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Mandarin & Cantonese[edit]

Is this really a loan word from Japanese? I'm not entirely convinced. ---> Tooironic 12:56, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

  • @Tooironic I dug up details regarding the JA etym, clarifying that this was an existing term borrowed from Mid ZH and later repurposed. The repurposed meaning was then back-ported into ZH. Have a look at the JA entry and see if that answers your concerns. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 02:33, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
  • And yet there are plenty of hits for 自由 in ancient and literary Chinese, see here. Are we supposed to believe these all mean "autonomy; self-determination"? ---> Tooironic (talk) 16:32, 24 June 2016 (UTC)
  • You tell me: I'm not that up on ancient and literary Chinese. I know what I read in English and Japanese sources primarily, since I'm working on Japanese entries.
FWIW, I do see that the ZH Wiktionary entry for 自由 lists a similar derivation for the modern senses of freedom, liberty:


HTH, ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 19:28, 24 June 2016 (UTC)
I think we have to be more careful on this. We can't assume that every 詞 with a modern reading in Chinese comes from Japanese. Sure, there are some terms that are obvious Japanese coinages like 電話, 現象, etc., but if we can find plenty of citations in 文言文, we should not write: Etymology: Wasei kango. I've changed the wording slightly now in a way that won't mislead users. This is in line with the information I found online - here is an article that explains the etymology well. A good rule of thumb is if there are no hits on, then you can be sure it most probably is directly from Japanese; if there are hits, then we should evaluate them. Ctext is a reliable database; it cataglogues most of the famous Chinese classical works, including pre-Qin and post-Qin. ---> Tooironic (talk) 04:23, 25 June 2016 (UTC)
Here's the key quote from that article by the way: 很多人往往误以为近代人借用的日本词,其实“自由”一词连用其来有自,是名副其实的汉文词汇,在中国古代文献、诗文中大量存在,只是到了近代,被日本人率先借用,去对译西文的自由,又为出使和留学日本的中国学者、学生“拿来主义”了,以致以讹传讹被误认为是日本词 ---> Tooironic (talk) 04:24, 25 June 2016 (UTC)
  • I'm happy with what you've got for the Chinese etym. FWIW, it was Fumiko who added the too-brief ZH etym, in this edit in September 2015. She has a bias towards brevity that I think sometimes leads to the omission of important information. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 16:47, 27 June 2016 (UTC)
PS: I think there might be some value in describing the semantic evolution in the ZH etym. I'll leave that to you and the other ZH editors. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 16:49, 27 June 2016 (UTC)