Thursday, April 21, 2011

形 聲 and 會 意 (sense determinator) , part two

With the understanding from the last post, these words [( ), ( )] are obviously not phonetic loan words for the reasons,
1. they do not have an explicit sound tag,
2. they have more than two parts (radicals or roots).
Thus, it will be an excellent and correct guess that they are “sense determinator” words.

 How about the following two groups?
Group A:  (鴿 鴨 、 鸚 、 鵡 、 鵬  …),  (,    ,    ,    ,    ,    ,    ,    ,    ,    ,    …)

Group B:
1. (志 、 誌 、 痣 ),  (悽 、 棲 、 淒 、 )
2. (貽 、 怡 、 詒 )
3. (撤 、 澈 、 徹 … )

Obviously, group A words meet all conditions for being phonetic loan words.
a. Each one of them has only two radicals.
b. Each one of them has an explicit sound tag.
c. Each one of them pronounces identical to its sound tag’s phonetic value.
d. The sound tag acts as an identifier instead of a logic inferring part.

How about group B words?
For B1 and B2 words,
i. Each one of them also has only two radicals.
ii. Each one of them also has an explicit sound tag. 

Yet, for the B1 words, each word in the group pronounces “identical” to the other words in the group. This is a condition which is not a part of the definition for the phonetic loan words, and, in fact, it cannot be a part of it. 

For the B2 words, while they do have the same attribute as the B1 words, they have another quality. Their pronunciations are different from their sound tags.

For the B3 words, they obviously have more than two radicals although all three of them pronounce identically.

Thus, the group B words cannot be the 形  (phonetic loan) words although some of them are almost 形  (phonetic loan) – like words, with only two radicals, and with an explicit sound tag. In fact, they are   (sense determinators) words.

By mistaken the group B words as the 形  word, it caused the authors of  “The Columbia History of the World, ISBN 0-88029-004-8 (On page 112), “ made their mistaken statement, “ Nine-tenths of the Chinese characters have been constructed by the phonetic [loan] method. “

Tienzen (Jeh-Tween) Gong

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