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Need CantoneseEdit

A Cantonese section is needed. 08:26, 2 March 2007 (UTC)


I removed the following {{unreferenced}} etymology from the entry. I updated the IPA characters as I did so. - -sche (discuss) 03:47, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

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Phono-semantic compound (形聲): semantic  (roof) + phonetic  (child). Also Ideogrammic compound (會意) – to give birth (child at home).

字 字 字
Oracle bone script Bronze inscriptions Large seal script Small seal script

Modern /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) (zǐ, OC *sɯʔ, "child, son"), (cí, OC *, "to be kind, loving"), (zī, OC *, "to nourish, to grow"); (2) (cí, OC *ljɯ, "word, term"), (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")

Last modified on 14 April 2014, at 21:06