This kanji "ask" when I researched on it I found that the 門 part is a phonetic and this common with kanjis contain 門 .. but i found this site which says that this part 門 in kanji 問 not a phonetic but it has the meaning "to hide something behind the gate" and this meaning + ロ kanji meant that to "ask" about something which hidden behind the gate or the door.

Is this etymology right? And if it's right how did the author know this information about the meaning of "門 part using" in the kanjis?

  • 3
    [門]{もん} isn’t a phonetic component in [問]{もん}? I think you can judge the trustworthiness of this website for yourself. A lot of websites say very random things about kanji to make mnemonics.
    – dROOOze
    Commented Mar 2, 2019 at 2:25
  • Like @droooze said. There's a lot of rubbish out there that might be helpful for memorizing kanji, but has nothing to do with actual etymologies and derivations. Also, *what* site? Your post includes a borken link, so we can't evaluate your reference ourselves. Commented Mar 2, 2019 at 3:33
  • Something can be both phonetic and semantic at the same time, as well.
    – Leebo
    Commented Mar 2, 2019 at 3:55

1 Answer 1


「[問]{もん}」(to ask) is rather straightforwardly constructed from semantic「口」(mouth) and phonetic「[門]{もん}」. There is no meaning contribution by「門」, and「問」was the original construction since Shang Dynasty oracle bones.

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The linked website in the question is unreliable - there are three major errors in the explanations just on that page. Of course, there is nothing wrong with using those explanations as a mnemonic, if it helps you remember the kanji better.

  • So it's a phonetic ... another question that there is a comment above said that the phonetic can be also semantic .. if this right how can i know the meaning of the phonetic as a semantic ?
    – user32763
    Commented Mar 3, 2019 at 1:58
  • @user32763 You're not supposed to intuitively know that a component is both phonetic and semantic. Instead, you look up a reference (hopefully researched by experts) that tells you when a component is both phonetic and semantic.
    – dROOOze
    Commented Mar 3, 2019 at 23:31

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