術 shu4 means an art, skill or method, and is in terms like wu3shu4 武術, martial arts, and yi4shu4 藝術, art (as in fine arts).
The character is 术 shu2 phonetic in the middle of 行 semantic.
术 (orig. pronounced shu2; the archaic form of 秫 shu2, a glutinous grain, perhaps millet or sorghum) depicts either the plant itself with grains shown (and one grain remaining in the modern version), or a person’s hand, with sticky grains adhering to it (depending on whose speculation you’re reading).
行 xing2/hang2 depicts a crossroads (intersection), and originally meant to walk, travel. It is semantic in 術 because 術 originally meant boulevard, and was later borrowed as a phonetic loan to represent the abstract idea ‘art; skill’.
The simplified form of 術 is just 术, from its phonetic element, and now pronounced shu4.
the part in the middle of 術 is not 术, it’s 朮. The former one is not a traditional character. It’s totally a new simplified character for 術. So 术 is shu4. 朮 is a traditional one. It’s pronouced as (WG: chou2, HP:zhou2) not shu2 as I know.[/quote]
Thanks, DoD; you’re right in a way, but the answer is technically both.
First, 术 and 朮 are equivalent; they are alternate 隸定 li4ding4 renderings of the same seal form. You will find the graph under one form in some dictionaries and under the other form in others.
Yeah, I know it’s now usually calligraphically rendered 朮, especially still in Taiwan AFAIK, and I prefer that as it is closer to the seal form, but I couldn’t type that using shu2 in the MS IME, so I typed its available alternate form.
If you look up 术 in the Hanyu Da Zidian on p.484 you’ll find that it is indeed one 隸定 li4ding4 rendering of , and the primary (etymologically earliest and most important) pronunciation it gives is shu2.
Not exactly. 术 is a minute calligraphic variation (i.e., alternative li4ding4 rendering and structurally equivalent form) of the traditional 朮, and merely connects the ‘legs’ (roots) to the stalk, if indeed the structure is that of the plant as I suspect. As for being a new simplified character for 術, well, it’s the borrowing of a graph which existed before 術 did (as it must have, being the constituent phonetic of the latter compound). So I wouldn’t call it new, no. Also remember that some simplifications occurred thousands of years ago, and the PRC has merely resurrected some of them, so they’re not necessarily new. The simplified form 队 of 隊 dui4, team (which originally meant 墜 zhui4, to fall, basically resurrects the oracle bone form and is thus at least 3300 years old (although the OB form had three lumps on the 阜 left side, and the person was upside down, showing him falling from a cliff). That said, I don’t currently have evidence of 術 being simplified to its center component before this last century; I’ll have to look through the bronze and clerical script records for that.
Are you sure you don’t mean zhu2? For the purposes of modern speakers of Chinese and for Chinese medicine, you’d essentially then be partly right: according to my sources, it has three pronunciations, shu2 ‘glutinous grain’, zhu2 (not zhou2 AFAIK) ‘podophyllum versipelle (an herbal medicine plant); a kind of grass or herb’, and shu4, ‘simplified form of 術’. Since it is the original form of 秫 shu2 ‘glutinous millet’, and it provides the phonetic value of shu in 術 shu4 ‘art’, it was reasonable for me to so render it (as shu2) for etymologyical purposes, without going off into the other readings, but as a standalone graph, you’ll likely find it in Taiwanese dictionaries under zhu2 and in mainland dictionaries also under shu4 (as the simplified form). So Taiwanese will probably only know it as zhu2, while modern Chinese will know it as shu4 (and possibly also zhu2).
Thanks for reminding me about that, as I’ve now found it types as zhu2 in IME.
To the OP, Maoman, I’m sure you’ll let us know if we haven’t provided quite ENOUGH information.