WORDS FROM PICTURES
Chinese characters originate from pictures, for example:
The character for “water” [shui] is derived from the picture.
Numerous Chinese characters including “river”, “stream”, “flow”, “gush”, “soup”, “tear”, incorporates “water” as a component, known as word radical. This could be written as the character above, or ‘Three doted water’ radical.
The Chinese character for “heart” [xin], is depicted as:
Characters pertaining to sentiments or emotions normally
have heart as a radical. Characters such as “angry”,
The character for “door” [men] is depicted below.
The character is now simplified as 门. It appears as a component in other characters including “open” [kai], “close” [guan].
The word fish [yú] requires little explanation.
The resemblance to a fish is remarkable. Originally the characters were in all shapes, but they are now presented to fit into “square” format.
The challenge comes when one needs to express concepts or abstract ideas such as emotions. Let us look at a few examples.
The character [zhong] refers to Middle, Central or Centre. The character depicts a line drawn right in the centre of a rectangle.
[zhong] (Central, Middle)
When the words Central and Heart are combined we get the scenario whereby the heart remains central, not swayed by circumstances, giving rise to the character Loyalty (zhong).
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