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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.

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

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.

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