Confusion over 惑


Oct. 28, 2008

[This was the first post I ever wrote on a personal blog, which I've copied over for posterity]

One reason for having a blog is to use it as a general dumping ground for information. One type of information I intend to dump here is about hanzi (Chinese characters), that I often confuse. Hopefully that way I can learn to distinguish them.

Chinese often leaves me confused and baffled. First of all you have lots of sounds that sound identical (’x’ and ’sh’, ‘j’ and ‘zh’ for example), then you have the infamous tones, and on top of all that you have the fact that lots of words are homonyms – pronounced exactly the same as one another. When it comes to hanzi, it is easy to be misled by characters with similar strokes (such as those with the hand and dog radial: 扌and 犭 respectively). One example of a confusing hanzi is 惑, which I often confuse 感. With small fonts, it is particularly difficult to see the difference.

惑: huò - confuse (line below the box)
感: gǎn - emotion (line above the box and an extra stroke)

惑感 should therefore mean confused emotions.

惑 is used to mean planet (惑星 - huò xīng), according Cojak.org and mdbg list, but dict.cn uses 行星 (which is also on mdbg). Yet more confusion. More confusingly, if 惑星 does mean planet, then it sounds a lot like 火星 (huo3 xing1), which means Mars.

感 is used in the Chinese for flu, a subject of interest to me: 流感 (liú gǎn).

In later posts, I expect I shall feature more hanzi I confuse.

  • 惑星 (huò xīng): planet
  • 困惑 (kùn huò): bewilder, perplexity, confused

Example:

这个异乎寻常的结果让他非常困惑。

He was really confused by the freak result.

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