兴/興(traditional) is a character we learn very early. 兴 is found in 高兴, gāo xìng, happy, pleased. One can be quickly distraught because 兴 is in words related to construction, development, prosperity. Where do these meanings come from? Knowledge of its origin allows us to understand its ramifications and to better remember all these future associations.
The first scripts evoked four hands on each side of a brick mould. Four hands together make bricks to build a house.
The first sense was to make bricks. By extension, at the time, three senses came: building, prosperous and happy. All three are in germ in these graphs: building with bricks; building refers to a certain prosperity, the four hands working together evoke enthusiasm.
They have left traces in the associations of character.
One can compose three categories per theme; a small sample:
高兴, gāo xìng, happy / pleased
兴趣,, xìng qù, interest
兴奋, xīng fen, excited / delighted
兴高彩烈, xìng gāocǎiliè, in great delight
扫兴, sǎoxìng, feel disappointed
兴起, xīngqǐ, to rise
兴建, xīng jiàn, build / establish
兴办, xīng bàn, founding / undertaking / creating
兴隆, xīng lóng, prosperous / lively
兴盛, xīng shèng, thriving / prosperous
兴荣, xīng róng, flourish / prosper /
复兴, fù xīng, rebirth / recovery
新兴, xīnxīng, to emerge, to rise
振兴, zhènxīng, to invigorate
To progress effectively in vocabulary and acquire a very good level, understanding and assimilation of the network of characters makes learning more effective. Without emphasis, I would say that this is crucial. We can go much faster. In addition, this graphic below could be completed with at least thirty additional words.
A small mention for 复兴. fù xīng, which is the term used to talk about the rebirth of the Chinese nation, 复 means again. There is even talk of a great renaissance 大复兴. The traditional character 興 has kept a structure close to the ancient spellings while the simplified 兴 has moved away.
兴/興 has two pronunciations, in the first and fourth tones. The modern meanings have remained in the same semantic field:
兴/興 xīng, to rise, to begin, to blossom
兴/興 xìng, joyful, inspiration, interest
An additional example that shows how knowledge of the origin of a character can help to understand all its uses in the language. 兴 is combined with nearly fifty other characters.
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19 November 2020