From Round to Square (and back)

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Kanji Mastery—Radical 94 (犬 Dog)

[a] Calligraphic RF
It's a dog's world, depending on how you interpret that in the world of Chinese characters (漢字; kanji) and East Asian history. Radical ninety-four is "dog," and it figures in a bunch of characters having to do with various animalian qualities, as we shall see. The key to noticing this character-part (radical) is knowing when and where it is radical in the overall character. 
[b] New Yorkie RF

Sometimes it is featured on the right of the character, where we will find it in its "whole word" dictionary form (状, 獄, 獣, 献). Occasionally, it appears under a character part (獎). The vast majority of the time, though, it changes form and appears on the left-hand side (犯, 孤, 独, 猛, 猿, 獅, 狢). This beast changing forms is one of the biggest problems that Japanese language learners have as they enter their "intermediate" studies. The two faces of the dog (犬 and 犭) are "the same" in a dictionary sense. Start to notice it, and begin to see the copse for the sapplings, as well as the hair of the dog in a rich array of characters. It is not known whether a little egg in the diet will make the characters shinier.
[c] Mammalian RF

Radical 94
Chinese (Mandarin): quan3
Chinese (Cantonese): hyun2
Japanese (On reading): ケン KEN
Japanese (Kun readings): いぬ inu
Korean: 개 

Selections from The New Nelson Japanese-English Character Dictionary.
Radical 94
Inu  dog. At left: 犭—3 strokes kemono hen  left-hand "animal." Nickname: dog.

犬小屋    いぬごや       inugoya        dog kennel                       (dog+small+abode)
犬死     いぬじ(に)    inuji(ni)          die in vain                        (dog+die)
犬泳ぎ    いぬおよぎ   inuoyogi        dog paddle                       (dog+swim)
犬猫     いぬねこ       inuneko        cats and dogs                   (dog+cat)
犬合わせ いぬあわせ     inua(wase)    dog fight                           (dog+unite/link)

O.k., with the exception of "dog death," these are pretty straightforward, the way we usually begin in these Kanji Mastery posts. Let's take a look now at a few combinations that require at least one more imaginative step beyond the obvious (cats + dogs = cats and dogs).

犬侍 いぬざむらい inuzamurai     depraved samurai              (dog + samurai)
犬馬 けんば            kenba             my humble self                  (dog + horse)
犬猿 けんえん        ken'en             loggerheads, impasse       (dog + monkey)
犬儒 けんじゅ        kenju               a highbrow scholar            (dog + Confucian)
Let's wrap things up with a number of characters in which 犬 is "radical." You'll find it mostly on the left, but don't be tricked.

狂 キョウ                             KYOU                               lunatic; to go insane (狂する)
 コウ, ずるい、こすい      KOU, zuru(i), kosu(i)                  crafty, cunning, sly
 ワイ, みだらな, みだりに  WAI, mida(ra)na, mida(ri) ni       licentious, lewd
 バク                    BAKU                                         tapir
 ジュウ、けだもの、けもの JYUU, kedamono, kemono    animal, beast
[d] Wild beast RF

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