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Why Ideographic Components Do Not Indicate Meanings?

The components of Chinese characters either indicate the meanings or pronunciation. But some of the components have nothing to do with the meanings or pronunciation. If the ideographic components of Chinese characters do not indicate the meanings of the characters, the students who study in China should know there must be some changes in the meanings of the words. May be the original meanings are gone or not be used frequently. Since the components have no relationship with the commonly used meanings, it naturally no longer implies the meanings of characters.

If you go to school to study Mandarin, it is important for you to know some frequently used characters of such condition. The original meaning of 演 was the water is flowing while the meaning we often use today is to perform. With the disappearance of the original meaning, the component氵no longer has relation with the meaning we take nowadays. In the past, people used 淑 to express the water is so clear while it means something is beautiful.

The common one may be the character这, we both know it means “this” in today’s language usage. But can you imagine the original meaning was to greet? The most interesting one may be the character字, which carried the meaning of giving birth the baby in the house originally. But it was gone and we use it to mean word or character.

Another typical example of this type is the character社, which usually applied to mean some social organizations or communities. But the original one was totally different, which was the God of land. 烦is also one you should know if you study in Chinese language school. The former meaning was having a fever and headache while the modern one is annoying. All above are the typical examples that the components have had nothing to do with the meanings we use now.

In addition, there are many characters consist of the component 雨 and most of them are about the astronomical phenomena. Those we often see are 雪、霜、雾、露、霞 and 雷. But you may think 需 and 零are obviously different. As a matter of fact, the original meaning of 需 was people’s appearance after got wet by rain and that of 零 was the occasional drizzles.

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