AP Annual Conference 2007
College board

July 13 - 14 at Venetian Resort in Las Vegas

Subject: Chinese Etymology

Presenter: Tienzen (Jeh-Tween) Gong

Abstract and outline:

For Americans, Chinese language could be the most difficult language to learn for, at least, two reasons:

  1. Each Chinese word is a stand-alone word which has no logic connection with any other words.
  2. The match between a writing (written) word and its pronunciations is in a haphazard manner. They must be memorized with brutal efforts.
For more than two thousand years, the native Chinese learns the Chinese language in the same way as Americans do. Thus, today, the high school graduates in China learned about 4,000 Chinese words and about 6,000 words for the college graduates while there are over 60,000 Chinese words.

If Chinese writing words (all 60,000 of them) are all composed of from 220 word roots and if the meaning of each Chinese word can be read out loud from these word roots directly, then the entire Chinese writing words (all 60,000 of them) become as simple as the high school geometry. That is, the entire Chinese writing words system can be mastered by anyone (including Americans) in two semesters.

Again, if every Chinese word carries a pronunciation tag, then learning the pronunciations of Chinese words will be as easy as of English words.

This presentation will show three facts:

  1. Every Chinese word (100%, all 60,000 of them) is composed of from only 220 word roots, and the meaning of each word can be read out loud from those word roots directly.
  2. Every Chinese word (100%) carries a pronunciations tag.
  3. Then, why does Chinese people not know about these for over two thousand years?

The following is the table of content of this presentation:

  1. Introduction
  2. Chinese language in the eyes of experts:
  3. Some examples of words and word roots
  4. The Chinese words system
  5. Why does Chinese people not learn Chinese language via the above system for over two thousand years?

  6. More examples

I. Introduction

The purpose of a language is not just for communications between men. It must posses the ability to describe the mysteries of nature which encompass, at least, two characteristics: abstraction and limitless in quantity and in number. No amount of the number of words in a language is able to encompass the limitless quantity in nature which must be covered by an open-ended system. An open-ended system can be made of just two-codes. A set of 60,000 ad hoc characters cannot give rise to an open-ended system by itself. An open-ended language must have an open-ended system as its seed. An open-ended language system needs only a finite number of codes (the less, the better) to construct an un-limited word system.

Is Chinese language an open-ended language system? Of course, it is. Then, there is no reason to learn every word as a stand-alone word. There must have a set of rules. While learning 6,000 different characters is difficult and is a major wasting of young person's youth, creating 60,000 different words as ad hoc and all stand-alone characters is not only a gigantic mammoth work, but is the stupidest undertaking in the human history. If Chinese writing system was created in such a manner, the Chinese culture could never break out the sphere of stupidity.

However, for a native Chinese, he has a lifetime to learn Chinese words one at a time, as stand-alone words. For an American, he will do much worse than a native Chinese does if he learns Chinese words in the same way as native Chinese does. When he reaches the same level as native Chinese scholars, he is probably already Sinicized.

In the book The Meeting of East and West, Dr. Northrop wrote, "For a Westerner,.... One can experience the Orient by going there. Yet after doing this while studying the language for months or even years, it is possible to come away with certain basic, key, inescapable, intuitive impressions, yet possessing not even the slightest comprehension of what these experiences mean." (page 320)

Well, is Chinese language an 100% root word system? Are its rules as simple as the high school geometry? Can these rules be mastered in two semesters by Americans?

II. Chinese language in the eyes of experts

a. From an American expert

Dr. F.S.C. Northrop wrote a book, The Meeting of East and West -- an Inquiry Concerning World Understanding (The Macmillan Company, 1968). He was one of the most prominent Chinese culture experts in America. So, his understanding about Chinese culture can represent the depth and the scope of America's understanding of Chinese culture.

Dr. Northrop wrote, " The Easterner, on the other hand, uses bits of linguistic symbolism, largely denotative, and often purely ideographic in character, to point toward a component in the nature of things which only immediate experience and continued contemplation can convey. This shows itself especially in the symbols of the Chinese language, where each solitary, immediately experienced local particular tends to have its own symbol, this symbol also often having a directly observed form like that of the immediately seen item of direct experience which it denotes. For example , the symbol for man in Chinese is 人 , and the early symbol for house is . As a consequence, there was no alphabet. This automatically eliminates the logical whole-part relation between one symbol and another that occurs in the linguistic symbolism of the West in which all words are produced by merely putting together in different permutations the small number of symbols constituting the alphabet. (page 316, The Meeting of East and West, The Macmillian Company, 1968).

"In many cases, however, the content of the sign itself, that is, the actual shape of the written symbol, is identical with the immediately sensed character of the factor in experience for which it stands. These traits make the ideas which these symbols convey particulars rather than logical universals, and largely denotative rather than connotative in character.

Certain consequences follow. Not only are the advantages of an alphabet lost, but also there tend to be as many symbols as there are simple and complex impressions. Consequently, the type of knowledge which a philosophy constructed by means of such a language can convey tends necessarily to be one given by a succession of concrete, immediately apprehendable examples and illustrations, the succession of these illustrations having no logical ordering or connection the one with the other. ...

... Moreover, even the common-sense examples are conveyed with aesthetic imagery, the emphasis being upon the immediately apprehended, sensuous impression itself more than upon the external common-sense object of which the aesthetic impression is the sign. Nowhere is there even the suggestion by the aesthetic imagery of a postulated scientific or a doctrinally formulated, theological object. All the indigenously Chinese philosophies, Taoism as well as Confucianism, support this verdict." (page 322, ibid).

Dr. Northrop was not simply discussing Chinese culture but was giving a verdict. His verdict has the following two points.

  1. About the Chinese writing language (Chinese words): Denotative and solitary -- no logical ordering or connection the one with the other.
  2. The consequence of such a language: No chance of any kind to formulate scientific, philosophical and theological objects.
Well, let's examine whether his verdict is correct or not. Let's examine three words, (compassion), (fly) and (dragon).

Why is the word (compassion) written as it is? As a mental expression, how can it be denoted? It is, in fact, constructed with the following steps.
  1. The word means man, a denotative pictograph word.
  2. The word (the right part of the word ) means change or transformation. It is the result of turning the word upside down. When a man is turned upside down, it is a transformation or a change. Is this a denotative word?
  3. The word now is known as north. Its left side is, in fact, the mirror image of the right one. Thus, the original meaning is two transformations back to back, which means opposite, such as North is the opposite of South. Thus, the word means the back side of the body. Is a denotative word?
  4. The word is formed by stacking two , and it means "opposite to the utmost." Now, it is known as "not," "is not," or "wrong." Again, is this a denotative word?
  5. The word is a denotative pictograph word for heart. Yet, it has a connotative meaning as "ego" or "self."
Now, the meaning of the word can be read out loud from its face as 非 心 , pulling the heart apart or annihilating the ego. Furthermore, in order to identify clearly of which meaning it carries, a pointer is added, and they form a phrase. If this word is denotative, it has denoting with many, many, many turns. Furthermore, how can it be a solitary symbol while it borrows so much from other words?

Of course, one example can always happen as an incidence. So, let's check out one more example.

Can you see that how the word (fly) is constructed? Why does F + L + Y mean fly? Fly means rising from the ground or pushing away from the ground. So, the word fly should be constructed with word roots of "rising" and "pushing away." It is, indeed, the case in Chinese. The word has three radicals, radical (, rising). The top part is formed by stacking two right side of the word which means pulling or pushing apart. By stacking two together, it means pushing away very, very, very hard. Yet, pushing to what direction? Rising ()!

Again, two examples could still be an coincidence. So, let's check out one more example.

Why should D + R + A + G + O + N mean dragon? In the legend, a dragon is an animal which can fly, can transform and can violate the nature laws. Now, would anyone be surprised that the word must mean dragon!
  1. Top-left: , violating above.
  2. Bottom-left: , as an animal.
  3. Top-right: (right side of the word , transformation).
  4. Bottom-right: Top part of the word (fly).
In fact, there is another word root on the right side, and it connects the top (transformation) and the bottom (fly). It is a word root for "disappear(ing)." Dragon can fly and transform to what? To disappear!

Well, what should we think about the verdict of Dr. Northrop now? If he is right, then there is no gene of logic nor gene of science in the Chinese language. Without getting rid of Chinese language, Chinese would have a hard time to convey the modern technology and science. That is, there would be no internal energy in Chinese culture to make China a modern country. Of course, there would be no chance of any kind for her to be a challenger to America.

If he was wrong, he had greatly misled the American people. There are over 60,000 Chinese words, and only 70 of them are meeting Dr. Northrop's definition of denotative words: "... having a directly observed form like that of the immediately seen item of direct experience which it denotes" (page 316, ibid).

Now, I am arbitrarily listing a few more words here for us to check out his verdict further. The words of tiger, deer, red, green, flute and thread are denotative in meanings. Yet, it is very clear that they are composed of word roots. Can any other words listed above meet Dr. Northrop's definition of denotative words? It would be an very interesting bet if anyone is able to find 100 pure (100%) Northrop denotative Chinese words: "...related merely as the items in the concrete, individual aesthetic experience are associated, ..." (page 319, ibid).

Obviously, Dr. Northrop did not know that Chinese writing word system is an 100% root word system.

b. From a native Chinese scholar

Professor Julia Ching (a native Chinese) is professor of religious studies at the University of Toronto. She has taught in Australia, at Columbia and Yale Universities. She is also the co-author of the book Christianity and Chinese Religions (ISBN 0-385-26022-9). In that book, professor Ching wrote, "A phrase frequently found in the Book of History [ 尚 書 ] introducing royal pronouncements is Wang jo yue [ 王 若 曰 ]. The difficult term is jo []. Some philologists have explained it as 'The King, seized by the spirit (jo), said.' In this light, the kings appear to have made many speeches in a trance state, communicating what they had heard from the divine, or at least they were perceived as having done so. The loss of the etymological meaning of the word jo has caused Chinese exegetes and Western translators to understand it to mean 'The King said to the following effect.' " (page 25).

There is no excuse for the errors in the above passage, especially as Professor Ching is a native Chinese scholar. Indeed, the Chinese Etymology is heavily camouflaged and is deeply hidden. Yet, it is not completely lost. Furthermore, the common meaning for the word is "as... something" or "if...something." There is no chance of any kind for it to be a spirit of any kind. Let us look at the following words, (flower) , (tea), (bitter) , . All these four words share a word root (on the top of each word) which is a word root to identify that word is a name of a grass-like plant. You might already notice that the word (bitter) and the word are very similar. The word is a name for a vegetable which is very bitter, so it also means bitter. The cross () right above the (mouth) in the word is a different way to write the word root (grass or weed). By pointing that cross directly into the mouth, it signifies to swallow it quickly as it is very bitter. Now, we might guess that the word is a kind of vegetable which can be enjoyed slowly as that cross sits on the side of the mouth. Indeed, it is. is the name of a chive-like vegetable, and it is always served on the side of a main dish. That is, it is not the main thing. So, its derived meaning was and still is "as ... something."

In the old time China, king's pronouncement was called edict. In professor Ching's passage, that king { 周 成 王 } was only a few years old kid then, and the country was ruled by his uncle ( 周 公 ), the most famous Duke of Chou who was the one setting the foundation for an 800 years of Chou dynasty. Thus, the pronouncement of a kid king can only be called as-edict. This was the reason that the text was written "King (as...) pronounced."

Indeed, no one today knows that the word was a name of a vegetable as it was only recorded in an ancient dictionary which no one uses any more. Yet, since Chou dynasty, it already meant "as ... something" or "if ... something." In fact, it gave rise to the meanings of many other words, such as ( a promise, not yet something concrete), (provoking, not yet become a fighting).

Again, Professor Ching wrote, "In Chinese, wu [] is often used in association with the other word, chu [], which signifies communication through the mouth with the divine." (page 19)

This time, Professor Ching is seemingly very confident about her knowledge on the Chinese Etymology. She said that the word signifies communication through the mouth with the divine as there is a radical (mouth) in the word . Her explanation was, of course, wrong.

The word has two radicals. The radical means showing signs from heaven. So, it is a radical about deities or religious rituals, such as, (deity) or (religious ceremony). The radical means elder brother, and it consists of two radicals (mouth) and (child). When a mouth is above a child, he is an elder. During a religious ritual (about ), the elder () is the one who leads the ceremony. And, this person is called who is also the master of a temple.

Obviously, even native Chinese scholar does not know much about Chinese Etymology.

III. Some examples of words and word roots
The following tables show 17 Chinese word root examples.

Example 1 to 7
The right hand, three fingers and one arm. Root 1

Snow, Radical (rain) + Root 1, The rain which can be held in hand.

Do things very carefully and respectfully, Root 2 + Root 3, Doing things at dangerous place must be very careful and respectful.

Holding with hand, radical (wheat stalk) + Root 1, holding wheat stalk with hand.
A dangerous place, Root 2

A deep water hole, radical (water) + Root 2.
Crafty hand, Root 1 + radical (flag), Root 3.

For or as writing, Root 3 + Root (earth).

Pen, radical (as writing) + root (bamboo)

Wife, Root 3 + Root (one, united) + Radical (woman), A woman having crafty hand who is united to become one.
4, 5
King's seal, means authority and authenticity. Root 4.

The mirror image of Root 4. Meaning is the same. Root 5.

The right proceeding. Root 5 + Root 4. When King's seal and it's image match, the order is correct. Now, it is a name of a month which is a month before all lives come alive.

Egg. A thing in a right proceeding cannot go wrong.

King's officer, Radical (who knows the right and wrong) carries root 5 and root 4.

Willow tree. Radical (tree) + radical (the right proceeding). It was a wooden post for roping the horse of King's emissary.
Union, united, together, joint. Root 6.

Command, order. Root 6 + root 4. When the king's seal is matched (united), it is an order.

Giving order, Radical (mouth) + radical (order), Using the mouth to give the order. Who giving order with mouth is alive. Now, it also means life.

Meeting, Root 6 + radical (camp fire) + radical (speaking), Speaking around camp fire together is a meeting.
Color of not dyed silk. It means plain or beautiful. Root 7.

Plain, not contaminated. Root 7 + radical (silk)

Bluish color, Root 7 + radical (red color).

Poison, This is one example of the supreme ingenuity of the Chinese word system. Poison means to kill without seeing blood, and the victim does not know who is the killer. When a child's life is in danger, mother often puts up a beautiful face (root 7) while killing the threat, and the victim is often not knowing that he is killed. Chinese word "Poison" is written as mother with a beautiful face. Root 7 + radical (mother).

Example 8 to 12
Field of grass. Root 8.

Spring. Root 8 + radical (sun). Great sunshine on a field of grass is Spring.

Plenty, large (amount), tranquility. Root 8 + radical (water). Water in the field of grass will produce plenty and get tranquility.

Name of an ancient State. Root 8 + radical (wheat). A place produces wheat.
Lifting a thing with two hands. Root 9.

Manipulate. Root 9 + radical (King). King's hands can manipulate.

Guarding. Root 9 + radical (spear). Carrying spear is guarding.

Playing chess. Root 9 + root (pieces). Note: some font of root 9 looks like radical (large).
A variant of root 9. Root 9a.

Up-lifting. Root 9a + root (two hands) + radical (together). Two hands held together and up-lifted is happy and high.

The same word as the left word, in simplified version. Simplified words do not change the framework of the root word system.

Public opinion or a cart. Root 9a + root (two hands) + radical (cart). Many hands push and carry a cart.
Chi, a Chinese concept of energy flow. Root 10.

Energy flow.

Every, ceaseless. Root 10 + radical (mother). Mother's loving chi on her child is ceaseless.

Beg. Root 10 + radical (still weak, not yet number one). The energy is still weak and must beg.
Flag pole. Root 11.

A flag draped with an ox tail. Root 11 + radical (hail).

A flag decorated with feather. Root 11 + radical (birth).

Ethnic group. Root 11 + radical (arrow). It was a target for bundles of arrows. So, it means bundle.
The rising sun. Root 12.

Mediation or an axis. Root 12 + radical (measuring cup). Using measuring cup in the morning market can settle any dispute.

A big bird. Root 12 + radical (feather). Wing and feather in the morning sky is a big bird.

Diligence. Root 12 + radical (force). Using force in the morning sun is diligence.

With these examples, I have proved that Chinese word system is a root word system. But, why is there no Chinese, not a single one for the past two thousand years, learning Chinese writing with a root word system?

The radical system is different from a root word system. Enzymes are the alphabets of a protein language. This is Enzymology or Biochemistry. The elements (atoms) are the alphabets of all chemical compounds, and it is called Chemistry. The elementary particles (proton, neutron, electron and quarks) are the alphabets for atoms, and this is Elementary particle physics. The radical system of Chinese language is as the enzyme to the science while the root word system of Chinese language is as the Elementary particle physics to the science. The radical system is a few steps removed from a root word system. The difference between them is significant and obvious.

The following examples show the difference between a root and a radical.

Example 13 to 15
a word root,
not a word

a word,
also a radical for the words below.
a word root,
not a word

a word,
also a radical for the words below.
a word root,
not a word

a word,
also a radical for the words below.

Example 16
word root 16

as a radical for words below.

as a radical for words below.

as a radical for words below.

as a radical for words below.

Another reason for not knowing Chinese word system as a root word system is because that many roots are not words and not recognized as radicals. All roots ( 1 to 16) above are not words and not recognized as radicals. That is, those roots were never recognized as stand alone entities. Furthermore, many descendants of roots (as compound roots) were also not recognized as stand alone entities. The example below shows such a case.

Example 17
Making imprint on ground by animal's (bird's) feet, root 17

Disperse, scatter, Root 17 + root (bird's head), a scene of birds running around. it is a word and a radical for words below. Root 17a.

A scene of catching birds, root (top hand) + root 17 + root (lower hand), not a stand alone word. Root 17b

depart, leave, root 17a + root (small bird), Small bird is easier to escape.

Chaos, Root 17b + root (still weak). Before the birds were caught, it is a sight of chaos.

Name of all birds, root 17a + root (sky), Scattered in the sky.

Phrase, Root 17b + radical (harsh). Why? Try to explain it yourself before reading the explanation below.

Why does the word phrase () share the same root with the word chaos ()? It changes the root (still weak), which is the cause for chaos, to the radical (harsh, ). This word's ( ) original meaning is a judgement sentence (harsh) for a chaotic situation. Later, every phrase (no longer needs to be a judgement sentence) is called with this word. Not knowing the word roots, we will never know of why a word is written as it is, not otherwise.

IV. The Chinese words system

a: The beginning -- three seeds

What is the first word in English? In dictionary, the first English word is "a", as it is the first letter of the alphabet, and it is a word. Is it the first seed of English words? That is, it is the seed of English root words. No, I don't think so. Then, what is the first seed of English words? Does English words have a first seed in its system?

In Chinese word system, there is the first seed which is the root of word roots. It is the result of Chinese theology, 一 劃 開 天 (one stroke creates the universe). This one stroke () is the first seed of Chinese word system. Today, it is also a word and means 1 (one). However, as a seed, it can represent Heaven (, God) , Earth or man, as these three form the universe in Chinese theology. For more information on this, please review the article Satellite Killer, unbreakable codes and more at http://www.chinese-word-roots.org/cwr015.htm

Anyway, the general rules are:

  1. when it sits on the top part of a word, it often represents Heaven,
  2. when it locates in the middle of a word, it often means man,
  3. when it sits on the bottom of a word, it often represents Earth or earth.

According to Chinese theology and Chinese metaphysics, the second and the third seeds are about chi (, the moving force or energy of this universe). There are, in fact, two symbols to express this chi.

b. Other details

  1. Constructing the roots: There is a total of 220 Chinese word roots.

  2. Constructing words: With these two ways, unlimited words can be constructed.

  3. Multiplying the words -- a new word is created with an existing word or words.
  4. The confusions:
  5. The solutions on those confusions

It will take, at least, two semesters to discuss these issues. My first goal here is to demonstrate that Chinese word system is an 100% root word system. With the examples in this paper, we should be convinced on this somewhat. I will give more examples later.

My second goal is to demonstrate that every Chinese word carries a pronunciation tag. I will discuss this issue briefly here.

On page 112, The Columbia History of the World (ISBN 0-88029-004-8), it states, "Structurally, the Chinese writing system passed through four distinct stages. No alphabetic or syllabic scripts were developed, but each word came to be denoted by a different character. The earliest characters were pictographs for concrete words. A drawing of a woman meant a woman, or of a broom a broom. Such characters were in turn combined to form ideographs. A woman and a broom became a wife, three women together treachery or villainy. The third stage was reached with the phonetic loans, in which existing characters were borrowed for other words with the same pronunciation. The fourth stage was a refinement of the third: sense determinators or radicals, were added to the phonetic loans in order to avoid confusion. Nine-tenths of the Chinese characters have been constructed by the phonetic method. Unfortunately, the phonetics were often borrowed for other than exact homophones. In such cases, the gaps have widened through the evolution of the language, until today characters may have utterly different pronunciations even though they share the same phonetic. The written language, despite its difficulties, has been an important unifying cultural and political link in China. Although many Chinese dialects are mutually unintelligible, the characters are comprehended though the eye, whatever their local pronunciation. One Chinese may not understand the other's speech, yet reads with ease his writing."

As an academic and scholastic book, the editors of this book should, at least, verify their writing with some true experts on this subject. Unfortunately, there was not a single native Chinese scholar who knew any better than they were on this matter. Thus, not a single statement in the above passage is correct.

  1. It wrote, "A drawing of a woman meant a woman [], or of a broom a broom []. Such characters were in turn combined to form ideographs. A woman and a broom became a wife [], ..."

    Is a drawing of woman? Whose woman looks like this? Does look like a broom? In fact, it has three radicals, the top radical is the hand (see example 1), is a piece of cloth, such as, a handkerchief or a mop, and (the middle radical) means a lid or under a cover, such as, (hat, head cover). So, the word is a piece of cloth which is bundled, and it is a tool used by hand.

  2. It wrote, "The fourth stage was a refinement of the third: sense determinators [ 會 意 ] or radicals, were added to the phonetic loans [ 形 聲 ] in order to avoid confusion."

    This statement is absolutely wrong. They are two completely different things. The phonetic loan word can have two and only two parts, to identify the category which this word belong to (such as, a bird group, a jade group, etc.) and provides the pronunciation information. The is, in fact, a sub-category, that is, it also gives the final meaning for the word. Every phonetic loan word must point to a concrete or tangible object or concept, and it must belong to a category and a sub-category.

    For any intangible object or abstract concept, it can only be expressed with sense determinator [ 會 意 ] words. This kind of words has at least two parts, often more than two. Yet, none of the parts is identifying a category. The meaning of this kind of words is coming from the inferring the meaning of its word roots, such as, , , etc.. This kind of words does not carry a pronunciation tag explicitly.

    The word has three radicals; the one on the up-left, means meat (a different way to write ); the up-right, means hand; the lower, means showing signs from Heaven. So, (religious ritual) shows a scene of offering meats with hand to ask signs from Heaven. Its pronunciation is the same (identical) as the word . Why? This is a rule which was never recorded anywhere.

    The word means ready to get into a seat , such as 即 位 (inauguration). So, is a ritual to ask Heaven to sit in and to enjoy the offering, that is, asking Heaven to (sit in). Now, we have discovered a supreme secret. One of the ways for the pronunciations of sense determinator [ 會 意 ] words is by using the same pronunciation of the word which gives it the meaning. I will show more this kind of examples in due time.

  3. Again, it wrote, "Unfortunately, the phonetics were often borrowed for other than exact homophones. In such cases, the gaps have widened through the evolution of the language, until today characters may have utterly different pronunciations even though they share the same phonetic."

    Indeed, the sounds of any language do change through the evolution of time. This kind of change is not an unique attribute of Chinese language. So, I will not discuss it. The point is that the phonetic-loan words must be pronounced identical to its sound tag. This is the definition for a phonetic-loan word. It is the criterion to distinguish a phonetic-loan word from a sense determinator word.

Now, I have demonstrated that every Chinese word does carry a sound tag, explicitly or implicitly.

  1. Sound roots -- They must be memorized. There are a few hundreds of them.
  2. Phonetic-loan words -- They all carry an explicit sound tag.
  3. Sense determinator words -- They all carry an implicit sound tag.
  4. Other details, ...

V. Why does Chinese people not learn Chinese language via the above system?

At this point, the question is no longer whether Chinese writing language is a root word system or not but is why Chinese people not learn Chinese language with the above system..

As a native Chinese scholar, Professor Julia Ching does not know much about Chinese Etymology. As an expert of Sinologist, Dr. Northrop did not know that Chinese language is a root word system. The editors of the book The Columbia History of the World which is a highly praised academic and scholastic work had no idea of what Chinese language is all about while were making some very ignorant comments about it.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, many Chinese scholars began to accuse that the Chinese writing language was the culprit for China's misfortune and turmoil at those days. As each Chinese word is an ad hoc character without a clear logic framework as its soul, the Chinese writing language was accused as the reason that China did not develop science. Furthermore, memorizing six to ten thousand ad hoc characters is not only a gigantic work but a huge waste of young person's youth. Thus, in 1958, a major effort to simplify the Chinese word system was launched. That is, at that time, no one in China knew that Chinese writing language is an 100% root word system. By knowing only 220 word roots, the original meaning of every 60,000 Chinese characters can be read out loud from the structure of the word itself.

The ignorance of Chinese Scholars of 1958 is not an incidental case. During the past two thousand years, not a single Chinese scholar truly understand the structure of Chinese word system. During the 唐 、 宋 period (Tong and Song dynasties, from 650 a.d. to 1,150 a.d.), there were eight great Chinese scholars ( 唐 宋 八 大 家 ). 王 安 石 (Wang) and 蘇 東 波 (Shu) are two of those eight. Wang was also the Prime Minister of Song dynasty for decades, and he was Shu's boss. As the leader of intelligentsia and of political hierarchy, Wang set out to decode Chinese word system. He wrote a book 字 說 (Discussions on Chinese words). That book soon became a laughing stock, and Wang burnt it. That book is no longer in existence today; only the name of the book and a few lines survived as quotations in other person's writing. The most important critic was Shu. Wang wrote, " (wave) 者 、 水 之 皮 " (Wave is the skin of water), as skin. Then, Shu asked, " (slippery) 者 、 水 之 骨 乎 ?" (Is slippery the bone of water?) as bone. Unable to answer one laughing question, Wang burnt his book.

In conclusion, not a single Chinese scholar truly understand the structure of Chinese word system during the past two thousand years. Why? There are four big reasons.

  1. Around 340 b.c., Alexander the Great sent a letter to his teacher Aristotle, saying, "Alexander wishes Aristotle well. I have heard that you plan to publish a book on ethics. It is the knowledge for the kings and should not be taught to commoners. Your plan sits not well with me." In the same line of thinking, Confucius said, " 民 可 使 由 之 , 不 可 使 知 之 。 " (People can be taught to do things, but must not teach them the knowledge of why and how.) The knowledge on Chinese word system must be viewed as a sacred knowledge and must not be known by commoners. Thus, the first Chinese dictionary 爾 雅 (compiled over 3,000 years ago, long before Confucius) teaches Chinese words as stand-alone words. No information of any kind about how those words were constructed was discussed.

  2. Around 100 a.d. (one thousand years after the first Chinese dictionary), 許 稹 (Hsu) published 說 文 解 字 (Discussing radicals and explaining words). It is called 說 文 in short. It became the Holy Bible for Chinese word system. While it made a few major, major mistakes, no one has the courage to challenge them for two thousand years. Those mistakes lead all Chinese into a dead alley with no chance to find way out. I am listing three of them below.

    Now, I want to show the reason of why (bird), , (black bird), (horse), (bear), (fish) and (young sheep) are not pictographic words.

    Obviously, Hsu was wrong by claiming that 80% of all Chinese words are pictographic and stand-alone words. Yet, all Chinese takes his words as gospel without any question for two thousand years. In 60,000 Chinese words, there are only 70 pictographic roots. Of course, tens thousands words do carry these pictographic roots.

  3. Among 220 Chinese word roots, there are some mix-ups, perhaps, intentional camouflage.
  4. About 50% of word roots are not words, that is, no one ever knew about their meaning. The examples 1 to 16 above are not words and not recognized as radicals. That is, those roots were never recognized as stand alone entities. Furthermore, many descendants of roots (as compound roots) were also not recognized as stand alone entities. The example 17 above is such a case.

With these four big reasons, not a single person knew that Chinese word system is an 100% root word system during the past two thousand years. However, the secret of Chinese word system can be discovered with the methodology of physics.

VI. More examples

More examples are available in the following articles:

  1. This article Culture Energy of China lists over 100 words, 春 、 夏 、 秋 、 冬 、 歲 、 盡 、 真 、 身 、 南 、 風 、 虹 、 祖 、 陰 、 陽 、 金 、 德 、 度 、 數 、 律 、 則 、 算 、 術 … . The url is http://www.chinese-word-roots.org/cwr018.htm
  2. For the words 理 、 志 、 宮 、 廟 、 寺 、 觀 、 祠 … , please read Governability of China -- a new political science at http://www.chinese-word-roots.org/cwr017.htm
  3. For the words 正 、 奇 、 實 、 虛 、 勢 、 節 、 形 、 險 、 戰 、 偶 、 天 、 罩 , please read the article Satellite Killer, unbreakable codes and more at http://www.chinese-word-roots.org/cwr015.htm
  4. For the words 花 、 茶 、 苦 、 若 , please read the article Political Science and the Equation of War at http://www.chinese-word-roots.org/cwr016.htm
  5. For the words 掌 、 指 、 腳 , please read the article Iraq Predicament and Iran Nuke at http://www.chinese-word-roots.org/cwr014.htm
  6. For the words 人 、 匕 、 北 、 非 、 飛 、 悲 、 哀 、 辛 、 音 、 龍 , please read the article Solution on North Korea Nuke at http://www.chinese-word-roots.org/cwr013.htm
  7. For the words, 需 、 儒 、 倫 、 合 、 端 、 辯 、 遊 、 無 、 修 、 念 , please read the article Chinese culture and the world security at http://www.chinese-word-roots.org/cwr011.htm
  8. For the words 服 、 驂 , please read the article The methodology on China Studies at http://www.chinese-word-roots.org/cwr008.htm