Chinese Characters


Main meanings:

① his; her; its; their;
② he; she; it;
③ that; such,
④ it
⑤ adverbial component.

HSK - 3



character qi

Elements  ----  basket 其. Phonetic series - 其.

A pictogram of a basket rose up with two hands 廾. It refers to the contents of the basket.  Readers must pay attention to the fact that the pictograms for 其 evolved as its meaning did, from a simple basket in the Oracle Bone Characters to a basket on a platform in the Small Seal, suggesting its contents are offered in a ceremony. The meaning refers to these contents, first such, that; later it (as most ceremonies included the sacrifice of an animal), and he (related also to the sacrifices of humans?). Later  his or her things, etc. Basket is now written 箕 jī, with the bamboo 竹 radical, as baskets were mainly made with bamboo.  

Main Words:

③ that; such

其他 qítā others; the rest.
其中 qízhōng among them.
其余 qíyú others; the rest.
其次 qícì next; second.
⑤ adverbial component.

极其 jíqí extremely; exceedingly.
尤其 yóuqí especially.
其实 qíshí actually; in fact.

Discussion and sources

Karlgren thinks it is the drawing of a basket. Most of the Chinese scholars agree with him. Some, as Gu Jianping, think it is a dustpan. I think that its role in the characters it forms part suggest it was originally a basket.

Gu Jianping (顾建平). Times Encyclopedia of Written Chinese. China Publishers. Shanghai. 2014.
Karlgren, Bernhard. Grammata Serica Recensa. The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Bulletin 29. Stockholm. 1957.

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