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Character
Unicode name CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-4E0D
Code point U+4E0D
Entity number 不
Unicode block CJK Unified Ideographs
[U+4E0C] [U+4E0E]
See also: 𣎴

Translingual[edit]

Stroke order
不-order.gif

Han character[edit]

(radical 1 +3, 4 strokes, cangjie input 一火 (MF), four-corner 10900, composition)

Derived characters[edit]

Descendants[edit]

References[edit]

  • KangXi: page 76, character 15
  • Dai Kanwa Jiten: character 19
  • Dae Jaweon: page 149, character 4
  • Hanyu Da Zidian: volume 1, page 11, character 6
  • Unihan data for U+4E0D

Chinese[edit]

simp. and trad.

Glyph origin[edit]

Historical forms of the character
Oracle bone script Bronze inscriptions Small seal script
不-oracle.svg 不-bronze.svg 不-seal.svg





References:

Mostly from Richard Sears' Chinese Etymology site (authorisation),
which in turn draws data from various collections of ancient forms of Chinese characters, including:

  • Shuowen Jiezi (small seal),
  • Jinwen Bian (bronze inscriptions),
  • Liushutong (large seal) and
  • Xu Jiaguwen Bian (oracle bone script).

Pictogram (象形).

The character originated as a pictograph of the calyx of a flower. It was then composed into a phono-semantic character with the pictograph for mouth (), to form (OC *brɯʔ, *pɯʔ), representing “no” (negation). This composed meaning then spread back to the original character , making it a synonym of . A new character of (OC *po) was eventually created to represent the original meaning of calyx.

Karlgren and Wieger interpret it as a bird flying toward the sky (). The sky being the limit for the bird, thus the idea of negation.

Etymology[edit]

Old Chinese had two sets of negatives: the initial *p-series and the initial *m-series. is the prototype of the *p-series of negatives. Although it is the usual Literary Chinese negative attested from the oracle bone script down, its current usage is now confined to Mandarin dialects. In the oracle bone inscriptions, a total of five negative particles can be found: , , , and . With the exception of (discussed later), the remaining can be neatly organised into the following system:

*-V *-ɯd
*p-type negatives (< ?) (OC *pɯ, *pɯʔ, *pɯ') (OC *pɯd)
*m-type negatives (< Proto-Sino-Tibetan *ma) (OC *ma)
( (OC *ma))
(OC *mɯd)

Takahashi (1996) argued that the *m-type negatives are modal (i.e. negative verbs which are thought of as controllable by the Shang), whereas the *p-type negatives are non-modal (imply uncontrollability; actions which are beyond the control of living persons).

In the *p-series, usually goes with intransitive verbs in the oracle bone script, and (OC *pɯd) with transitive ones, although there are some glaring exceptions. Little or no pattern can be discerned in the *m-type category. Takahashi (1996) also proposed that the difference between the two vowel series was whether they preceded “stative, eventive, passive” (*-V series) or “non-stative, non-eventive, active” (*-ɯd series) verbs.

It is possible that the two parallel series of negatives in Old Chinese represent a fusion of the common Sino–Tibetan *ma ‎(no, not) (carried by the eastward-migrating early Sino–Tibetans) and an indigenous negation system in Central China, and that the merger had been complete by the Shang times. Compare a similar system in Proto-Tai: *ɓawᴮ ‎(not [strong form 1]), *boːᴮ ‎(not [strong form 2]), *miːᴬ ‎(not [weak form]); Thai บ่ ‎(, (literary, archaic, dialectal) not).

In developing from Middle Chinese to Mandarin, this word escaped from regular sound changes to yield its modern pronunciation of , owing to itself belonging to the popular stratum. The expected reading is fǒu, with labiodentalisation, now represented by its unaffected Middle Chinese homophone (“not”). The development from Old Chinese to Middle Chinese was not regular either; the variant Middle Chinese readings with checked coda (–t) were an innovation not found in Old Chinese. Another example of high-frequency words escaping regular sound changes is (OC *paʔ, *baʔ, “dad”), which resulted in a late coinage of ().

is cognate with other negation particles in the *p-type category:

  • (OC *pɯd, “not”);
  • (OC *pɯj, “not be; not”) – can be safely regarded as a fusion of (OC *pɯ, *pɯʔ, *pɯ', “not”) and (OC *ɢʷi, “to be”);
  • (OC *brɯʔ, *pɯʔ, “not; to be wrong”);
  • (OC *pɯjʔ, “it is not; to be not”); and
  • (OC *pɯjʔ, “it is not; to be not”).

Pronunciation 1[edit]



Rime
Character
Reading # 1/4 2/4 3/4 4/4
Initial () (1) (1) (1) (1)
Final () (136) (136) (60) (56)
Tone (調) Level (Ø) Rising (X) Checked (Ø) Checked (Ø)
Openness (開合) Open Open Closed Closed
Division () III III III I
Fanqie
Reconstructions
Zhengzhang
Shangfang
/pɨu/ /pɨuX/ /pɨut̚/ /puət̚/
Pan
Wuyun
/piu/ /piuX/ /piut̚/ /puot̚/
Shao
Rongfen
/piəu/ /piəuX/ /piuət̚/ /puət̚/
Edwin
Pulleyblank
/puw/ /puwX/ /put̚/ /pwət̚/
Li
Rong
/piu/ /piuX/ /piuət̚/ /puət̚/
Wang
Li
/pĭəu/ /pĭəuX/ /pĭuət̚/ /puət̚/
Bernard
Karlgren
/pi̯ə̯u/ /pi̯ə̯uX/ /pi̯uət̚/ /puət̚/
Expected
Mandarin
Reflex
fōu fǒu fu bu
Baxter-Sagart system 1.1 (2014)
Character
Reading # 1/2
Modern
Beijing
(Pinyin)
Middle
Chinese
‹ pjuw ›
Old
Chinese
/*pə/
English not

Notes for Old Chinese notations in the Baxter-Sagart system:

* Parentheses "()" indicate uncertain presence;
* Square brackets "[]" indicate uncertain identity, e.g. *[t] as coda may in fact be *-t or *-p;
* Angle brackets "<>" indicate infix;
* Hyphen "-" indicates morpheme boundary;

* Period "." indicates syllable boundary.
Zhengzhang system (2003)
Character
Reading # 1/3 2/3 3/3
No. 1025 1029 1048
Phonetic
component
Rime
group
Rime
subdivision
0 0 1
Corresponding
MC rime
Old
Chinese
/*pɯ/ /*pɯʔ/ /*pɯ'/
Notes

Definitions[edit]

  1. not (preceding verbs and adjectives)
    這個 / 这个  ―  Zhège hǎo.  ―  This is not good.
    /   ―  ài nǐ.  ―  He does not love you.
  2. no (answer to a yes-no question)
    日本人不是 [MSC, trad.]
    日本人不是 [MSC, simp.]
    Nǐ shì rìběnrén ma? , wǒ bùshì. [Pinyin]
    Are you Japanese? No, I'm not.
  3. Used with (jiù) to indicate the first of two alternatives.
    每天上班就是義工一點兒休息時間沒有 [MSC, trad.]
    每天上班就是义工一点儿休息时间没有 [MSC, simp.]
    Tā měitiān shì shàngbān, jiùshì qù zuò yìgōng, yīdiǎnr xiūxī de shíjiān dōu méiyǒu. [Pinyin]
    Everyday, he either goes to work or volunteers, not leaving any time for rest.
  4. (colloquial) Question particle placed at the end of the sentence.
  5. (colloquial) Intensifying particle often used with (hǎo).
  6. (archaic) Meaningless particle used in poems and other texts.
Synonyms[edit]
Dialectal synonyms of ("not")
Variety Location Words
Classical Classical
Mandarin Beijing
Taiwan
Jinan
Xi'an
Wuhan
Chengdu
Yangzhou
Hefei
Cantonese Guangzhou
Hong Kong
Taishan
Yangjiang
Gan Nanchang
Hakka Meixian
Miaoli (N. Sixian)
Liudui (S. Sixian)
Hsinchu (Hailu)
Dongshi (Dabu)
Taiwanese Raoping
Yunlin (Zhao'an)
Jin Taiyuan
Min Bei Jian'ou 𣍐
Min Dong Fuzhou 𣍐
Min Nan Quanzhou
Xiamen
Zhangzhou
Taipei
Kaohsiung
Chaozhou
Shantou
Wu Shanghai
Wenzhou
Xiang Changsha
Shuangfeng
Usage notes[edit]

Pronunciation 2[edit]



Rime
Character
Reading # 2/4
Initial () (1)
Final () (136)
Tone (調) Rising (X)
Openness (開合) Open
Division () III
Fanqie
Reconstructions
Zhengzhang
Shangfang
/pɨuX/
Pan
Wuyun
/piuX/
Shao
Rongfen
/piəuX/
Edwin
Pulleyblank
/puwX/
Li
Rong
/piuX/
Wang
Li
/pĭəuX/
Bernard
Karlgren
/pi̯ə̯uX/
Expected
Mandarin
Reflex
fǒu

Definitions[edit]

  1. (archaic) Alternative form of (fǒu, “negation and question particle”).

Pronunciation 3[edit]


Rime
Character
Reading # 1/4
Initial () (1)
Final () (136)
Tone (調) Level (Ø)
Openness (開合) Open
Division () III
Fanqie
Reconstructions
Zhengzhang
Shangfang
/pɨu/
Pan
Wuyun
/piu/
Shao
Rongfen
/piəu/
Edwin
Pulleyblank
/puw/
Li
Rong
/piu/
Wang
Li
/pĭəu/
Bernard
Karlgren
/pi̯ə̯u/
Expected
Mandarin
Reflex
fōu
Baxter-Sagart system 1.1 (2014)
Character
Reading # 1/2
Modern
Beijing
(Pinyin)
Middle
Chinese
‹ pjuw ›
Old
Chinese
/*pə/
English not

Notes for Old Chinese notations in the Baxter-Sagart system:

* Parentheses "()" indicate uncertain presence;
* Square brackets "[]" indicate uncertain identity, e.g. *[t] as coda may in fact be *-t or *-p;
* Angle brackets "<>" indicate infix;
* Hyphen "-" indicates morpheme boundary;

* Period "." indicates syllable boundary.
Zhengzhang system (2003)
Character
Reading # 1/3
No. 1025
Phonetic
component
Rime
group
Rime
subdivision
0
Corresponding
MC rime
Old
Chinese
/*pɯ/

Definitions[edit]

  1. A surname​.

Pronunciation 4[edit]

Definitions[edit]

  1. (archaic) calyx

Compounds[edit]


Japanese[edit]

Kanji[edit]

(grade 4 “Kyōiku” kanji)

  1. not, non-, un-

Readings[edit]

Compounds[edit]

Prefix[edit]

‎(hiragana , romaji fu-)

  1. un-, non-, in-

‎(hiragana , romaji bu-)

  1. un-, non-, in-
  2. bad, poor

Korean[edit]

Hanja[edit]

‎(bu, bul, bi)
Eumhun:

  • Sound (hangeul): , ,  (revised: bu, bul, bi, McCune-Reischauer: pu, pul, pi, Yale: pwu, pwu, pi)
  • Name (hangeul): 아닐, 아닐,  (revised: anil, anil, keul, McCune-Reischauer: anil, anil, k'ǔl, Yale: anil, anil, khul)
  1. This entry needs a definition. Please add one, then remove {{defn}}.

References[edit]


Vietnamese[edit]

Han character[edit]

(bất, phầu, phủ, phi, bứt)

  1. This entry needs a definition. Please add one, then remove {{defn}}.

References[edit]

  • Thiều Chửu : Hán Việt Tự Điển Hà Nội 1942
  • Trần Văn Chánh: Từ Điển Hán Việt NXB Trẻ, Ho Chi Minh Ville, 1999
  • Vũ Văn Kính: Đại Tự Điển Chữ Nôm, NXB Văn Nghệ, Ho Chi Minh Ville, 1999