A Cantonese section is needed. 188.8.131.52 08:26, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
|Oracle bone script||Bronze inscriptions||Large seal script||Small seal script|
Modern zì /tsz̩˥˩/, Middle Chinese /dzɨ/ 去 (Pulleyblank), Old Chinese */zlɯ/ (Zhengzhang Shangfang), */dzjəgh/ (Li Fanggui). Original sense (1): "to become pregnant, to give birth to, to nurture, to love" has essentially become obsolete. The sense (2) "letter, character" is either from a different root or a derivation from the sense "to produce, to generate".
Cognate characters include: (1) 子 (zǐ, OC *sɯʔ, "child, son"), 慈 (cí, OC *zɯ, "to be kind, loving"), 滋 (zī, OC *sɯ, "to nourish, to grow"); (2) 詞 (cí, OC *ljɯ, "word, term"), 辭 (cí, OC *ljɯ, "word, from testimony"). Possible Sino-Tibetan cognates (Quan Guangzhen, 1996):
- Written Tibetan ཚ་བོ (tsha bo, "nephew")
- Written Tibetan ཚ་རུས (tsha rus, "descendant")
- Written Tibetan བཙའ་བ (btsa' ba, "to give birth to; to guard")
- Written Tibetan མཛའ་བ (mdza' ba, "kind, peaceful, friendly")