drastic differences; that does not mean a new script was invented out of whole cloth. Please read Qiu and Chen Zhaorong on this.

Note also that Karlgren is grossly out of date from the perspective of modern Chinese scholars. You should be reading Boltz, Woon and Qiu instead.Dragonbones 06:17, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

Xŭ Shèn's motivation[edit]

I objected to the characterization of Xu Shen's motivation; no one writes a massive etymological treatise for the sole purpose of providing a metaphysical philosophy! However, role of his philosophy should be duly noted. I have therefore edited it to "Xǔ Shèn wrote it to analyze the etymology and construction of the Chinese script, but deeply imbued his analyses with his philosophy on characters and the universe."Dragonbones 08:54, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Please avoid the ambiguous term "radical" in discussing this[edit]

I see folks still using the term 'radical' in these discussions, which is problematic, as the term has two meanings, and they are easily confused. Do you mean 部首 bùshǒu, 'section headers' in dictionaries, or do you mean 'semantic components' of characters? I elaborate the problem as follows: First, when the earliest European sinologists decomposed Chinese characters, they attempted to apply to them the terms for decomposing the inflected words of European languages, namely radix or radical (the semantic root of a word, which provides its core meaning) and termination (the portion which changes when inflected, showing case, time and mood). Since the majority of Chinese characters are semantic-phonetic compounds, they applied the term radical to the semantic part, but they couldn’t apply the word ‘termination’ to the phonetic part since it does not take a terminal position. Then, the 部首 bùshǒu (section heads) which organize dictionaries somehow got mistranslated as ‘radicals’ as well, creating confusion which has lasted up until the present. Many students are therefore under the misimpression that the component under which a character is indexed in the dictionary is its semantic component. This is not necessarily so, even if it happens to be true in many or even a majority of cases, and a careful examination of the characters under the first half dozen 部首 bùshǒu sections of the dictionary will amply demonstrate this. The solution is to avoid the term ‘radical’ entirely. For the meaning-bearing component, the term widely used by scholars is ‘semantic’ component, while the section heads in the dictionary may be termed simply bùshǒu, and explained to students as, for example, the ‘header’ or ‘key’ or ‘index’ component under which the character is listed in dictionaries. Dragonbones 09:35, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Various edits[edit]

I objected to the description that Xu Shen "only knew small seal" script. He was a Han dyn. scholar, when clerical script was current; he also analyzed the Eastern Warring States scripts (misidentifying them as gu3wen2), and had a majority of the Shĭ Zhoù Piān (史籀篇) from ca 800BC.Dragonbones 14:09, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Major rewrite of article today makes extensive use of the information in both reference works below; I listed Serruys in the article, but avoided doing so with Chen, which is all in Chinese.Dragonbones 10:14, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Major additions today to article are based primarily upon Boltz, pp. 429-442 in Loewe, Michael (ed., 1993). Early Chinese Texts: A Bibliographical Guide, (Early China Special Monograph Series No. 2), Society for the Study of Early China, and the Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley, ISBN 1-55729-043-1. Dragonbones 09:59, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Recommended reading[edit]

Serruys, Paul L-M. (1984) "On the System of the Pu Shou 部首 in the Shuo-wen chieh-tzu 說文解字", in 中央研究院歷史語言研究所集刊 Zhōngyāng yánjiùyuàn lìshĭ yǔyán yánjiùsuǒ jíkān, v.55:4, pp.651-754. Prof. Serruys examines the underlying principles behind 許慎 Xŭ Shèn’s then-innovative system of 部首 bùshǒu, which he translates as Division Heads, (i.e., the parts of characters used as dictionary look-up keys, often mis-termed “radicals” ). Serruys then provides a full transcription and translation of the Shuōwén entries for all 540 部首 bùshǒu, along with his own brief commentary, in which he elucidates the organizational principles involved in their sequencing. Dragonbones 15:13, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

陳昭容 Chén Zhāoróng (2003) 秦系文字研究 ﹕从漢字史的角度考察 Research on the Qín (Ch'in) Lineage of Writing: An Examination from the Perspective of the History of Chinese Writing. 中央研究院歷史語言研究所專刊 Academia Sinica, Institute of History and Philology Monograph. ISBN 957-671-995-X. Dragonbones 15:13, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Qiú Xīguī (裘錫圭, 2000). Chinese Writing. Translation of his 文字學概論 (1988 PRC edition is in simplified Chinese; 1993 Taiwan edition is in traditional Chinese) by the late Gilbert L. Mattos (Chairman, Dept. of Asian Studies, Seton Hall University) and Jerry Norman (Professor Emeritus, Asian Languages & Literature Dept., Univ. of Washington). Early China Special Monograph Series No. 4. Berkeley: The Society for the Study of Early China and the Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley. ISBN 1-55729-071-7.

on incorrect attribution of Shuowen as the source of Liu4shu1[edit]

I have added the following: "Shuowen Jiezi is often mistakenly given as the origin of the Six-Principles Theory (六書 liùshū) of Chinese character composition and usage. However, it is actually first mentioned by the name liùshū in the Dìguān chapter of the Rituals of Zhōu or Rites of Zhōu (周禮 Zhōu Lǐ) of ca. 300 BC, and the principles first listed in the Book of Han (漢書 Hànshū) of the 1st century CE as well as by Zhèng Zhòng in a 1st century CE Zhōulǐ commentary (周禮鄭注 Zhōu Lǐ Zhèng Zhù)." My reference for this is Qiu, pp.151-2.Dragonbones 06:10, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

The 540 Shuowen section headers[edit]

This is the list of the "Shuowen section headers" (it is not "garbage code" as commented by Dragonbones, but chinese characters...) Is it an interesting data?

2 一丄示三王玉玨气士丨屮艸𦳝艸蓐茻
3 小八釆半牛犛告口凵吅哭走止癶步此正是辵彳廴㢟行齒牙足疋品龠冊
4 㗊舌干𧮫只㕯句丩古十卅言誩音䇂丵菐𠬞𠬜共異舁𦥑䢅爨革鬲䰜爪丮鬥又𠂇史支𦘒聿畫隶臤臣殳殺𠘧寸皮㼱攴教卜用爻㸚
5 𡕥目䀠眉盾自白鼻皕習羽隹奞萑𦫳𥄕羊羴瞿雔雥鳥烏𠦒冓幺𢆶叀玄予放𠬪𣦼歺死冎骨肉筋刀刃㓞丯耒
6 角竹箕丌左工㠭巫甘曰乃丂可兮号亏旨喜壴鼓豈豆豊豐䖒虍虎虤皿𠙴去血丶丹青井皀鬯食亼會倉入缶矢高冂𩫖京亯㫗畗㐭嗇來麥夊舛舜韋弟夂久桀
7 木東林才叒之帀出𣎵生乇𠂹𠌶華𥝌稽巢桼束㯻囗員貝邑𨛜
8 日旦倝㫃冥晶月有朙囧夕多毌𢎘𣐺𠧪齊朿片鼎克彔禾秝黍香米毇臼凶朩𣏟麻尗耑韭瓜瓠宀宮呂穴㝱疒冖𠔼冃㒳网襾巾巿帛白㡀黹
9 人𠤎匕从比北丘㐺𡈼重臥身㐆衣裘老毛毳尸尺尾履舟方儿兄兂皃𠑹先禿見覞欠㱃㳄旡頁
10 𦣻面丏首𥄉須彡彣文髟后司卮卩印色卯辟勹包茍鬼甶厶嵬山屾屵广厂丸危石長勿冄而豕㣇彑豚豸𤉡易象
11 馬𢊁鹿麤㲋兔萈犬㹜鼠能熊火炎黑囪焱炙赤大亦夨夭交尣壺壹幸奢亢夲夰大夫立竝囟思心惢
12 水沝瀕𡿨巜川泉灥永𠂢谷仌雨雲魚𩺰燕龍飛非卂
13 𠃉不至西鹵鹽戶門耳𦣞手𠦬女毋民丿𠂆乁氏氐戈戉我亅珡乚亡匸匚曲甾瓦弓弜弦系
14 糸素絲率虫䖵蟲風它龜黽卵二土垚堇里田畕黃男力劦
15 金幵勺几且斤斗矛車𠂤𨸏𨺅厽四宁叕亞五六七九禸嘼甲乙丙丁戊己巴庚辛辡壬癸子了孨𠫓丑寅卯辰巳午未申酉酋戌亥
—Preceding unsigned comment added by Michelet (talkcontribs) 08:30, 13 July 2008 (UTC)
I don't see why it should be included in the article; it's just a list of section headers. Now, if there are reliable sources that explain how these section headers are different from those used in, say, later sources, then that kind of specific information can be included. --Kuaichik (talk) 01:35, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
It could be included for reference. The differences with modern organisation (used by later sources) is already commented in the "Textual organization" section. "Xu's choice of sections appears in large part to have been driven by... " is much more comprehensible if you can see those characters. Michelet-密是力-Me laisser un message 05:37, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
"question marks used in place of some headers" (summary box) are probably Unicode 5.0 characters, that are not taken into account by your browser. The Unicode is OK (I can visually check it) but your rendering is not. Michelet-密是力-Me laisser un message 05:43, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
An article List of Shuowen jiezi radicals should be create. Yug (talk) 18:37, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done, sources need. Yug (talk) 18:37, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it's a good idea to start the 540 bushou article, but some don't display as Unihan characters. See this article. Keahapana (talk) 22:24, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Ref : Thern 1966 ?[edit]

The note :

Thern 1968, p. 17

Seems to actually refer to Thern 1966, p.17. Some one can confirm ? Yug (talk) 18:37, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

My mistake, that reference should be Thern (1966:17). Thanks for helping improve this article Yug, but there's no valid reason to change the existing inline WP:PAREN citations to footnotes. As WP:CITE explains, footnotes are one of several Wikipedia citation styles. Would you like to revert your changes or should I? Best wishes, Keahapana (talk) 22:26, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Shuowen zhenben By 徐慎, Catal. No. CCXXIII ZALT[edit]

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03:36, 24 March 2014 (UTC)