Why is the order of bottom-left radicals different for some kanji?


What does 回 mean in 回答?
Why does 熊 have 能 in it?
Why does 語 contain 五?




1 Answer 1



I know of a question (because I posted an answer to it), which was migrated to Chinese.SE:

日 and 月: Transition from pictographs to kanji

so I guess it's decided on a case-by-case basis, although it seems to be the only case.

It's clear that many questions about 漢字 can be answered by someone who knows Chinese. What's not clear, especially not to a Japanese learner, is whether a particular question about Japanese 漢字 can be answered without needing to know any Japanese. After all,

  • 漢字 compounds may have a different meanings in Japanese and Chinese (a long discussion was sparked by this question about 方言),

  • stroke order may be different,

  • Japanese has its own names for the radicals,

  • there are 和製漢字,

  • ...

When a question can be answered without any knowledge of Japanese, I agree that it should be migrated to the true experts on Chinese.SE. However, questions about Japanese 漢字 which require a knowledge of Japanese might better be left where they were asked. I'm assuming that answers on Chinese.SE will be formulated with a Chinese learner in mind. (There is no on Chinese.SE, although on Japanese.SE there is .)

Having many active users with an active knowledge of Chinese is a privilege we enjoy here on Japanese.SE.

Never mind my personal opinion, if any user on this site thinks that a particular question should better be asked on Chinese.SE, they can always leave a comment and (starting from x reputation) cast a "migration" vote via the "close" link. That way it will be added to the close votes review queue on https://japanese.stackexchange.com/review. (That's how the above question was migrated.) I would interpret the first "migration" vote as a way of asking the community "do we want to migrate this question?". People against migration can always leave a comment explaining their reason (which is what often happens with "off-topic" close votes: "I disagree with the close vote for the following reason...").


I'm not sure what I suggested will work quite as smoothly as I just realized that I haven't tried to migrate anything from Japanese.SE to anything other than our meta (here). I just had a look at the menu in close > off-topic > This question belongs on another site... and migrating to Chinese.SE doesn't seem to be an option. What you can do is cast a custom close vote via close > off-topic > custom and say "I think this question belongs to Chinese.SE". This way it will get added to the review queue and other users can read your custom close vote and agree. Your custom close vote will leave a comment on the question and other close voters selecting your close reason will result in an automatic upvote on the automatic comment. Then a moderator (hopefully) sees that 5 people voted to close with the intention of migrating and migrate the question... Sorry for the confusion.

  • Thank you especially for the useful hint: the first "migration" vote as a way of asking the community "do we want to migrate this question?". It just comes up with me that it'd be nice if we had a system supports "condominium" for a question that benefits multiple communities. May 22, 2015 at 3:29
  • There's The Meta to ask for feature requests (like posts appearing on multiple sites). Be warned though: all questions I posted there were heavily downvoted and from what I understand what Meta users hate most is duplicate feature requests. Quoting from the accepted, top answer of asking for posts to appear on multiple sites "SE is not a wild west for questions; a question needs to be worked on to be worthy, and if worthy, it will target a specific audience"...
    – Earthliŋ Mod
    May 22, 2015 at 8:54
  • 1
    Thanks for the link, I found this post mentioned in yours is quite feasible, but I'm not sure how it's going on so far. May 23, 2015 at 5:35
  • @broccoliforest Oh, that looks promising. I hope there'll be enough support to have it implemented sooner or later.
    – Earthliŋ Mod
    May 23, 2015 at 10:19
  • "migrated to the true experts on Chinese.SE" - do we expect Chinese speakers to know more about 漢字 than Japanese speakers, though? As an imperfect analogy, I wouldn't expect a scholar of Latin to necessarily know more about the alphabet than a scholar of English.
    – senshin
    May 26, 2015 at 10:05
  • 1
    @senshin Of course not all kanji questions are suitable to migration. But I just noticed some (quite small portion) of them (a) etymologically required the understanding of "Latin" grammar, thus you can expect more insightful answers from "living Latin speakers", or (b) were about what archeologists that excavating "Etruscan artifacts" know best, whose majority are expected to be in "Italy" rather than "England". May 30, 2015 at 6:51
  • Oracle bones are still being excavated in China. There are a number of websites which are in the process of compiling databases for pictures of oracle bones. As far as I can tell, all this is happening in Chinese (only). Of course we're very lucky to have Richard Sears's chineseetymology.org, but my impression is that in Chinese there exist many resources about the etymology of 漢字 and only some of this information is being made accessible for speakers of Japanese or English.
    – Earthliŋ Mod
    May 30, 2015 at 11:35
  • 1
    In the case of the single migration, it falls clearly into Chinese, because the transition of 日、月 as the user was referring to excludes Japan. For 漢字 development up until the Northern Wei (around when they were officially loaned to write Japanese), it seems more suited to use Chinese SE, but for any parallel development after this it makes sense to leave them on JSE unless they clearly refer to Chinese rather than Japanese (which I haven't seen examples of yet). Pronunciation may be aided by Chinese knowledge, but if this links to Japanese usage of 漢字, it makes sense to keep them on JSE.
    – sqrtbottle
    May 30, 2015 at 11:41
  • (Just look at the list of book references on chineseetymology.org. As far as I know the most comprehensive resource for 漢字 etymology we have in Japanese is the 新漢和大辞典, which is one volume.)
    – Earthliŋ Mod
    May 30, 2015 at 11:42

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