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Comprehend Chinese-Character Simplification

-  Learn Traditional Chinese Characters and Simplified Chinese Characters

 

(English Version)

 

By Shengdar Lee, Ph.D.

 

明瞭漢字的簡化

-   學習正體字和簡體字

 

(英文版)

 

李聲達博士著

 

Chinese Book Web

(chinesebookweb.com)

 

版權 © 2013李聲達

Copyright © 2013 by Shengdar Lee

 

All rights reserved, No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrievable system, or transmitted in any form or of by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, without the express written consent of the author.

 

ISBN -13:          978-0-9832379-3-8

ISBN -10:          098323793X


 

Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction.. 4

1.1 The Development of Current Simplified Characters. 4

1.1.1 “Chinese Character Simplification Scheme” of 1956. 4

1.1.2 “Joint Notice Concerning the Simplified Characters” of 1964. 4

1.1.3 “General Tables of Simplified Characters” of 1964. 5

1.1.4 “Second Chinese-Character Simplification Scheme (Draft)” of 1977. 6

1.1.5 Reissuance of “General Tables of Simplified Characters” of 1986. 6

1.1.6 Summary. 6

1.2 Simplification Measures. 7

1.3 Structure of the “General Tables of Simplified Characters”. 7

1.3.1 Tables 1 Through 3. 8

1.3.2 Appendix: “Table of Variant Characters”. 8

1.4 Structure of the Book. 9

Chapter 2: Simplification by Reducing the Number of Strokes. 11

2.1 Dramatically Simplified.. 11

2.1.1 Replacement by a Different Character 11

2.1.2 Deletion of a Large Portion While Retaining Its Characteristics. 12

2.1.3 Overall Deletion While Preserving the Contour 12

2.2 Remove Component. 12

2.3 Replace Component. 14

2.3.1 Only One Character has the Particular Replaced Component 14

2.3.2 Multiple Characters have the Same Replaced Component 16

2.4 Simplify Component. 16

2.4.1 Only One Character has the Particular Simplified Component 16

2.4.2 Multiple Characters have the Same Simplified Component 17

2.5 Simplify to Become a Pictophonetic Character. 17

2.5.1 Replaced by a New Pictophonetic Character 18

2.5.2 Replace Ideographic Component of the Pictophonetic Character 18

2.5.3 Only One Pictophonetic Character has the Particular Simplified Phonetic Component 18

2.5.4 Multiple Pictophonetic Characters have the Same Simplified Phonetic Component 19

2.6 Replaced by Symbol. 20

Chapter 3: Simplification by Reducing the Number of Characters. 22

3.1 Pictophonetic Character Represented by Its Phonetic Component. 22

3.1.1 Table 1 of the “General Tables”. 22

3.1.2 Table 2 of the “General Tables”. 25

3.2 Two Different Characters Represented by One of Them... 25

3.2.1 Table 1 of the “General Tables”. 25

3.2.2 Table 2 of the “General Tables”. 28

3.3 Three or Four Characters Represented by One of Them... 29

3.3.1 Table 1 of the “General Tables”. 29

3.4 Two Characters Represented by A New Character. 30

3.4.1 Table 1 of the “General Tables”. 30

3.4.2 Table 2 of the “General Tables”. 30

Chapter 4: Summarizing Table 1 of the “General Tables”. 32

4.1 Simplification by Reducing the Number of Strokes. 32

4.1.1 Table 1 of the “General Tables”. 32

4.2 Simplification by Reducing the Number of Characters. 42

4.2.1 Table 1 of the “General Tables”. 42

Chapter 5: Summarizing Table 2 of the “General Tables”. 49

5.1 Simplification by Reducing the Number of Strokes. 49

5.1.1 Table 2 of the “General Tables”. 49

5.2 Simplification by Reducing the Number of Characters. 53

5.2.1 Table 2 of the “General Tables”. 54

Chapter 6: Table 3 of the “General Tables” — Analogy of Radical. 55

6.1 One Hundred Thirty Two Simplified Characters that Can Serve as a Radical of Another Character. 55

6.1.1  One Simplified Character Represents Multiple Traditional Characters. 55

6.2 Forteen Simplified Radicals. 56

Appendix 1: Table 1 of the “General Tables of Simplified Characters”. 60

Appendix 2: Table 2 of the “General Tables of Simplified Characters”. 63

Appendix 3: Table 3 of the “General Tables of Simplified Characters”. 65

Appendix 4: Table of Variant Characters (the Appendix of “General Tables of Simplified Characters”) 81

 


 

Chapter 1: Introduction

 

1.1 The Development of Current Simplified Characters

 

Since the beginning of the 20th century, there is a school of thought among Chinese intellectuals that Chinese characters are very difficult both to learn and to use. They think that the written language must be reformed, and one remedy is to simplify the characters.

 

1.1.1 “Chinese Character Simplification Scheme” of 1956

 

In January 1956, the State Council of the People's Republic of China promulgated the “Chinese Character Simplification Scheme”, intending to implement simplified characters in four installments. In February of 1956 it introduced 230 simplified characters, and another 95 in June. Then in May of 1958 it introduced 70 simplified characters, and another 92 in July. The total number of these four batches of simplified characters is 487.

 

1.1.2 “Joint Notice Concerning the Simplified Characters” of 1964

 

In March of 1964, the Chinese Written-Language Reform Committee, the Ministry of Culture, and the Ministry of Education issued the “Joint Notice Concerning the Simplified Characters”. It stipulates that: 1. the simplified characters listed in the “Chinese Character Simplification Scheme”, when used as a radical of a compound character, should also be simplified; 2. the radicals listed in the Table of the Simplified Radicals in the “Chinese Character Simplification Scheme”, except four radicals,(讠、饣、纟、钅), should also be simplified when used as stand-alone characters.

 

These two types of characters are listed in the followings:

1.       The following 92 characters have been simplified, so when used as radicals, should also be simplified accordingly. For example, “爲” has been simplified to“为”, so“僞嬀”should also be simplified to“伪妫”.

     愛爱 罷罢 備备 筆笔 畢毕 邊边 參参 倉仓

     嘗尝 蟲虫 從从 竄窜 達达 帶带 黨党 動动

     斷断 對对 隊队 爾尔 豐丰 廣广 歸归 龜龟

     國国 過过 華华 畫画 匯汇 夾夹 薦荐 將将

     節节 盡尽 進进 舉举 殻壳 來来 樂乐 離离

     歷历 麗丽 兩两 靈灵 劉刘 盧卢 虜虏 鹵卤

     録录 慮虑 買买 麥麦 黽黾 難难 聶聂 寧宁

     豈岂 氣气 遷迁 親亲 窮穷 嗇啬 殺杀 審审

     聖圣 時时 屬属 雙双 嵗岁 孫孙 條条 萬万

     爲为 烏乌 無无 獻献 鄉乡 寫写 尋寻 亞亚

     嚴严 厭厌 業业 藝艺 陰阴 隱隐 猶犹 與与

     雲云 鄭郑 埶执 質质

 

2.       The following 40 radicals have been simplified, so when used as stand-alone characters, should also be simplified accordingly (言食糸金”generally be simplified only when used as left-side radicals, but not simplified as stand-alone characters). For example, the radical“魚”has been simplified to“鱼”, so it should also be simplified to“鱼”when used as a stand-alone character.

     貝贝 賓宾 産产 長长 車车 齒齿 芻刍 單单

     當当 東东 發发 風风 岡冈 會会 幾几 戔戋

     監监 見见 龍龙 婁娄 侖仑 羅罗 馬马 賣卖

     門门 鳥鸟 農农 齊齐 僉佥 喬乔 區区 師师

     壽寿 肅肃 韋韦 堯尧 頁页 義义 魚鱼 專专

 

1.1.3 “General Tables of Simplified Characters” of 1964

 

At the same time, the Written-Language Reform Committee compiled and published the “General Tables of Simplified Characters”. It implemented the stipulations of “Joint Notice Concerning the Simplified Characters”. Therefore, not only it extended the range of simplified radicals, but also formalized the analogies of these radicals. As a result, it had vastly expanded the scope of the “Chinese Character Simplification Scheme”.

 

The “General Tables” consist of three tables, with a collective number of 2236 characters:

The first table records 352 simplified characters that are not used as a radical of another character, as in the “Chinese Character Simplification Scheme”.

The second table records the following two items:

1.       132 simplified characters that can serve as radicals.

These are the characters in the first and second items of the “Joint Notice Concerning the Simplified Characters” listed in the previous section.

2.       14 simplified radicals.

Four of them are the exceptions pointed out in the second item of the previous section: “言食糸金”that are not simplified when exist as stand-alone characters.

The third table records 1752 simplified characters that are the results of the analogies of the simplified characters and simplified radicals of Table 2.

 

1.1.4 “Second Chinese-Character Simplification Scheme (Draft)” of 1977

 

In December of 1977, the Written-Language Reform Committee put forward the “Second Chinese-Character Simplification Scheme (Draft)”, or in short, “Second Simplification". The “Second Simplification" consists of two tables: The first table contains 248 characters that should be used on a trial basis in the publications immediately after the announcement. The second table contains 605 characters and 61 simplified radicals, introduced for discussion only but not directly implemented. A decade later, the State Council deemed that the simplification of the “Second Simplification" was not proper, and in June of 1986 it declared them to be abolished.

 

1.1.5 Reissuance of “General Tables of Simplified Characters” of 1986

 

To redress the chaos in the usage of characters in the society, and to facilitate the public to use the Standardized Simplified Characters, in October 1986, the National Language Working Committee reissued the “General Tables of Simplified Characters”. In the “Explanation Concerning the Reissuance of ‘General Tables of Simplified Characters’”, they called for the public to use “General Tables of Simplified Characters” as the standard for  utilizing characters. Moreover, they declared that: "the forms of the Chinese characters should remain stable for a period of time in order to facilitate their usages.

 

Meanwhile, they also slightly amended the original “General Tables of Simplified Characters”, and added a few clarifications. Four simplified characters were restored to their traditional counterparts, that is, ”, “”, “”, and “” no-longer are simplified. The character ” when pronounced as “liǎo” (understand) still simplified as “; when pronounced as “liào” (lookout) it would not be simplified as “. In addition, for character“余〔餘〕”in Table 1, a clarification was added to the content of its footnote. And in Table 3, under the analogy of radical ”, a footnote was added to the analogized character “.

 

1.1.6 Summary

 

In short: the current simplified characters were launched in batches beginning in 1956, expanded and standardized as in the “General Tables of Simplified Characters” in 1964, and lastly, the “General Tables” were slightly amended in 1986. They have been used for over 50 years.

 

1.2 Simplification Measures

 

The written-language reformists think that the crux of the difficulty of Chinese characters is in the following two areas: the structures of the characters are too complex, and the number of characters is too many. The aim of simplification is to overcome these two shortcomings, and therefore the measures of simplification include the following two aspects:

1.       Reduce the number of strokes in a character;

2.       Reduce the number of characters.

 

The sources of the simplified characters include the following two aspects:

1.       Those still in use presently or have ever been used historically: ancient characters, Interchangeable characters, variant forms of characters, popularly-written forms of characters, cursive scripts and draft scripts, etc.;

2.       Those simplified characters that are created specifically to satisfy the current need of simplification.

The majority of the simplified characters in the “Chinese Character Simplification Scheme” belong to the first type.

 

The written-language reformists believe that the accomplishments of the simplification are as follows:

1.       In terms of reducing the number of strokes: for these over  2000 simplified characters, there are 15.6 strokes per character on average before the simplification, and they are reduced to 10.3 strokes on average after the simplification;

2.       In terms of reducing the number of characters: more than 200 characters are grouped into slightly over 100 characters, reducing more than 100 characters.

 

 

1.3 Structure of the “General Tables of Simplified Characters”

 

The “General Tables of Simplified Characters” that was reissued in 1986 include Table 1 through 3 of the “General Tables”, as well as the “Table of Variant Characters” as an Appendix.

 

1.3.1 Tables 1 Through 3

 

The 3 tables in the “General Tables of Simplified Characters” contain a total of 2235 simplified characters. They are presented in Appendices 1 through 3 of this book.

 

1.       Table 1 contains 350 simplified characters that cannot serve as a radical of another character.

These characters usually are not used as a radical of another character. Even if some of them can be used as a radical of another character, that character will not be simplified accordingly. For example, “” is simplified to “but “” should not be simplified to “(衣偏旁加习)”.

2.       Table 2 includes the following two groups:

  1. 132 simplified characters that can serve as a radical of another character.

These characters, whether they are as a stand-alone character or as a radical of another character, are both simplified accordingly.

  1. 14 simplified radicals.

These simplified radicals, regardless of their position within a character, are simplified accordingly. Among them, “讠、饣、纟、钅” are normally used as left-side radicals but cannot be used as stand-alone simplified characters. (In fact, by definition, none of these 14 simplified radicals can be used as a stand-alone character.)

3.       The collection of Table 3 is: 1753 characters that are obtained from the analogy of simplified characters and simplified radicals of Table 2, by implementing simplification to characters that contain them as components.

 For those characters that have already been simplified in the Table 1, the above simplification principals cannot be applied. For example, in Table 1, , , and ” have been simplified to , , and ”, respectively, thus they cannot be simplified according to their respective radicals “, , and .

 

In these 3 tables, some simplified characters have special circumstances, and appropriate comments are added following the relevant tables.

 

1.3.2 Appendix: “Table of Variant Characters”

 

The “Table of Variant Characters” that is annexed to the “General Tables of Simplified Characters” is presented in Appendix 4 at the end of this book. It contains 39 characters that are extracted from the “Sorting Table of Variant Characters of the First Batch”. These characters are customarily viewed as simplified characters. The purpose of annexing them is to clarify the situation and facilitate referencing.

 

 

1.4 Structure of the Book

 

This chapter, "Introduction", narrates the ins and outs of the Chinese-character simplification. The next two chapters discuss the two simplification measures that are applied to the characters in Table 1 and 2 of the “General Tables of Simplified Characters”, namely, reducing the number of stokes in a character and reducing the number of characters, respectively:

·         Chapter 2: Simplification by Reducing the Number of strokes;

·         Chapter 3: Simplification by Reducing the Number of Characters.

In these two chapters, the author systematically classifies the characters in detailed groupings based on their simplification characteristics.

 

Then in the following two chapters, the author summarizes Tables 1 and 2 of the "General Tables of Simplified Characters" according to these classifications:

·         Chapter 4: Summarizing Table 1 of the “General Tables”;

·         Chapter 5: Summarizing Table 2 of the “General Tables”.

Both Tables 1 and 2 of the "General Tables" are divided into two lists: the first list presents the characters of the first simplification measure, namely, reduction of strokes; the second list presents the characters of the second simplification measures, namely, reduction of the number of characters. Regarding the reduction of strokes, each character in the list is denoted with its simplification characteristics. And if there are any relevant characters, they are presented in the notation column, rendering a deeper understanding. Regarding the reduction of the number of characters, for the more than two hundred characters that have been combined, numerous vocabularies are listed as examples for each of them, which illuminate their meanings in great detail.

 

The last chapter of the book discusses the Table 3 of the “General Tables of Simplified Characters”:

·         Chapter 6: Table 3 of the “General Tables” — Analogy of Radical.

 

All the data in the whole book are presented in tabular form — simple, clear, and easy to understand.

 

The last part of the book contains the Appendices. It contains all the tables of the “General Tables of Simplified Characters” reissued in 1986, as well as the associated appendix:

1.       Table 1.350 Simplified Characters that cannot serve as a Radical of another Character.

2.       Table 2: 132 Simplified Characters that can serve as a Radical of another Character, and 14 Simplified Radicals.

3.       Table 3: 1753 Simplified Characters that are the Products of the Analogies of Table 2.

4.       Table of Variant Characters (the Appendix of the “General Tables of Simplified Characters”). 

 


 

Chapter 2: Simplification by Reducing the Number of Strokes

 

Section 1.2 of Chapter 1 pointed out that simplification measures lay in the following two areas:

1.       Reduce the number  of strokes;

2.       Reduce the number of characters.

This chapter discusses the simplification measure of reducing strokes; the next chapter deals with the simplification measure of reducing character count. The characters involved in these two chapters are limited to the first and second tables of the “General Tables of Simplified Characters”. The third table is discussed in Chapter 6; the characters in this table are derived from the second table.

 

The simplification measure of the reduction of the number of strokes is divided into the following six categories:

1.       dramatically simplified;

2.       remove component;

3.       replace component;

4.       simplify component;

5.       simplified to become a pictophonetic character;

6.       replaced by symbol.

Each of them is presented in each of the following six sections: 2.1 – 2.6.

 

 

2.1 Dramatically Simplified

 

“Dramatically simplified” means that the resulting simplified characters are significantly different from the original ones. It is divided into the following three categories:

1.       replacement by a different character;

2.       deletion of a large portion while retaining its characteristics;

3.       overall deletion while preserving the contour.

 

2.1.1 Replacement by a Different Character

 

《總表》第一表

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註:悬[]是根據县[]類推簡化

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2.1.2 Deletion of a Large Portion While Retaining Its Characteristics

 

《總表》第一表

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《總表》第二表

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2.1.3 Overall Deletion While Preserving the Contour

 

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《總表》第二表

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齿[]

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2.2 Remove Component

 

The simplification by removing component is divided into the following nine categories:

1.       remove outer component;

2.       remove middle component;

3.       remove left component;

4.       remove right component;

5.       remove upper component;

6.       remove lower component;

7.       remove half of the upper component;

8.       remove one of the two repeating components;

9.       remove a small fraction.

 

Remove Outer Component

 

《總表》第一表

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Remove Middle Component

 

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註:夺[]和奋[]:刪除中間的隹

《總表》第二表

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Remove Left Component

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