La taula periòdica dels elements en xinès: els ideogrames també ens ensenyen química

Posted on 23/03/2011 per

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Per casualitat vaig veure un comentari sobre els ideogrames xinesos i la taula periòdica dels elements, a partir de l’entrada de la WikiPedia per a la taula periòdica en llengües asiàtiques orientals. Donat que fins a l’època industrial no hi va arribar el coneixement occidental químic, l’escriptura i pronunciació dels elements en xinès (mandarí) té curiositats interessants (nota: no aconsegueixo escriure caràcters xinesos en aquest post, és millor veure l’entrada original)

Most elements, however, remained unknown to the Chinese until they were isolated during the Industrial Age. These new elements therefore required new characters, which were invented using the phono-semantic principle. Each character consists of two parts, to signify the meaning and to hint at the sound:

The semantic (meaning) part is also the radical of the character. It refers to the element’s usual state at room temperature and standard pressure. There are only four radicals used for elements: ?/? (jin “gold”) for solid metals, ? (shí “stone”) for solid non-metals, ?/? (shui “water”) for liquids, and ? (qì “air”) for gases.

The phonetic (sound) part represents the character’s pronunciation and is a partial transliteration of the element. For each element character, this is a unique phonetic component. Since there are over 100 elements already discovered, there are over 100 different phonetic components used in naming the elements.

Cal notar, a més, que com passa en altres àmbits, hi ha dues versions de la taula: la tradicional i la simplificada. Aquí hi ha la darrera, que es fa servir a la Xina Continental:

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La Wikipedia porta a un article interessant titulat THE CHINESE PERIODIC TABLE: A ROSSETTA STONE FOR UNDERSTANDING THE LANGUAGE OF CHEMISTRY IN THE CONTEXT OF THE INTRODUCTION OF MODERN CHEMISTRY INTO CHINA on l’autor, Bert Ramsay (Eastern Michigan Univ) fa reflexions sobre com la forma d’escriure els elements en xinès permet entendre millor el llenguatge de la química. Per exemple:

Several groups of elements have a common picture (radical or character) associated with them:
1. Eleven elements (hydrogen, the noble gases [helium missing], fluorine and chlorine,
nitrogen and oxygen) – all could be characterized as existing as gases in their natural state
– share a common character: the “gas” radical.
2. There are 7 non-metals (B, P, S, Se, Te, I, As) that contain the “stone” radical.
3. Bromine and mercury contain the “liquid” character.
4. Overwhelming majority of the remaining elements at the left side of the table are metals
and share the character found in the element, gold

a partir de la següent figura:

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Val la pena fer un cop d’ull a tot l’article de Ramsay. De fet, el mateix autor proporciona una calculadora per a la taula periòdica xinesa.

Sempre s’hi aprèn!

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