One Foot at a Time (6) 走起越超趣赴

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In this post, we are going to take a look at another shape that contains an extended footprint:  走起越超趣 and 赴. They all have 走, and when it is used as a component, the last stroke is extended to the bottom right of the kanji.  The top appears to be the kanji 土, which may fit with the meaning of “to run,” but the ancient writings tell us that is not the case. Let us look at them.

(1) 走 “to run”

History走For the kanji 走, a couple of writings in bronze ware style  and one in ten style had a person (大) running with his hands moving vigorously — one upward and one downward. This became 土. Underneath was a footprint, indicating that the writing was about the use of foot. The shape of the footprint went through the same development as that of the bottom of 足, in which the last stroke extended to the bottom right. It meant “to run.”

The kun-reading /hashi’ru/ is in 走って来る (“run toward (speaker)” /hashit’tekuru/), 走り書き (“hasty script; scribble” /hashirigaki/), 小走りに (“tripping down” /koba’shiri ni/).  The on-reading is in 脱走 (“escape” /dassoo/),  二百メートル走 (“200-meter run” /nihyakumeetoru’soo/).

(2) 起 “to rise”

History起rIn ten style for 起, the left side was identical to the ten style for the kanji 走; the right side 己 was a serpent raising its head, which added the sense of a sudden rising motion. Together they meant “to get up; arise; begin.” In kyujitai, shown in blue in this blog, the shape 己 was 巳 “serpent.”   The kun-reading /o/ is in a pair of verbs 起きる(“to get up; occur”) [intr. v.] and 起こす (“to wake (a person) up: raise; start” /oko’su/) [tr.v.]. The on-reading キ is in  起立する (“to rise (from one’s seat) /kiritsu-suru/), 起因する(“to originate from” /kiin-suru/), and 起業家 (“entrepreneur” /kigyooka/.)

(3) 越 “to cross over”

History越In the oracle bone style for 越, the left side was a person and a footprint, and the right side was a halberd that was used phonetically for /etsu/ to mean “to cross over.”  In ten style, the left side was that of 走, and the right side was /etsu./  In kanji the last stroke of the footprint was extended to make a bushu soonyoo. The on-reading is in 越える (”to cross over” /koeru/), 引っ越す (“to move” /hikkosu/), 繰り越し (“transfer; carry-over” /kurikoshi/) and 年越しそば (“New Years eve buckwheat noodle“ /toshikoshiso’ba/.) The on-reading エツ is in a very polite expression 僭越ながら (“with your permission; it would be presumptuous of me, but…,” /senetsu-na’gara/), that you use when you make a suggestion to someone senior or in a self-deprecating or humorous way. The kanji 僭 /sen/ is not a Joyo Kanji but as a verbal phrase it is not an unusual one.  (In writing, you can always use the kanji conversion on your computer.)

(4) 超 “to exceed”

History超The ten style of the kanji 超 had a bushu soonyoo, and the right side was used phonetically. It meant “to exceed” in a way that does not ordinarily happen. The kun-reading is 超える “to exceed.” The on-reading is in 超過する (”to exceed” /chooka-suru/), 超越する (“to rise above; transcend” /chooetsu-suru/), 超然として (”detachedly; aloofly” /choozen-to-shite/).

(5) 趣 “flavor; effect; appearance”

History趣In ten style, the kanji 趣 also had a bushu soonyoo “to run,” and its right side 取 was used phonetically to mean “grab by hand.” From “to go swiftly to obtain,” it meant “what one likes.” The kun-reading is in 趣 (”flavor; effect; appearance” /omomuki/), and 趣のある (“quaint; aesthetic” /omomuki-no-aru/). The on-reading /shu/ is in 趣味 (“hobby; pastime; interest.”/shu’mi/). So, one’s hobby or pastime is something one’s mind tends to rush to.

(6) 赴 “to proceed; head for”

History赴In ten style, the kanji 赴 also had a bushu shinnyoo “to run.’ The right side meant “to fall; collapse”  Together they meant “to head for.” The kun-reading 赴く/omomu’ku/ means “to leave for (a particular place).” The on-reading is in 赴任 (”to leave for one’s new assignment/post” /hunin-suru/).

In the last six posts, we have looked at the kanji that contain a component from a footprint. There were many different types: a backward or downward facing foot (a bushu suinyoo); patrolling feet; dancing feet; feet on a tree or off the ground; legs; running feet, etc. In the next post, I would like to take a look at a shape that contains both a hand and a foot such as 元兄先説, etc.

Next week we will be in transit again (North America is a big continent to travel across!) and it is likely that the posting will be delayed. I appreciate your understanding. Many of the topics that I have been discussing are in the new VISUAL KANJI tutorial course.  The process of writing these posts has been helpful for me to finalize my scripts for each lesson.  This week’s topic will be discussed in Lesson 8 in Part 2, which will be released beginning of September, if not earlier.   – 憲子 [August 11, 2014]

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