Take the 2-minute tour ×
Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am currently studying kanji by using a number of sites, some of which provide mnemonics to aid in learning. While not a specific radical per se (I think), the top portions of the following characters, 恋, 変, and 湾 are often thought of as a simplification of the character for red: 赤. Thus there are mnemonics provided for kanji like those mentioned that use this idea of "red."

However, http://www.kanjinetworks.com states that the etymology of this (quasi-)radical is as follows:

䜌 (Type 1 Phonetic) is 絲 (糸 thread doubled, a character now subsumed in 糸) + 言 words (in its original sense of making verbal distinctions → distinguish) → make tangled threads distinct by stretching and untangling them.

In other words, rather than "red," it is in fact a simplification of an archaic character related to the "thread" radical, 糸.

I am interested to know if this is correct, and how native Japanese perceive or conceptualize this (quasi-)radical--as being related to 糸, 赤 or something altogether different.

For example, here is the whole entry from the site on the kanji 変 :

変 (9) ヘン か(える・わる) Formerly 變

As per 䜌 (Type 5 Phonetic) as described in 恋 (tangled) + 攵 action indicator → an attempt to untangle a volatile situation, that leads to change → unusual; unusual/wondrous event; political event; internal disturbance.

share|improve this question
1  
See also en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E4%BA%A6 –  snailboat Sep 26 '12 at 19:39
    
@snailplane, thanks. lol @ water from armpits –  yadokari Sep 26 '12 at 20:16

1 Answer 1

I'm just a student of Japanese, and I only know how I conceptualize it, not how anyone else does. So this may not be a very good answer, but I'm typing it anyway in case it's useful.

As I understand it, there are two different 亦:

  1. The original 亦
  2. 䜌 written as 亦

So, 亦 does not "come from" 䜌, but 䜌 as an element is sometimes written as 亦. Broadly, then, you can put characters containing 亦 into two categories, which tend to have different sounds. The large majority appear to be 亦-as-䜌, while 亦-as-亦 shows up in 跡 and 亦 itself, which is used to write one sense of the word また. So:

When I write 亦-as-亦, I think また.

When I write 亦-as-䜌, I think レン.

Why レン? Well, it seems to represent that sound:

  • 攣{れん} (as in the word 痙攣{けいれん})
  • 恋{れん}/ [戀]{れん}

I then draw mental arrows out from レン to what appear to be related readings:

  • ヘン, as in 変{へん}/[變]{へん}
  • ワン, as in 弯{わん}/[彎]{わん}
  • バン, as in 蛮{ばん}/[蠻]{ばん}

I know that's not an answer to your question, but I hope it's helpful anyway.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.