"Eat" chinese character (Taiwan)

RE: 甲 character, but with a small “mouth” (radical) on the left side

OBSERVATIONS: In Taiwanese, the pronunciation for eat seems very similar to 甲 . . . . . . . . . . .
AND when written, this character is used, but with a small “mouth” (radical) on the left side.

This “Taiwanese-style” Chinese character also appears in the names of some restaurants. When typing this data, however, I have been unable to find this character on my computer.

Does anyone know the unicode for this character?


Mainland page but I hope this is of help. Hmmm, the actual Mandarin pronunciation is xia1 and it’s in the list there on my computer. FWIW, the actual character in Taiwanese for this is 食 but 呷 has taken root in popular contexts even though the 甲 sound component is pronounced differently in Taiwanese.

You mean 呷? It’s U+5477. You should be able to type it by pronunciation if you try /gā/. Alternatively, the Sogou Pinyin IME I use for typing Chinese has a useful feature where you can get the character by its components, so for example to find this character I can type ukoujia.

Note the usage of 呷 for Taiwanese is just by phonetic approximation. The etymologically “correct” character is 食.

The unicode I got was (with spaces between each letter/number) :

& # 2 1 6 2 3 ;

And that is 呷

Thanks to everyone for their help.

Hmm, I use Chinese IME for Windows 7, and that character is not on the list, whether I input xia1 or ga1. I wonder if it’s in some extended character set that I don’t have?

Oh, you were asking for the HTML entity reference. I gave you just the Unicode character number, in hexadecimal, and what you posted is its decimal equivalent. If you want to use an entity reference with a hex number in the future, the code would be: 呷 (note the leading “x”).

Tempo Gain got it right: it should actually be written 食 (Mandarin: shi2), but decades of trying to quash the Taiwanese language have left most people semi-illiterate and they prefer to use Mandarin-based pronunciations to record Taigi words. Another prominent example is pháinn-sè, which is often written as 拍謝 because those two characters in mandarin are… sort of close. It should really be 歹勢.

EDIT: a more appropriate example in the context of the elections is 凍蒜 (frozen garlic) to represent 當選 (elected). The pronunciation in Taigi (tòng-suán) sounds like Mandarin 凍蒜 (dòng suàn), hence the play on words. But a surprising number of Taiwanese people don’t know that the characters should actually be 當選 and will respond with “everyone knows Taiwanese doesn’t have a writing system!” (a persistent, very untrue myth.)

Pfft, I posted 當選 on FB the other day and had to tell off the hordes of locals telling me it should be 凍蒜 :unamused:


thanks KMT, for consistently blocking native language education programs…

Forget about the little mouth radical.

食 (jah).
This is the proper glyph in Taigi, in Hakka, in Cantonese, and also in Japanese.

Well, I was compiling a list of breakfast shops where my friends and I sometimes go. This character was part of the three-character name of one shop.

Hence, I needed to find the exact character, so that I could put that on the webpage I was designing.

hmm. I actually had to look up wiki to find the “official” bopomo for this one. en.wiktionary.org/wiki/
this is one of the junk glyph in the lexicon. If Taiwanese are using it to make the sound “jia”, then maybe we should update the bopomo /dictionary input .

Dictionaries of the Chinese language are usually behind the curve. The MOE’s dictionary lists 骰子 as tou2zi… which nobody would ever say in this country. They’re out of touch and don’t believe in descriptive linguistics, sadly.

that’s probably because 骰 is borrowed and kunnyomi’ed for another way to call dies (shǎi). In Taigi 骰子 is read as tâu-á, which shows tou2zi is the more correct way to read 骰 in mandarin.

Any idea what they’re called in China?

骰子 is tou2zi.
But usually people say shai3zi(it’s so weird to use pinyin, I never use this system lol, I absolutely hate it), which should be written as 色子, apparently people mix these two up. They mean the exact same thing so it doesn’t really matter anyways.

accodring to zdict, in China it’s also called tou2.

In Cantonese, the character can be read as tou4 and sik1. So the sai reading would have something to do with sik.

by the way, according to classical chinese dictionaries:

Dictionary Spelling *Taigi *Mandarin
《廣韻》 度侯切 tau5 dou2
《集韻》 徒侯切 thau5 tou2
《韻會》 徒侯切 thau5 tou2
《正韻》 徒侯切 thau5 tou2
↑ 音頭 thau5 tou2
《集韻》 果五切 koo2 gu3
↑ 音古 koo2 gu3
↑ 股或作骰 koo2 gu3

According to classical dictionaries, 殳 is a weapon (hand holding a melon like hammer) and the right side of 沒 means sinking. There’s apparently a few other etymologies for characters to have the 殳 radical. In older scripts, they actually looked different.

if you consider all those words with the radical of 殳, it’s probably obvious shai3 isn’t how the word was supposedly read.

殳 shu
軗 shu
芟 shan <- written the same way in older scripts, but read differently
杸 dui2 shu

投 tou2
酘 dou2
䩔 duo2
段 duan2
祋 dui2
杸 dui2 shu
毆 ou
羖 gu3

沒殁 mo2
役鈠 yi2

般 ban
㲀 chen2 follows the other radical

The most likely etymology for 骰 to be read as shai is the following
設殺 in Tagi

設 siat
殺 sat

although both these radicals followed the left radical in sound… so not sure why that would be applied to 骰…


I did some googling. The etymology for Shai-zi is 色子. Taigi: sik-á

The nick name for dice might came from the fact that the traditional dice have red dots for 1 and 4.