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  5. "我们赢了!"


Translation:We won!

August 8, 2018





Well, that's strange, because 赢 is already simplified, the traditional character is 贏. notice the difference of 贝 and 貝.

But if you ask "why it is not further simplified?". Well...this is hard to say. But we should notice that, if we ignore all the official standards, there are still many written forms for one character, and different forms have different popularity among people.

For example, the simplified form 门 is already a common variant of 門 before official simplification. So they use this form in their standard. A completely new simplified form will be less popular in daily use.

The character 贏 never had any popular simplified form. And it's too similar to characters like 嬴, 羸, etc, which means they have to be simplified in a similar fashion. That's not an easy task.

If you want to see the influence of popularity of different character forms, you can look at the sentence below, which is found near the gate of my apartment:

此处禁止仃車 no parking here

The standard simplified form of this sentence should be 此处禁止停车. People write this because 仃 is a very popular simplified form of 停 (it even entered the obsolete second-round simplification standard), and 车 is a newly coined simplified form (from the cursive variant of 車) and therefore not popular enough.


Thank you for your thoughtful response.

I'm Japanese, but haven't come across this complex character 赢. We usually use 勝 instead.

According to my kanji (Chinese characters in Japanese) dictionary, the original meaning of 赢 is 'get longer, grow, profit, be in excess'.

They all belong to good things. Chinese people regard a sign of good luck as very important. In my opinion, they might have thought 赢 as an auspicious character and not want to reduced the number of its strokes. If it got simplified, would it be contradictory?


Personally, I haven't seen the character 赢 used as a auspicious character. My speculation is that in old times, the word 赢 lacks a writing tradition, thus nobody felt the necessity to create a simpler variant.

Yes, people prefer to use traditional characters and classical Chinese when writing auspicious blessings. You may see 寶 instead of 宝 on banners and red envelopes in new year. However, 赢 is more colloquial than 勝 (simplified:胜) and thus not very common in classical Chinese. Today, football fans will still write 必勝/必胜 on their headbands instead of 必贏/必赢. Because in this case they actually follow the rule of classical Chinese. And you can see that 胜, a character that frequently appears in writing, is much more simplified than 赢.

The writing tradition of a language can be very different from its oral tradition. Most writing materials I've seen in rural areas are account books, invitations, banners, advertisement (a modern thing) and so on. None of them require exact representation of daily conversation. Actually they are all written in flavor that is similar to classical Chinese, and you'll even forget that these people actually can't speak Mandarin. In this way, many common words in the oral language are actually rare words in writing. And I think 赢 falls into this category.

An interesting example is Cantonese. The colloquial Cantonese orthography appeared with the introduction of modern police system in Hong Kong, which requires people to write investigation records - an exact representation of oral conversation. And you'll see people create new glyphs for "colloquial words" while they actually all exist in the writing language. like 佢 for 渠, 唔 for 毋, 係 for 系/是, 啲 for 等, because people can't relate their daily conversation to the writing language.

The standard of simplified characters borrowed a lot of conventional glyphs variants that already exist. You can see all those similar glyphs in simplified characters and Shinjitai (some of them actually come from Japanese simplification, like 学). With modern communication tools like cell phone and computer, people write less and less outside the school. But I've seen many interesting glyph variants (which probably have existed for a very long time) in rural areas when I was young, where writing was much more important and not just about sending postcards, and new shorthand and variant glyphs emerge continuously in daily usage.


For the Cantonese, they aren't inventing new characters since those characters all appear in a Mando hanzi dictionary. It's similar to Japanese 当て字「あてじ」and borrows the characters with the exact pronunciation rather than the meaning

聽日 in spoken Canto is equivalent to 明天 which no Canto speaker will ever say. They will sing it in a song though since it has to be sung in written Mando style

Canto rap is rather spoken though


Well, I think Cantonese speakers do invent new characters. And many Mandarin characters are invented in the same way, like 的 for 之 (see 嘅 in Cantonese), 没 for 未, 他 for 其. Some new characters are used in both Cantonese and Mandarin, like 你 for 尔. Here when I say "invented", I mean it is not originally present or used in the same way in Classical Chinese. 的 (as target) and 没 (as sink/immerse) did exist in Classical Chinese, but they didn't have the same grammatical function as in Mandarin today.

Both Cantonese and Mandarin are modern variants of Chinese, and speakers of both were mostly illiterate in old times. When they start to write the colloquial language, they are generally unaware that the small words they use actually has correspondent literary characters, so they either create new ones or borrow existing characters with similar pronounciation.

The writing tradition of Classical Chinese itself is also in continuous evolution. See the example below:

  • 是(何)物
  • 甚物/甚没/什没 (char. 甚 first appeared in Tang dynasty)
  • 甚摩 (late Tang)
  • 甚麼(么)/ 什麼 (char. 麼 appeared in Song dynasty)
  • 乜(Cantonese) / 啥(Mandarin, informal)


I guess we have different time points in mind and definitions when we are talking about the word "create and invent." So, it is causing some misunderstanding, I believe.

Yes, of course at some point all the characters had to be created, even meanings and some forms changed over time. I am referring to the creation of the Hanzi character itself, and you're referring to new uses of existing Hanzi. For example, there was no word for telephone until the Japanese repurposed 话 and 电 to make 电话。 I suppose to use that is creating a "new word", but those two individual Hanzi characters at least in their traditional forms have existed for a very long time

Cantonese just borrows many characters for its pronunciation and not for its Mando meaning. In fact the alphabet "D" is often used for 的 or 口的 (sorry I can't input that as a single character) Is that "inventing" a new word for the character? I suppose it depends on your definition. Have we invented a new word for the letter "D"? I guess one could make an argument

I'm not sure how many new characters had to be exclusively created for Cantonese that hasn't found its way back or wasn't always available in Mando

Even your example 的 for 之 (see 嘅 in Cantonese), has a kai3 pronunciation for Mando which has nothing to do with the Cantonese pronunciation or meaning


Anyways, obviously every language has to come up with new words and terms for new things especially with the speed technology changes nowadays. But has any new Hanzi characters been developed since the start of the 20th century outside of the mainland simplified characters?


Thanks for the reply. You did strike me at a point. Are these characters commonly found in Cantonese fully (re)invented or actually repurposed from existing characters? I was very sure before you ask me. But now I think maybe I should look on the other side and do some investigation.

Yes, "电话" is a new word created using old characters. But if you ask whether people create new characters (outside the simplification movement) in 20th century, my answer is yes. As you can imagine, most new characters are science and technology related, like the name of chemical elements and structures, and 泵 (pump), 砼 (concrete), etc. A few characters are created as the counterpart for words in foreign languages, like 妳 and 她/牠/祂.

她 is a good example for me to clarify my opinion. This Character is created or repurposed by 刘半农. It already exists as a variant of 姐. But did 刘半农 look up in the dictionary and intentionally choose this existing character, or it's just a coincidence? I am not sure.

I don't know any example of topolect -specialized characters created in the 20th century. Even the newest of them can be dated back to 19th century.

As for the question about dictionary. We should bear in mind that those widely-used dictionaries are not really Mandarin dictionaries, but Chinese dictionaries (heavily biased towards standard Mandarin, I have to admit). These dictionaries do include Cantonese characters, along with characters in Wu, Min and other topolects (like 覅) and Characters not originated from China (like Japanese kokuji). The Mandarin pronounciations for these characters exist. But some of them are made in modern times, for the sake of convenience and standardization.


Yes, as new technology are created, new characters will have to be created as well, or they will have to use existing ones in new combinations. That's all right. Mando has a history of 成語 derived from all sorts of 4 kanji combinations

As for the words "pump" and "concrete", I had no idea how to pronounce them without pinyin, let alone write them. It's good to see the Hanzi for them not being too complex. lol

As far as 刘半农, I have no idea who that is. I will have to wiki it later. The creation story of 她, I have heard of since originally 他 encapsulated both males and females, but Mando needed an equivalent character for the Western, "she". I assume that's how the other versions of ta1 came about, but that's my guess without verifying.

I learned all my Hanzi from Japanese kanji because that was the Asian language I studied, so it has come as a bit of a shock to move to Mando Hanzi, and even more shocking to Hanzi for spoken Cantonese

As for dictionaries, I use the free app, Pleco which allows you to add additional Chinese dictionaries (Mando & Canto) as part of your search. It's much better than buying an overpriced, heavy and bulk, slow-to-lookup paper dictionary. I had to use one when I first started learning Japanese. As well as jyutping and Yale pinyin for Canto, it can display "bopomofo" which is only used by Taiwan now. So while some of the characters and words in it can be super archaic just like English dictionaries for native speakers, that's alright as long as you know those entries are there. Interestingly enough, it also has famous historic as well as modern people in it like 刘备 and 张学友。

I am not a hanzi or kanji geek like some other foreigners who learn the most obscure hanzi or hanzi with 50+ strokes. I know neither any classic Chinese nor Japanese. However, I do find characters interesting, enough so that I think I may start to learn to do brush calligraphy. Of course, I prefer the look of kanji with kana versus only a Hanzi look.


Yes, your idea on 她 is correct. Chinese pronouns didn't have genders in the beginning.

Wiktionary is a good place to look for information about kanji / hanzi. If you would like a dictionary with kanji and kana annotation and read Japanese well, a professional Chinese-Japanese dictionary would be helpful. Actually, popular Japanese dictionaries like 広辞苑 and 大辞林 also include some Chinese characters like their Chinese counterpart. Most of these dictionaries have a digital version. But they are not free.


Yeah I'm not much of a paper book guy anymore. They are just too heavy and take up too much room and god forbid you have to move far.

I am aware of 広辞苑 but not too familiar with 大辞林. I kinda prefer the app I'm using now because it also shows the pitches for vocabulary.

If I need JP->JP, I usually go to Google to get a definition in the native language. Usually, it's difficult to see how the word is used anyways from the definition alone. So the more examples the more helpful, and there are plenty, often times too many examples, in an app

For nouns, I'll just Google image it. That usually does a pretty good job of sorting out nuances, particularly if it's a physical object

As for the etymology of words and characters, some people found it very useful to help remember characters and vocabs, but I'll just get all the origin stories mixed up, so it's easier if I just remember the character and word to start

I'm still beating my head to come up with an "original" Japanese kanji that isn't found in Hanyu or isn't a variant of something that already exists (eg: 鸡 鶏(jp) 雞/鷄 ). I thought obscure Japanese ones like 稽(古)、薔薇 or (林)檎 would do it, but all appear in Pleco


Mando doesn't use 胜「勝」 as the general verb "to win" but rather 贏,just like it doesn't use 負 for "lose" but 输。I learned Japan kanji too. What I've noticed the more basic the meaning, the higher the chance that kanji and hanzi will be different


Rather I learned my kanji through Japanese and not Mando


Also you have to consider that many of the kanji used in Japanese reads like 古典 to modern Chinese. It's analogous to having a Shakespearean feel for modern English speakers


We are the champions! We are the champions! No time for losers! 'Cause we are the champions!


Why is it so hard to write 赢? XD


Yup, one of the biggest words I have encountered in the course so far. Along with 望.


Robot voice (male) says 'yang' for 'ying' here as elsewhere.

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