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Discussion -> Linguistic issues -> Etymology

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2009-12-23 12:42:19Etymology
Posted by: justsojazzDoes anyone happen to know how/in which time period the variant form 囲 (variant of 围) evolved/was created?

2010-01-03 02:43:08Etymology
Posted by: agnimon会意兼形声。韦イは、口印の周囲を、右足と左足が回っているさまを示す会意文字。围は「囗(かこむ)+音符韦イ」で、ぐるりと周囲をかこむこと。韦がからだに巻きつけるなめし皮の意に転用されたため、围がその原义を継いだ

2011-12-16 12:02:03Etymology
Posted by: goderichThat's the Japanese variant form, in use since the Shinjitai reform of Chinese characters in Japanese (aka Kanji). This one is of particular interest as to the peculiarly Japanese way of its formation.
Japanese has 2 kinds of readings for Kanji: On-yomi and Kun-yomi. On-yomi are basically straightforward borrowings from Chinese and represent the Chinese pronunciation. They are commonly used in multisyllabic words. Kun-yomi are native Japanese readings given to characters with the same meaning, as part of an effort to create a way of writing Japanese. (i will not go into greater detail here, please look it up on Wikipedia)
The character 围 (and by extention most characters with the 韦 phonetic) is read as "i" (as in fish) in On-yomi, while the Kun-yomi reading for 井 is also the same - "i". So basically, what they did is simplified a character by giving it a new phonetic component *that only works in Japanese*.
As to when that happened... They only fixed it officially about 60 years ago, but it must have been used unofficially in Japan for a couple of centuries. I'm sorry, but I can't be more specific than this, I'm not even sure if anyone knows this.

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