Thursday, January 29, 2009

Today's Chinese Character: Simple Justice

Today's character/Hanzi/Kanji is a RADICAL simplification. But does it fit into the UGLY vs CUTE categories, previously defined here?

I don't think so. The original traditional Hanzi/Kanji is one of my favorite characters. The most common meanings are "justice; righteousness". But "meaning" is also there as in 意义.
A couple of Japanese vocabulary items: Islamic fundamentalism vs. Christian fundamentalism. These Kanji seems to be possible to bundle to form many words 原義 (gengi) means Original Meaning here, taking everything very literally. 主義 means doctrine etc. and 原理 means "doctrine, rule, principle". Whatever you think of Japanese, "inflexible" shouldn't be there.

As usual I have some nagging feeling that I've made some mistake in my Japanese: "should it really be クリスチャン (ku-ri-su-ta-n) or something else?"


So let's go back to Mandarin. I've found two, rather similar words for fundamentalism:

原教旨主义 yuánjiàozhǐzhǔyì

Where the 教 ought to emphasize the religious aspect ("teach, religion...."). The other word for fundamentalism, 基要主义, seems to be less used so I simply ignore it here. 主义 has the same meaning in Mandarin as in Japanese - doctrine; -ism - which is no wonder since the world probably was imported to Japan from China.

To round up this not so deep-digging post:

義 = 羊 + 我

羊 is easy enough to remember as SHEEP, but the very important and frequent character 我 will get a component destruction any day, week. You have to admit that it's a bit faster to write the simplified version, isn't it? These characters are pronounced as in Mandarin. The fourth tone here would be easy to remember if the animation really showed the strokes: dot - down - down. Get a better view at nciku.

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