Wednesday, 9 October 2013

To love 愛 or to love 爱; That is the Question

If one looks closely at the Chinese character for 'love', one can discover some interesting things.

In traditional Chinese, people write this character as "愛." Now it is simplified to "爱."

The parts of "爫" and "夂" in the traditional Chinese both mean actions. "爫" or "爪" is a chinese radical meaning claw, nail, or talon, similar to grabbing or holding. "夂" is a chinese radical meaning "to walk slowly."

"心" means heart.

So the Traditional Chinese character "爱" means to love people through your actions and with your heart.

In the Simplified Chinese character "爱", the upper part of the word 'love' is the same as the Traditional Chinese. However, the lower part of the Traditional "夂" character is replaced with the character "友" which means "friend." Moreover, the "心" character is missing.

This has some implications to the meaning of the word 'love,' as the Simplified character "爱" now means to love people as merely friends through your actions.

When we love others, do we love them through our actions and with our heart? Or has our love become merely a 'friendly,' heartless love?

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