mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Cheery Littlebottom?

See, the other reason I always was terrified by fought shy of Chinese is because its common hanzi include any number of characters that are as far from daily use Japanese ones as a character can get, largely because Japanese expresses equivalent ideas in kana alone. (Like 'this' and 'that.') Just from the first hundred of The most common 3000 characters we have 你, 她, 此, 那, 之, 已, 些, 從, and of course 而.

That last one turns up as an element in many compounds, but it's disconcerting to find it alone. Read ji, ni, shikashite, shikamo, nanji etc. You get it at level 1 of the JLPT, or you did in my day. Means 'then, and, but' in ordinary Chinese and a high-falutin' version of same in Japanese. Since it took me a while to get to level 1, for kanji memorization purposes I'd always thought of it as a rake, 'cause that's what it looks like. (Maybe. I think I first remembered it as umbrella, that being what you require when it rains: 需.)

Mr. Karlgren informs me its very oldest meaning, maybe from the oracle bones themselves, was 'beard.' He also tells me there's a hanzi that means 'play, sport'- 耍, which is 而 + 女, a woman wearing a beard. Cosplay, obviously, as preserved in the language since at least 200 BC.

Do I have a geek tag? I think I need one.
Tags: chinese, japanese, pratchett

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