琵琶

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Chinese[edit]

(mus. instr.) pipa (mus. instr.) pipa
simp. and trad.
(琵琶)
alt. forms 枇杷
批把
鼙婆
Chinese Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia zh
Pipa.

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from a language in the Western Regions during the Han Dynasty. Compare Persian بربط‎‎(barbat, barbat; lute), Ancient Greek βάρβιτος(bárbitos, barbitos; ancient stringed instrument).

Both characters were initially non-checked tone characters. Reborrowed during the Tang Dynasty from a source that more closely resembles the modern Persian name of the instrument, and both characters were read as if they have checked codas. The original non-checked readings were restored after the Tang Dynasty. Compare the modern checked-tone dialectal readings of 枇杷 (pípá).

Much folk etymology exists surrounding the name origin. The dictionary Shiming [2nd CE] explains the name as 批把 (pípá, “slap-grasp”), reflecting the plucking movements while playing the stringed instrument. 琵琶 is also cognate with—and possibly gave rise to the name of (due to the similarity in shape)—枇杷 (pípá, “loquat”), which is also a non-native species.

Pronunciation[edit]



Rime
Character
Reading # 1/1 1/1
Initial () (3) (3)
Final () (15) (98)
Tone (調) Level (Ø) Level (Ø)
Openness (開合) Open Open
Division () III II
Fanqie
Reconstructions
Zhengzhang
Shangfang
/biɪ/ /bˠa/
Pan
Wuyun
/bi/ /bᵚa/
Shao
Rongfen
/bjɪ/ /ba/
Edwin
Pulleyblank
/bi/ /baɨ/
Li
Rong
/bi/ /ba/
Wang
Li
/bi/ /ba/
Bernard
Karlgren
/bʱi/ /bʱa/
Expected
Mandarin
Reflex
Zhengzhang system (2003)
Character
Reading # 1/1 1/1
No. 525 116
Phonetic
component
Rime
group
Rime
subdivision
2 0
Corresponding
MC rime
𣬈
Old
Chinese
/*bi/ /*braː/
Notes

Noun[edit]

琵琶

  1. (music) pipa (plucked Chinese string instrument)

Derived terms[edit]

Descendants[edit]

Sino-Xenic (琵琶):

Japanese[edit]

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Kanji in this term

Jinmeiyō

Jinmeiyō
on'yomi

Noun[edit]

琵琶 ‎(hiragana びわ, romaji biwa)

  1. biwa (Japanese lute, a plucked, fretted pear-shaped lute with four or, more rarely, five strings)

Korean[edit]

Hanja in this term

Noun[edit]

琵琶 ‎(bipa) ‎(hangeul 비파)

  1. Hanja form? of 비파, “bipa, lute”.

Vietnamese[edit]

Hán tự in this word

Noun[edit]

琵琶

  1. Hán tự form of tỳ bà, “a plucked, fretted pear-shaped lute with four strings”