The five premises of this new etymology are related among one another. That is, the validity of one is dependent upon the validity of others.
1. Premise one --- All (each and every) Chinese words (characters) are composed of from a set of word roots.
2. Premise two --- The meaning of all Chinese words can be read out from their faces.
3. Premise three --- The pronunciation of all Chinese words can be read out from their faces.
4. Premise four --- an etymology memory algebra, with only 220 root words (R), it generates 300 commonly used compound roots (also as sound modules, M). Thus, R + M = 220 + 300 = 520. With these 520, all 60,000 Chinese written words are generated. That is,
etymology memory algebra is R + M = R x M
5. Premise five --- with the premise four, the Chinese character system can be mastered in 90 days for anyone who knows not a single Chinese character at the beginning.
After the introduction of two subsystems,
a. an original axiomatic system,
b. a mutated system,
the universal proof for premise 1 and 2 will be complete after we show the validity of the premise 3 (the merging of the written with the verbal), and this will be the central point now.
A. The scope of the Chinese verbal universe:
i. The Chinese verbal universe consists of, at least, 8 subsystems (Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka, Northern Min, Southern Min, Hsiang, Kan, Wu, etc.) while each of them has a few more dialects.
ii. While these subsystems are, often, mutually unintelligible phonologically among one another, the scope of each system is wholly defined and demarcated by the same 韻 書(the rhyme book). That is, the scope of these systems are completely isomorphic to one another.
iii. In each subsystem, it encompasses only, maximally, 250 four-tones, that is, 1,000 distinguishable sounds (phonemes). Of course, the issues of homonyms (similar-sounding words, often with the same spelling with different meaning) and homophones (having same sound but differs in spelling, origin and meaning) became major issues to be resolved in the language.
B. The accommodating the verbal by the written character system:
i. The written system begins with a set of roots, 220 of them.
ii. With these roots, 300 base sound modules are constructed.
a. When a root became a standalone character, it acquires a “sound” of its own.
b. When a root is a part of a composed character, it becomes silent, even though it might have a phonetic value while it is a standalone character.
c. The phonetic value of the sound modules is assigned (as sound roots). The assignment is not arbitrary, but it is an issue beyond the scope of this discussion now.
iii. The attaching the phonetic value to each character was not an afterthought. It was done at the beginning, that is, a sound module played a part at the beginning of the character construction. Thus, every character carries a sound tag either explicitly or implicitly. And, this is the premise 3, the pronunciation of all Chinese words can be read out from their faces. I have showed the “explicit” sound tag cases.
a. As a standalone word, that root has its own sound. In general, this sound will not become a sound tag.
b. As a sound module, it has its own sound.
c. The sound module becomes an explicit sound tag of a composed character. In general, there are three groups under this situation.
1. The 指 事 字 (pointing or assigning), such as, 傢, 俱. The phonetic value of the character of this group is identical to its sound tag.
2. The 形 聲 字 (phonetic loan), such as,
(鴨 、 鸚 、 鵡 、 鵬 、 鶯 、 鷗) ,
(鰱 , 鮭 , 鱔), etc.,
The phonetic value of the character of this group is identical to its sound tag.
3. 會 意 字 (sense determinators), the phonetic value of the sound tag of this group has a span of values, such as,
a. The characters have the identical phonetic value, such as,
(志 、 誌 、 痣 ),
(妻 、 悽 、 棲 、 淒 、 萋).
b. The sound tag has a span of values, according to the rules of 韻 書(the rhyme book), such as,
(遛 、 廇 、 瘤 、 餾 、 飀 、 塯 、 溜 、 榴),
(妴 、 怨 、 苑 、 駌 、 鴛),
(倦 、 惓 、 埢 、 犈 、 捲 、 睠 、 綣 、 棬 、 腃 、 圈)
All the above were discussed before, this is just a summary and a review. Yet, there is one the most important issue which was never discussed before, the implicit sound tag.
Many characters have no explicit sound tag, such as, 祭 or 贏 . How can we read their sounds from their faces? Yet, it is easy to read their meanings from their faces.
祭 ( an offering ceremony to gods or ancestors) is 又 (hand) holding 月 (meat) while asking the answers or signs (示 ) from above. So, 祭 is an offering ceremony to gods or ancestors with offered foods, that is, asking gods to get into the seats to enjoy the offering. The word 即 means "ready to be seated.” Would you be surprised if the pronunciation of 祭 is identical to 即?
贏 ( winning) is 亡 (disappear or death) over 口 (mouth or people) over 月 (meat), 貝 (treasure) and 丸 (an elixir pill). With so many treasures while no other (亡 口 ) can share it, it must mean winning. Yet, the word 盈 is a filled up or over flowed dish. In fact, the static scene of the word 贏 is the same as an overflow. Again, would you be surprised if the pronunciation of 贏 is identical to 盈?
With two examples, I have showed the existential generalization for the premise. Now, there is the law 5.
Law 5 --- Any character which does not carry an explicit sound tag will pronounce the same as its 轉 註 字 (synonymized word).
With this law 5, this new etymology is basically complete, and the universal proof for the first three premises can be done.
Tienzen (Jeh-Tween) Gong