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Why 重 means "heavy" or "weight"? [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2017-1-14 09:49:43 |Display all floors
When I was a pupil, most characters were taught without interesting structure analysis in China! So I had to swallow them one by one as single Chinese date (a kind  fruit) without chewing! 重 was among them.
In fact 重 contains two parts which are 千 for its top and 里 for the rest.  The former one 千 is "thousand" and the later is "mile". So 千里 means "one_thousand_mile_traveling"。In China we often say 远无轻载_there is no light luggage for your long distance trip! Maybe the long traveling itself means a heavy burden for Tom!
千 and 里 share one common vertical stroke in 重 that had cheated me for so long!
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Post time 2017-1-18 11:53:10 |Display all floors
里 means 'inside'.  Why?
It contains 田(tian) that is ‘field’ in England)and 土 (tu) which is 'earth' or 'soil'.  ---------Ho, of course, "soil" is certainly 'inside‘ the 'field' that is under the surface of the ‘田'!
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Post time 2017-1-28 22:06:54 |Display all floors
who knows
freedom of thought and speech

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

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Post time 2017-2-20 04:09:34 |Display all floors
Thank you, I love learning about the characters.

Indeed, as a foreign Chinese learner (I studied Chinese in college a long time ago) it is much easier to remember characters by learning the individual parts.  Of course we have to be able to identify the radical anyway to look up the character in a dictionary, but it is more fun, more interesting and easier to remember a character by connecting its parts with a meaning.

Of course some of these interpretations may be speculative, who knows for sure what someone was thinking a few thousand years ago?  Yet, it doesn't really matter if the meaning we derive is the same as that of the originator.  The character has been living for thousands of years and gathered a history as it has passed through the minds of countless people. Regardless of what the long-ago originators of a character might have been thinking, any interpretation that makes sense will surely have been thought of by countless scholars in the past.  And any interpretation given to it over the centuries becomes part of the life and history of that character.   

So we don't need to know for sure that a particular interpretation was the original one, if it makes sense it can surely be considered a correct one.

This is the ignorant opinion of a foreign woman who merely loves Chinese characters.

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Post time 2017-2-20 04:28:51 |Display all floors
Indeed, if China wants to start encouraging creativity in its educational system, a natural way to start would be to encourage students to come up with their own creative interpretations of the origins of characters.  Even fanciful stories.  

I am a retired middle-school teacher (from the USA) and one important way that I encouraged creativity in my students is to encourage them to create stories.   (This always has a starting point given by the teacher, and ties in with other subject matter. For example, in math class, I might ask students to get together in small groups and come up with a story that illustrates an expression like 3x-5.  In history classes I might ask students to write a story imagining themselves in that time and place in history, which also helps practice writing skills.  The use of imagination and creativity makes learning fun and much less stressful for kids, and, as neurologists know, all humans learn better when not under stress.)

All this is to say -- the study of the etymology of Chinese characters is a natural jumping-off point for making Chinese education more creative. Children can be invited to make up stories about the origin of the character or about possible interpretations.  It doesn't matter if the stories are "correct," historically speaking -- letting the characters inspire stories would be a way of tapping into the deep well of Chinese genius, and help to liberate a uniquely Chinese form of creativity.

Please forgive me for any ignorance about China.  

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Post time 2017-2-20 14:45:18 |Display all floors
Gayle Post time: 2017-2-20 04:09
Thank you, I love learning about the characters.

Indeed, as a foreign Chinese learner (I studied Ch ...

You are correct!
Some Chinese characters have retained some similarities of the thing it wants to describe.
However, two characters are rather controversial. They are, 'shoot' and 'short'.
The two radicals of the character, 'shoot' are, 'shen' or 'body' and, 'cun' or, 'inch'. How could a body of an inch in height shoot?
The other is, 'shoot'. When you check it, you find it is rather joyous!

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Post time 2017-3-1 11:17:11 |Display all floors
GhostBuster Post time: 2017-2-20 14:45
You are correct!
Some Chinese characters have retained some similarities of the thing it wants to  ...

The character you mentioned is 射。 身(means 'body')--------its top is 'head‘ and its low part looks legs while the middle seems as your chest!   寸--------its original meaning is inch which ‘+'-like-thing looks like a ancient ruler and the points of 寸 symbols the tiny print-mark of the instrument. But here 寸 should means 'body'! ---------Why?    Let me show you 村 and 过 which help you understand the meaning of 寸!  (In general,射 is an reaction between two persons.)

村 means 'village’.  --------its first part is 木(wood or tree) and 寸 should be ‘body’ or 'people'. So 村 is place with trees surrounding where people live!
过 -----the 走 like thing means walking and 寸 should also be thought as 'man' who is passing by. ---------过(Guo)means ‘passing’
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