RE: The Currency Symbol of China

From: Thomas Chan (
Date: Mon Sep 30 2002 - 21:02:59 EDT

  • Next message: Kenneth Whistler: "RE: The Currency Symbol of China"

    Lots of confusion. I don't know the origin of "yen" for the Japanese
    currency, aside from hearing that it was the way it was spelled (perhaps
    in Hepburn's dictionary) and adopted as such in English, and that the
    source of the "ye" might have either historical and/or regional
    pronunciation--i.e., not a phonemic difference distinct from "e".
    (Corrections appreciated here.) I do have the following (other) remarks
    on the characters that some have brought up, though:

    Marco Cimarosti wrote:
    >Similarly, "yen" is just the Japanese (kun) pronunciation of Chinese

    Stefan Persson wrote:
    >Yen (4~6~D^4~DC^4~DC) is U+5186, while yuan (4~6~D^4~D6~^A) is U+5143.
    >"Yen" is an ancient "on" pronunciation for U+5186; today it's pronounced

    James Kass wrote:
    >How about U+5143 ? (smile)
    >Looking at pictures of Chinese coins in the Krause catalog, some
    >coins used an ideograph other than U+5143, but a quick search of
    >CJK BMP ranges didn't find it. (Doesn't mean it's not there.)
    >This other character looks like rad. 31 surrounding stacked rads
    >30, 72, and 9. (The pictures are a bit fuzzy, though.)

    The Japanese currency may be U+5186 today, but that is just a
    simplification of U+5713. Chinese took a different path of simplifiction
    and variants, including U+56ED and today's (PRC) U+5143. (The Korean
    "won" currency is of the same etymology, though not U+571C "hwan",
    although the theme of a circular object--"rounds"?--is still present.)
    (Was U+56ED what you saw, James?--I don't have my Krause catalog by me at
    the moment, but I think it was present on older PRC coinage.)

    I wouldn't seriously advocate U+5143 :) --that is a word and not a symbol,
    cf., "$100" vs. "100 dollars"--the symbol is prefixed out speech order,
    but the word is suffixed per pronunciation. But if we are to get into
    writing out currency amounts in longhand words, there is at least also
    U+6587, formerly approxiately 1/1000th of a yuan, but now promoted to
    equal status as the yuan in Cantonese-speaking areas unofficially (i.e.,
    it appears on price tags, but not money). This "man" is also
    ridiculously written U+868A 'mosquito'. (I'm not going to get into 1/10th
    and 1/100th units at this time.)

    Thomas Chan

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