The Kanji 廷建健延誕再構講-えんにょう and 再


In this post we are going to look at two shapes — a bushu ennyoo (), which appears in the kanji 廷建健延誕, and the shape 再, which appears in the kanji 再構講.

  1. The Kanji 廷 “court; courtyard”

History of Kanji 廷The kanji 廷 had a number of bronze ware style samples, suggesting that it was an important writing in ancient times. I have picked three of them to copy by hand (in green).  In (a), the right side was a standing person with his hands put forward above a mound of soil on the ground. (In worshiping the god of the earth, a mound of soil was placed on the ground.) In (c) the soil became a line under the person, signifying the ground on which he stood, and under his hands there were a couple of diagonal lines, signifying rice wine being sprinkled to sanctify the ground. Among all three samples of bronze ware style, (a), (b) and (c), the lower left was a wall around an area where the ceremony took place. Shirakawa explained that was a wall viewed from above. Altogether the writing signified a part of the imperial court where a certain sanctifying rite was conducted. From that it meant “court; imperial court.”

In ten style, in red, the upper right was a person standing on the ground. How do we view the lower left shape, which was no longer a single bent line? I tend to think now that it was the shape in which two elements coalesced. One element was the bending wall that we see in bronze ware style samples, and another was crossroad.” (The crossroad appeared in the bronze ware style sample of the kanji 建.) In kanji it became a three-stroke shape, with a wiggly line and a line that stretches to the right. This shape is called a bushu ennyoo — /En/ is from the kanji 延, and /nyo’o/ is a component name that starts on the left side and stretches to the bottom right. A bushu ennyoo means “to stretch; extend.”

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /te’e/ is in 宮廷 (“imperial court” /kyuutee/) and 法廷 (“court of law; courtroom” /hootee/).

History of Kanji 庭 (frame)The kanji 庭 has been discussed earlier in connection with a bushu madare “house with one side open; court yard” (The Kanji 庫席広庭序店座床-まだれ, on June 27, 2015.) A bushu madare and 廷 together the kanji 庭 meant “courtyard garden” or just “garden.”

  1. The Kanji 建 “to build”

History of Kanji 建For the kanji 建, the top of (a) in bronze ware style was a hand holding a writing brush, and in (b) soil was attached to the brush. Also in (a), the bottom had a crossroad and a footprint at the bottom, whereas in (b) the bent shape that signified a court wall appeared. These two different shapes in bronze ware style in (a) and (b) gave me the reason for me to think that the ten style shape was a coalescence of the two meanings that I have just mentioned in discussing the kanji 廷 in 1. The writing signified one holding a writing brush upright to decide where in the courtyard they should build a building. From that it meant “to build.”

The kun-yomi 建てる /tate’ru/ means “to build.” The on-yomi /ke’n/ is in 建築 (“building” /kenchiku/) and 建設 (“construction; founding” /kensetsu/). There is another on-yomi /ko’n/, a goon, that is used to refer to building a Buddhism temple, 建立 (“erection; building” /konryuu/). /Ryu’u/ for 立 is also a go-on, as you would expect.

  1. The Kanji 健 “healthy; praiseworthiness”

History of Kanji 健For the kanji 健, the ten style sample had a person on the left (a bushu ninben). The right side 建 “to build,” with an upright writing brush, signified someone standing with his back straight. It was used to mean “good health” and also “bravely; praiseworthily.”

The kun-yomi 健やか /suko’yaka/ means “to be in good health.” Another kun-yomi 健気な /kenagena/ means “brave; praiseworthy.” The on-yomi /ke’n/ is in 健康 (“one’s health”/kenkoo/), 健忘症 (“being forgetful” /kenbooshoo/), 健全な (“wholesome; healthy; sound” /kenzenna/).

  1. The Kanji 延 “to stretch; postpone; extend”

History of Kanji 延For the kanji 延, the upper right component of the ten style sample had a slanted stroke over a footprint, which signified a stretched stride. The lower left was what we have already discussed – either a crossroad whose one end was pulled to the right; or a court wall stretching. Either way it signified “a stretched way.” Together they meant “to extend; postpone.”

The kun-yomi 延びる /nobi’ru/ or its transitive verb counterpart 延ばす /noba’su/ means “to stretch; postpone; extend.” The on-yomi /e’n/ is in 延長 (“extension” /enchoo/) and 延期する (”to postpone” /enki-suru/).

  1. The Kanji 誕 “to be born”

History of Kanji 誕The kanji 誕 has a story that has a sense of humor. The story started in bronze ware style – the top was a footstep stretched long vertically, and the small dot on the upper right and a angle line at the bottom was a crossroad split on the top. This is an odd shape that I have not seen anywhere else so far. The writing meant “to stretch.” In ten style 言, a bushu gonben “word,” was added. Together from stretching words they meant “telling a tall story; to brag.” Very clever, isn’t it. But this original meaning of “bragging” is rarely used now. Later on it came to be used for an unrelated meaning of “to be born.”

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /ta’n/ is in 誕生日 (“birthday” /tanjo’obi/) and 生誕百年 (“a centennial of birth of someone famous” /seetan-hyaku’nen/).

Now we move to another shape. The next three kanji 構講 and 再 originated from a shape of a braided rope or string.

  1. The Kanji 構 “structure; to construct”

History of Kanji 構The kanji 構 had two similar oracle bone style samples, in brown. If we look at the top portion and the bottom portion back and forth, we begin to see that they are the mirror images of each other. According the Shirakawa, they were shapes of braided ropes. (I will come back to this point in 8.) The writing signified “to connect two shapes.” For the kanji 構, in ten style time, 木 “wood” was added. Together they meant wooden configuration that repeated the same patterns that people constructed. It meant “structure; to construct.”

The kun-yomi 構える /kamae’ru/ means “to assume a posture; set up a house,” and is in 身構える (“to stand ready; be poised to defend oneself” /migamae’ru/). The on-yomi /ko’o/ is in 構築する (“to build” /koochiku-suru/), 構成 (“construction; composition” /koosee/) and 構図 (“composition” /koozu/).

  1. The Kanji 講 “to lecture; talk”

History of Kanji 講The kanji 講 has only a ten style sample. The right was used phonetically for /ko’o/ to mean “to connect two things,” and the left side had 言 “word; language.” Together “people reconnected by talking” gave the meaning “to reconcile; lecture; talk.”

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /ko’o/ is in 講堂 (“lecture hall; hall” /koodoo/), 講義 (“lecture” /ko’ogi/) and 講習 (“training session” /kooshuu/).

Other Joyo kanji that contain the right side of 構 and 講 include 溝 “furrow; groove; ditch” and 購 “to buy.” The right side was used phonetically for /ko’o/.

  1. The Kanji 再 “again; to repeat”

History of Kanji 再For the kanji 再 we have an oracle bone style sample, (a), and two bronze ware style samples, (b) and (c). (a) showed the shape of a braided rope, and the sideways line at the top. This line at the top indicated the spot where one turned around in making a braided rope. A return signified “again.” The shape of braiding was essentially same as those in the kanji 構 and 講. In bronze ware style, however, it is somewhat not straightforward to view them as a braiding shape. (b) had three lines at the top whereas (c) had two lines inside, signifying “double; to repeat.” From that the kanji 再 meant “to repeat; again.”

In this article I have taken the view that that the right component of 構 and 講 was made by a rope. On the other hand, Setsumon explained it as wooden building materials. It also explained the line at the top in (d) in 再 differently — as a truncation to simplify the full bottom configuration. I followed that view in the Key to Kanji. I am rethinking the Setsumon’s explanation. We see two mirror images in full in the two oracle bone style samples of the kanji 構. Was it really necessary to cut off the top shape of something built and replace it with a single line for the meaning “to repeat”? Viewing the materials as string or rope as the turning point in braiding, rather than wooden materials to build a structure and use a single line at the top, now sounds more appealing to me. This is still not conclusive by any means.

The kun-yomi 再び /hutatabi/ means “again.” The on-yomi /sa’i/ is in 再開する (“to reopen” /saikai-suru/), 再現 (“reenactment” /saigen/) and 再出発 (“restart; a fresh start” /saishu’ppatsu/).

In the two next posts we are continuing with the human habitats theme. I would like to discuss how the kanji 京, 高 and 亭 were originally closely related, and how the kanji 尚 is used in a number of kanji (mostly phonetically). [January 31, 2016]

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