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Mandarin question[edit]

Can 日中 mean "day" or something similar? I've come across this term but there's as yet no Wiktionary article for it. 23:31, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

No, this word actually means Japan-China or Japanese-Chinese, as in ‘Japanese-Chinese political relationship’ or similar. stands for Japan (日本), and stands for China (中国). – Krun 00:04, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Glyph origin 日 ☉[edit]

I'm sorry, but when I'm looking at 日 and ☉, I don't see how the line/dot in the middle has anything to do with the way the sun looks (not saying I've looked at the sun, but I've seen photos).

"liushu|p – pictographic representation of the Sun. Compare earlier forms of the character with the astronomical and astrological symbol for the Sun ()."


Maybe I'm not understanding what Xu Shen was saying. Let me know if I'm totally off track.


If the above statement is true, then this is a 指事字, right??

List of places where it's blithely assumed as obvious that a line/dot in the center of a circle is a pictogram of our sun (which is by no means obvious to me):

Shuowen 象形字 象形

Here's how I see it:

liushu|i: a circle (representing the Sun's circularity) with a dot (later a line) in the center. The dot/line serves to create a difference between the written appearance of and (meaning 'mouth'). Compare earlier forms of the character with the astronomical and astrological symbol for the Sun (). Traditionally considered to be a pictographic representation of the Sun (see Shuowen).

If it's a sunspot, then let's say so.

The earliest extant report of sunspots dates back to the Chinese Book of Changes, c. 800 BC. The phrases used in the book translate to "A dou is seen in the Sun" and "A mei is seen in the Sun", where dou and mei would be darkening or obscuration (based on the context). Observations were regularly noted by Chinese and Korean astronomers at the behest of the emperors, rather than independently.[5]

Duan Yucai says "一象其中不虧。" Xu Shen says "精不虧". What does this mean? That the Yang-qi of the sun is maxed out?

--Geographyinitiative (talk) 13:42, 9 April 2018 (UTC)

I'm afraid your post isn't terribly clear: what are you actually asking?
If you are asking, "how is it that a circle-dot ☉ symbol means sun?", it's worth noting that at least three different independent pictographic systems created similar glyphs for this same concept. Compare the Chinese ☉ with the Egyptian hieroglyph visible at Sun (hieroglyph), and the Mayan glyph of a rounded square with a cross pattern and a dot in the middle, visible at Google Search. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 19:32, 9 April 2018 (UTC)
@Geographyinitiative: The dot or line in the middle doesn't make it a 指事字. The sun is clearly the main object depicted. The dot or line is simply added for disambiguation from other unrelated but visually similar characters. Pictographs are written symbols, so some degrees of abstraction is understandable. I'm going to change it back to 象形字 unless you have a reliable source that explicitly calls it a 指事字. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 20:55, 9 April 2018 (UTC)


@Wyang I still wish to list the "sun; day" senses and "to fuck" sense into standalone sections. Because I think their MC and OC reconstructions are different, and the current layout seems to imply these senses have the same MC and OC reconstructions. Your opinion? Dokurrat (talk) 02:38, 12 April 2018 (UTC)

@Dokurrat I prefer merging them. The "to fuck" sense likely postdates the time of Middle Chinese, and this can be elaborated on in the Etymology section. Modern varieties do not distinguish the two senses as separate pronunciations. Most Chinese characters are used for multiple 'etymologies', and Hanyu Da Zidian, the standard reference for Chinese characters, does not split character senses by etymology. It is also much more aesthetic and less distracting when merged. Wyang (talk) 02:53, 12 April 2018 (UTC)
@Wyang: Roger. Dokurrat (talk) 02:58, 12 April 2018 (UTC)
@Wyang, Dokurrat: I kind of prefer splitting these. The layout in Hanyu Da Zidian is kind of less irrelevant since it does not usually include etymologies anyway; it just splits by pronunciation. Other dictionaries like Xiandai Hanyu Cidian and Xiandai Hanyu Guifan Cidian generally split entries by semantic field, which is somewhat related to etymology. Splitting would make it more intuitive as to which definitions go with which etymology. People unfamiliar with semantic extension may think we are missing etymologies for some senses. It wouldn't be completely clear unless we list all the definitions in the etymology, which is kind of counterintuitive. It would also be more intuitive for the alternative forms since the current layout makes it seem like 囸 and its friends can all be used for "to f---", unless we label each one with "Sun; etc.", which would make {{zh-forms}} really cumbersome. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 03:08, 12 April 2018 (UTC)
@Justinrleung The practice of splitting by pronunciation rather than semantic fields in Hanyu Da Cidian is relevant, as it shows that this is the model preferred by the gold standard on Chinese characters, and this proves to be a sustainable and wise model for us to follow. Xiandai Hanyu Cidian and Xiandai Hanyu Guifan Cidian have a smaller scope compared to Hanyu Da Cidian and us, thus less distraction when split, and splitting senses by semantic fields is also typographically easier to achieve for them. Splitting senses by etymology also imply splitting headings, pronunciations, headword templates, etc. per the ridiculous format on Wiktionary. Taking 日 as an example, there are also more senses: “two” (Guangya) and abbreviation of 日斯巴尼亞 (“Spain”). Variants in zh-forms are not supposed to represent all senses under that etymology anyway; 囸𡆠𡇁𡆸𡇗𡈎 are hardly variants for 日 for the “Japan” sense, but we don't annotate them either. They should be handled on their respective pages. Wyang (talk) 03:18, 12 April 2018 (UTC)
@Wyang: Hanyu Da Zidian is indeed a great resource on Chinese characters, and of course, we should consider its layout when deciding on ours. However, Hanyu Da Zidian does not have etymologies, which is something that distinguishes Wiktionary from other dictionaries. IMO the merged solution makes the etymology section really clunky. In entries like , where etymologies are still unclear or blurred, I am good with merging, but with this entry, where the etymologies are so clear cut, I think it'd be more intuitive to split the etymologies. I guess splitting does make it a little distracting layout-wise, but it would take away problems of ambiguity. About abbreviations of place names and such, like at for an extreme case, I'm fine with lumping them together as one etymology, either with the "main" etymology (of the same pronunciation) or as another abbreviation etymology. Just to make things a little more complicated, 日 can also be read in the name 金日磾; splitting etymologies here would probably be better. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 03:50, 12 April 2018 (UTC)