Mis-Dakdek

Miscellaneous Diq-dooq from Chevras HamMis-dakdekim.
"Oh no! The diqueduque geeques are here! Run for the hills!"Godol Hador, 06.29.06 2:45 pm


Languages covered so far:
•Chinese
•Modern Hebrew
•Italian
•Latin
•Yiddish
•English
•Icelandic
•Tok Pisin

Thursday, November 10, 2005

太陽 Cantonese pron.: Taai Yeung. Mandarin: Ta Yang. The first character is a simple ideograph - imagine a person with arms outstretched, saying "the fish was this big!". Now derive from it the word 'very' (an exaggeration of big), and differentiate by adding one more stroke (originally underneath, but it crept upwards).

The second character originally meant the sunny side of the valley, as it's companion 'yin' meant the shaded side. Hence, by extension of meaning, warm, masculine, bold, vibrantly alive, hotheaded, and further such. In comparison, yin came to mean also cool, moist, quiet, feminine, and so forth.

So, 太陽 literally means the utterly manly thing (in the sky).
Yang is composed of a banner on the left side (which also refers to locations or placements), and on the right a compound with a sun on top, and a phonetic element on the bottom. Yin also has the banner, but instead shows swirls of fog, the one the bottom being meant as a mirror image of the one on top.

As you may have guessed by now, one of my favourite books is "Chinese Characters: Their Origin, Etymology, History, Classification and Signification", by Dr. L. Wieger. I've already worn out two copies, and am busy on my third (it is also a VERY handy reference book).

I'm taking the liberty of mirror posting this on Mis-DakDek, to fill the current void there, and perhaps start a sidetrack. It seems a good place for that.


Note: original conversation starts here: http://boroparkpyro.blogspot.com/2005/11/back-time-solar-haiku.html

6 Comments:

Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Wow, i had no idea that was the famous "Yang" up there in that compound!

Another interesting Chinese character etymology source:
Zhongwen Zipu

11/10/2005 4:34 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Does anyone remember the title of the book of Chinese characters than begins with a fake story about how General Tojo wanted to create a Sino-English? In the spoof, one of the characters was named Kim Mun-Yi. (Kim="gold" in Korean [I think], and Mun-Yi is supposed to evoke "money".) The author managed to publish the spoof in a linguistics journal, and none of its reviewers realized that it was fake!

11/10/2005 4:47 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

At the moment I cannot remember it.

But I'll have the answer for you tomorrow - I have the book at home (of course, I can't remember what stratum, or which pile - so it may take a day longer than I expect).

11/10/2005 4:58 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

Tayere Mar Gavriyel,

The book you mentioned is: 'The Chinese Language - Fact and Fantasy' by John DeFrancis.

The 'Singlish affair' is the introduction.

Published by University of Hawaii Press.

I'll post some excerpts during lunch. The book is well worth re-reading.

11/11/2005 9:42 AM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

I'll post some excerpts during lunch.

Please do. A friend of mine lent me the book a number of years ago, and I read the beginning, before losing the book.

(It's well after יאוש, but I should probably compensate the guy monetarily. The problem is that he probably wouldn't accept the money, and prefer to be-môchel me.)

11/11/2005 10:01 AM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

I'll post some excerpts during lunch.

Please post as a new blog-entry, not as comments on this thread.

11/11/2005 10:16 AM  

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