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On the Chinese characters ‘山’ and ‘水’ = 说“山”“水”
The World of Chinese = 汉语世界
  • Dekuan HUANG
  • Liping BAI
Document Type
Translation
Publication Date
1-1-2007
Publisher
商务印书馆
Abstract

The character “山” (mountain) is a pictograph; in oracle-bone script, it looks like three mountains. The number three in Chinese means multitude; so, three mountains represent a chain of mountains. Later, three mountains were simplified into three vertical strokes: this is how the Chinese character “山” came into being.

“山”字是一个象形字,甲骨文中的“山”字就像三座山峰的样子。汉语中“三”这个数字往往表示数量多,所以用三座“山峰”代表层层的山峦。为了简便,后来三座“山峰”被简化成三竖,这就是现代汉字“山”的来历。

Citation Information
Huang, D., & Bai, L. (Trans.) (2007). On the Chinese characters ‘山’ and ‘水’ = 说“山”“水”. The World of Chinese = 汉语世界, (6), 26-29.