Simplification of traditional characters
go_manlyJune 13, 2010, 11:49 PM
Yellowbridge refers to simplification rules, but does not list them. For example, it says 門 to 门 is 'Generic character simplification #77'. If there is such a numbering system, it would make sense that there would be a table, but I can't find one. You have to look up the etymology character by character.
thanks go_manly. Yes, exactly. I have seen that numbering before as well and drew the same conclusions. It must be somewhere. Whether it's on the web ,in English and easy to find is another matter. A set of rules that could be followed,understood and applied would make it a lot easier than learning character by character [but you are right that in the absence of such a resource it would seem the only way forward]. Changye ,any ideas?
markJune 13, 2010, 11:53 PM
I don't know of any specific list of rules, but I have observed that if a character is simplified, it often, but not always is simplified in other characters that it is part of. (e.g. 龙 and 庞）Radicals are often simplified consistently (e.g. 讠for 言 even if the standalone charater is still 言 or the right hand side of 经）
changyeJune 13, 2010, 11:54 PM
Method of simplification (Wiki)
Thanks changye. It looks like this discusses the methods which is a great starting point. It looks like it just gives an example of each method rather than a list of simplifications under that method. Do you know of where to find simplification #63 ,etc?
RJJune 14, 2010, 12:35 AM
there were about 38% of characters simplified and they were done 3 ways
1. the radical was simplified
2. the non radical portion was simplified
3a. the radical was replaced by another
3b the radical was removed
3c the entire character was changed
I dont think there were consistent rules that would allow you to self predict the simplification of any traditional character.
ref -"What character is that" by ping-gam Go
Actually I'm kinda coming at it from the opposite direction in the main part. I've been learning simple characters so what I'm mainly wanting to be able to do is recognise that a character is just the traditional form of a simple character I already know. I don't want to grab some random character that I don't know at all and predict which way it has been simplified [though that would be nice]. Marks example of 讠for 言 is exactly the sort of thing I'm looking for. A good list of such examples would be great.
that is a radical simplification and there are lists of radicals in simplified and trad forms. Only 28 of the 214 radicals have been simplified. You would like the book I referenced I think. I will send you a list of the 28 by email tomorrow.
thanks RJ. That is an excellent help and a great start. By coincidence I subscribed to yellowbridge last week for just the reason that it seems the best as far as I can see with character decomposition. Checking out all yellowbridge has to offer is on my to do list. Looking quickly at that table I see that I already knew most of them up to 196. I wonder what fraction of the 38% this radical simplification [number one method in your above post ] accounts for. It would be great to have some other tables ,like for the non radical parts. I know the non radical parts are often the phonetic. I'd like to know more about these non radical parts....how to identify which part is what in a character [I gather that commonly the radical is on the left and the phonetic on the right for example]. I guess the phonetic can be a structure that is used as a radical in other characters, or a small character. Are there structures in a character that aren't a radical or character elsewhere? What are they called and is there a table of them somewhere? Sorry for the simple question...I've never really gotten round to working all this out properly.
to answer your question, option 1 accounts for 30% of simplified characters and option 2 accounts for 50%. I will let you do the math (no s here go_manly because I refer only to arithmetic) for option 3.
here is a table of 858 phonetics
you might also like the site by Yves Goulnik who used to be active at cpod until threading was rolled out.**
** just kidding about the threading - 开玩笑
great answer RJ. That's really helpful. Now that table of phonetics is really interesting and a quick glance seems to confirm what I've noticed before...that the phonetic component is usually either a radical [elsewhere obviously] or a character [again elsewhere]. Take for example 几 which is listed in that phonetic table you linked to. Clearly it can also be a radical as well as a character in it's own right. I guess what I'd like to know is whether there are any structures that are phonetics that can serve no other function elsewhere [that is are not radicals and nor are they characters]. Does anyone know the answer to that?
also some more complex structures seem to have a radical a phonetic and other parts. Is there a name for these other parts? I guess sometimes these other parts are also made of radicals and characters and sometimes merely strokes. Am I on the right track here?
Having been decomposing characters for the past several months, I believe that in the preponderance of cases, the "other parts" are themselves a character. In a few cases, the construction process seems to have aggregated multiple other parts in one step and the resultant character consists of several radicals used to make a stylized pictogram (e.g. 燕 or 赢) . It seems to be somewhat more common that the original character got distorted/simplified when it was combined with a radical ( e.g. the 麻 in 磨 )