The first two premises of this new etymology are,
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.
In my previous posts, I did prove these two premises with both existential introduction (that is, with one example) and existential generalization (with, at least, two or more examples). However, for a final proof, I need to show a universal proof, that is, these premises are valid for an arbitrarily selected word. Yet, the chance for you (the reader) to do this universal proof yourselves for the following words is almost nil, let alone to say any arbitrary word, although you have learned about this axiom system.
1. 乎, 呼
2. 姊, 弟, 第
3. 前, 慈, 首
4. 叔, 椒
5. 卬, 迎 、 仰 、 抑 、 昂
6. 攸 , 絛 、 條 、 修 、 倏 、 悠 、 焂 、 筱 、 脩
The fact is that the Chinese character set, now, has two subsystems,
a. the original axiomatic system,
b. a mutated system.
After over 2,000 years of evolution, the Chinese character set did acquire a huge mutated subsystem. Without knowing this mutated system, the universal proof becomes impossible. I will list some major mutation pathways here.
a. By fusion: I have showed some simple examples before, such as,
並 is the fusion of 立 立 .
兼 is the fusion of 秉 秉 .
雨 is the fusion of 天 水 .
b. Via diverging mutation, such as,
犬 --- the radical 犬 is in all these words (犯, 戾, 狀, 吠, 狁, 狂, 狄, 狎, 狐, 狗)
网 --- the radical 网 is in all these words (羅, 罪, 罩, 罰, 罔, 岡)
肉 --- the radical 肉 is in all these words (肚, 肛, 肝, 育, 肥, 腐, 臠, 昔)
火 --- the radical 火 is in all these words (煇, 炬, 煮, 篜, 煎, 烹, 無, 光)
水 --- the radical 水 is in all these words (永, 暴, 雨, 泉, 泰, 懷, 況, 流, 滾, 涼)
心 --- the radical 心 is in all these words (必, 忐, 忑, 志, 忘, 怕, 悄, 忖, 忙, 忡, 忝, 恭)
In these examples, we can see that one radical can mutate into a few different variants. This type of mutation is known to most of the Chinese people. But, there are enough cases which are unknown to the common folk, such as 昔 has the radical of 肉, 恭 has the radical of 心 and 懷 has the radical of 水.
c. Via converging mutation, such as,
The look-like radical in (明, 肌, 前) are three different roots.
The look-like radical in (股, 几, 鳧) are three different roots.
The look-like radical in (香, 音, 杳) are three different roots.
This is the most difficult issue in the Chinese etymology. This is 100% knowledge-based. There is no chance of any kind that one can decode this type of mutation with computer analysis.
d. Via insertion, such as,
行 --- the radical 行 is in all these words (術, 衛, 衙, 銜, 衍, 衒, 衖, 衝, 街, 衡, 衢)
衣 --- the radical 衣 is in all these words (裔, 裝, 製, 裴, 襲, 裘, 哀, 衰, 衷, 裹, 褒, 襄)
While some insertions are very obvious, some are not.
e. Via multiple pathways, such as,
黃 is the insertion of 田 into 光. This takes more topological work to see the transformation.
漢 is 水 + 黃, meaning “Yellow water” which is, now, the name for Chinese race. Again, the topological transformation of 黃 takes some detailed analysis.
e. There are many more different mutation pathways, and I will discuss them in due time.
Tienzen (Jeh-Tween) Gong