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犭 (radical )

Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by Alxmrphi, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English

    I am trying to break down components of characters to sort of get a grip on what they mean fundamentally, so for example recently I found out that hao3 consists of a symbol which traditionally represents 'mother' and one of 'baby'. When looking at the words for 'cat' and 'dog', I noticed the left side is very similar so I was wondering what that connection is. I know it becomes purely iconic over time but links to the history and other stuff are usually hidden in these pictorials so I was wondering if anyone had any information on this, or if there is a site anyone knows of that has lists of this kind of information?


    Xie Xie :)

  2. 长脸大哥哥 New Member

    汉语 中文 简体
    Ok. I will give only my opinion.

    All the things, about the chinese character's graphical construction, (in fact I am not sure if the word "graphical construction" I use here is correct or understandable for people with chinese as their 2nd or 3rd... language. I use "graphical construction" here, given that chinese characters almost look like something refering to a drawing or graphic rather than a word or text when most western people or people form other parts of the world compare it with their own.) are thoroughly taught and discussed as an important topic in the elementary or fundamental school at the age of 10 or so. And considering that I am not that young anymore for a long time, I have already been unable to give a very clear, a from-a-to-z recall about that.

    As I know and still remember, some chinese characters are composed of two parts. One is the part which has the function of suggesting the pronounciation of the character.(in chinese it is called 表音部分 biao3yin1bu4fen4). The other is the meaning(表义部分 yi4). So when those two parts make up a character, you will know or at least get some information about how the character you are reading pronounces and what the meaning of it is about.

    In the case of 狗 and 猫, the part of 犭 they share is what I call 表义部分 that give the idea of what this charater means. And 犭 are connected with the characters that have the meanings about animal. Some example, 猴 monkey,狼 wolf,狮 lion. But there are also some exceptions like 牛 cow or ox, 羊 sheep...

    Well, 句 and 苗 seem like 表音部分. Examples, 枸杞 gou2qi2,a kind of plant,or,够 gou4 which is an adverb has the same meaning as word much. 锚 mao2 anchor for ship. But I am not sure about this 表音部分 as much as how I am in 表义部分, because there are far too many exceptions out there.

    I have to admit any 10 years old chinese student will know much better about this than me. So its just my opinion which I think should be considered correct for most chinese people.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2012
  3. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Ah, okay. So it's a connection that represents 'animal', but obviously it's not for every animal. That's good because knowing how to write it means I know how to write half of the others so it's not as much trouble to remember the whole character if I remember that first part is the same!

    They're called pictographs in English. ;)
  4. 长脸大哥哥 New Member

    汉语 中文 简体
    Thank you. Good to know that.

    Have to admit, it is annoying, that there isn't a fixed or 100% safe rule to follow, about how the characters are written. And to tell you the truth, in china, many people start finding themselves forgetting how to write some characters that are not used very often in the usual daily life, thanks to more paper work being finished by using PC and keyboard instead of writing the characters with their own hands. =(
  5. Ghabi

    Ghabi Moderator

    Cantonese (Hong Kong)
    In many cases this is a tall order,:( as many characters are already used in a purely phonetic way even in the oldest texts (oracle bones, bronze wares), and we have no idea what words these characters originally represent.
    In traditional orthography the character for mao1 is 貓, not 猫, with the determinative 豸, not 犭(a graphic variant of 犬). Perhaps it's not for nothing that cats and dogs fight proverbially, as they occupy different spheres in the great (Chinese) chain of beings. But seriously there are some other mammal words whose characters share this determinative: 豹 bao4 "leopard"/豺 chai2 "jackal"/貘 mo4 "tapir". 豸 zhi4 itself is not a word used in modern Chinese, though it's not rare in ancient texts.
  6. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    That's Traditional Chinese versus Simplified Chinese, that distinction, right? I'm trying to learn the simplified system first, the traditional one scares the hell out of me but after getting that one down I imagine it'll be easier to then look at the traditional characters.

    Thanks for the input!
  7. zhg Senior Member

    [/QUOTE] I noticed the left side is very similar so I was wondering what that connection is.[/QUOTE]
    Hi Alxmrphi
    As I recalled, that is 反犬旁, one of the many other 偏旁or 部首 which you will find very useful to look up new words can be barely pronounced.
    Here you can find all the other 部首or 偏旁http://baike.baidu.com/view/277756.htm
    Hope it helps.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
  8. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Pekino, Ĉinujo
    Chinese/Italian - bilingual
    Hi Ghabi!
    In Simplified Chinese the radical 犭is called 反犬旁 as zhg said because it is indeed that graphic variant of 犬.
    Then what about 豸in traditional Chinese? What's the name of this character?

    In Simplified Chinese, 猪 has the same radical as 猫、狗、狼、狮 etc. so we are taught that 犭 is a radical for animals...
    A lot of these radicals were merged, and strangely except 豹
    But in TC it's 豬,which the radical looks like half of the character 豚 (old chracter for pig)
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  9. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    English (UK)
    It's pronounced as /zhì/ and is used generally as a radical for animals or insects. I don't know if one can be more specific than this.

    Alxmrphi, it can be very confusing if you're trying to take in all of what is said here, so for the learning purpose at this stage, I'd suggest sticking to the simplest thing you can remember and let nature take its course. For this purpose, the original radical you asked about (犭) is often seen in characters relating to animals, such as names for animals.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  10. Ghabi

    Ghabi Moderator

    Cantonese (Hong Kong)
    Hi YF! The "nickname" for 犭 is 狗爪邊 in Cantonese; as for 豸, there's no nickname for it as far as I know. If pressed, one may say, I guess, something like 貓字唔要個苗.:)
  11. 文星辰simon Junior Member


  12. SuperXW Senior Member

    You meant 犭 and 豸 are two different radicals in traditional Chinese?? Doesn't 犭 only exist in simplified Chinese??
  13. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Pekino, Ĉinujo
    Chinese/Italian - bilingual
    Look more clearly, Ghabi wrote a 狗 with 犭 radical :)
    It exists in TC in the characters 狗 獅 狼 (at least according to my TC input method).
    But 貓 with 豸。
  14. SuperXW Senior Member

    Ok...Guess that should count as one reason I support simplified Chinese...

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