〇 / 零 (zero)

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Deerhound

New Member
English (British)
I don't understand why 零 sometimes appears as 〇 . Why a circle? It seems so 'un-Chinese'. What's wrong with 零? Where did 〇 come from?
 
  • xiaolijie

    Senior Member
    UK
    English (UK)
    The page I referred to should give you some info about 〇, and the link in that page shouldn't be too relevant to your questions. It mainly says when 〇 started being used the way it is in the present.
     

    Deerhound

    New Member
    English (British)
    I'm probably just being really thick but I can't see any information about its origin or *why* it's preferred in official documents.
     

    yuechu

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    I think that it is used for the same reason that all the other Arabic numerals (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9) are used in the Chinese language--since they are used internationally (and in trade). 0 was modified to 〇 for æsthetic purposes/in order to take up the width of a character, I believe.

    It is also a visual symbol/ideogram. There is nothing inside the circle, therefore it represents nothing/zero.


    PS. Oh, I think you mean why it is sometimes used in conjunction with Chinese numerals (二〇〇二年, etc). I imagine it is for legibility since 〇 can be read easier from afar. I'll let Chinese speakers confirm for this one !
     
    Last edited:

    schur

    Member
    Chinese - Mandarin
    Hi Deerhound,
    1, both 〇 and 零 are Chinese and both are read as líng. Just as you said, it´s some special and seems non-Chinese;
    2, 〇 only appears in numbers, expecially for years and pages, which indicates a blank, ex: 二〇一二年. You can simply understand it as a Chinese form of Arabic number 0;
    3, In other situations, you should use 零. Also, 零 has many other meanings 〇 doesn´t have.
    4, 零:http://www.zdic.net/zd/zi/ZdicE9Zdic9BZdicB6.htm
    5, 〇:http://www.zdic.net/zd/zi/ZdicE3Zdic80Zdic87.htm
     
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