1. J.F. de TROYES Senior Member

    As far as I know, the two characters 东西 used together can convey two meanings , either east and west or a thing. I wonder if it's just due to an homophony. The word dong-xi ( an object ) would have been written with the two characters by sound-loan.
    Instead, is it possible to hypothesize that the compound originates from the two monosyllabic words ? If so, it would be necessary to figure out how it can be derived from these two words.

    Thanks for any enlightenment.
  2. jmx

    jmx Senior Member

    Spain / Spanish
  3. J.F. de TROYES Senior Member

    Thanks a lot for the link :thumbsup:
  4. Lugubert Senior Member

    I regard this thing ;) as one example from a large collection of juxtaposed antonyms that have meanings that can't be guessed from the components. They all each deserve a thread of their own, but just as a few examples:
    大小 dàxiǎo* n. "big-small" ①size ②adults and children ③degree of seniority ④wife and concubine
    左右 zuǒyòu n. "left-right" ①nearby place ②retinue ③servants; aides ④term of respect placed after the name when addressing another
    前后 qiánhòu p.w./adv. "front-rear" ①around or about; altogether ②from beginning to end (in time) ③people/things of the same kind in succession

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