Friday, May 6, 2011

Proper prospective of this new Chinese etymology

After the publication of this new Chinese etymology, there are two types of comments on it.

1. Comment one ---Your few examples of showing that the meaning of a Chinese character can be read out from its face are not enough to prove a premise which must be examined for every word. 

Answer --- In the book “Chinese Etymology” (US copyright TX 6-917-909), it lists about 8,000 examples, and the book is available at
However, a premise must be proved with either deduction or induction for any theory. I have showed this premise with existential introduction and with existential generalization. The next step is to show the universal proof which will be discussed in the future posts.

2. Comment two --- Your theory is nothing new, as the radicals and  (six ways of constructing Chinese words) were known for over 2,000 years. 

Answer --- In the previous posts, I have showed,
a. The author of  (So-Wen) wrote, “the  was taught before the time of Confucius but was lost before that time.” The fact that Confucius did not ever discuss about   is a circumstantial evidence for the above  statement.  That is, no one in the past 2,000 years truly understood the substance of  before the publication of the book “Chinese Word Roots and Grammar” (US copyright TX 6-514-465).

b. The concept of radical in the book    and the  (kangsi dictionary) did not lead to an understanding for Chinese character set to be a root-based axiomatic system for all those years since their publications. The facts that all those great Chinese philologists ( , , , , etc.) despised the Chinese character set and that the debates among all those great Western sinologists (Matteo Ricci, Herrlee Glessner Creel, F.S.C. Northrop,  ... or, Peter S. DuPonceau, John DeFrancis, J. Marshall Unger, etc. ) did not emphasize the concept of radical are the direct evidences that the “old”  concept of radical  did not point out that Chinese word set is a root-based axiomatic system.

c. I have also showed that the scope of this new etymology is much bigger than   which is, in fact, a small subsystem of this new etymology.
i.  did not encompass a set of sound modules.
ii. did not make sound module as an intrinsic part of constructing characters, except for the group of       (phonetic loan) words.
iii. The 220 roots in this new etymology are significantly different from the 214 熙 部 首 (leading radicals).

With these two comments being answered, we, now, can move on to make the universal proof of the five  premises.
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.
Then, can the first premise be universally proved, that is, an arbitrary selected character meets the premise one? Can you (the reader) read the meaning of the following words out from their faces? The chance for you to do this is almost nil although you have learned about this axiom system. 

1. 乎,
2. 姊, ,
3. 前, ,
4. 叔,
5. 卬
6. 攸 ,
7. 最
8. 鏡

In addition to an axiom-based system, the Chinese word set has evolved for 2,000 years and there are many mutations which can be understood only by knowing that evolution history. Thus, there is a subsystem which is knowledge-based, and I will discuss this in the future posts.

Tienzen (Jeh-Tween) Gong

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