This is not an independent character in Chinese. Why does it have a pronunciation attached? The other building blocks don't, and for the sake of consistency, we should either label "drop", "stick" with "dian3", "shu4" etc, or remove the pronunciation from this character.
Good point - this is true, but it depends on which way around you look at it: the meaning of the Chinese radical 囗 is "surround". Since we are trying to introduce the meanings of the radicals here, we start by showing the character and giving its meaning. Doet that make sense?
We are going to make the distinction between radicals and everyday words much clearer ver soon.
Ben, My wife is a Chinese linguist. Meaning she has studied and grown up in China as well as has learned the history of the radicals. Even your etymological definition of many radicals is wrong. If you can prove me wrong fine. I can prove you wrong but not online I will however give you a picture of my wife's dictionary. If you are going attach meaning to a radical you need to focus on the root. As this is what a radical is.
@shadwdfx, thanks very much for getting in touch - if you see an error in the wiki then please do comment on it - that is how the wiki improves! This is certainly not a case of you having to prove me wrong or me having to prove you wrong; this is a wiki that is being built by a collaborative effort, and we can have a friendly discussion over anything that needs to be changed or improved!
In this case do you think that the radical meaning of 囗 is not "surround"? My own research suggested that its meaning is "surround", or "borders" or something similar to that. But there is, from what I can tell, quite a lot of divergence on the precise way that radicals are described. Do you think that the divergence in meaning here is a hugely important one?
A general principal for the wiki is that it is a tool for learning, not for academic reference; accordingly we are keen not to get too bogged down in debate over the precise English word that is used to represent the ancient meaning of radicals that are only used as a building block in other characters.
The reason for learning these radicals and their meanings is that it helps one to learn the meanings of combination characters that are made up from them. So as long as the definition gives the sense of that root meaning that helps one to remember the combination characters, it has done its job. But if you feel that the definitions that have been chose do not do that, then please do suggest a change!
Please do leave a comment on any other characters that you think could benefit from better definitions,
@Ben: Appreciate the quick feedback. I am not an expert on the etymology of Chinese Characters (Hanzi) nor would I want this to become too academic. However since radicals are building blocks to creating a future understanding of other characters, then I believe a little more information about the correct general meaning will, in my opinion, lead to a better understanding of characters later.
That said, I'm not sure that my wife studied this far into the true meaning of radicals and she is a professional translator. So, in the interest of learning I will continue to contribute but am not sure if teaching radicals is the right approach for beginners.
For me personally, I will try to create a course just for my own learning starting at the playschool level and hopefully it will help form an intermediary step. I will continue with this course.
Last point I think you are correct about the meaning of the radical above, but after having studied how to write it, I think it is confusing to have both kou and wei in a grouping as the only significant difference is the size of the character and otherwise they are identical. I don't believe this is beneficial unless it is very clear during the learning process that it is identified as a radical by some other annotation. Not sure this is the area for this discussion but appreciate your response and will try to continue to contribute.
Thanks for all of this. I totally agree - the more information that can be posted about the meanings of the radicals, the better.
We are also going to make a much better and clearer note of which meanings are radical meanings, and I am working out how to put in a good "tutorial" that explains the basics in a digestible way (rather than dense, unreadable and unread text).
I think that learning the radicals can be really helpful but we do have to be careful that it isn't confusing. And mouth-surround is a confusing pair! At the moment "surround" has "part of speech" as "radical", which should let you distinguish them. But that is not at al obvious, particularly to beginners, who need to know it most. We will work out a better solution for that.
I would love to see the play school level course - this "survival" list was originally written as a guide to reading signs and menus, rather than to actually speaking. A better introduction to starting to speak Chinese would be very valuable.
Thank you very much for your feedback, and please do let me know if you have any other ideas or questions - if you go to "community" and then "forums" and post a comment there, I will see it and reply, and others can also get involved in the discussion.