has the meaning mouth, opening, exit, entrance, people and population. The character is a pictogram of a mouth with happy corners. The mouth is an important element, which generally appears in one of every five Chinese characters. It often represent "speak" or "sound" which are difficult to depict.
Today is written 口
oracle bone script for 口
has the meaning tongue. The oracle bone character is believed to be a drawing of a tongue protruding from a mouth.
But why it a two edged tongue like it was one of a snake? Actually the character could have something to do with a serpant because tongue and serpant have the exact same prononciation in Chinese: shé.
But if we look at the oracle bone character by turning it upside down, we see that it is a man coming out from the mouth. What does all this mean?
I believe that the Chinese had the knowledge of James more than a thousand years earlier than him:
"Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tungue. It is restless evil, full of deadly poison." James 3:5-8
I see the disobedient Adam coming out from the mouth . This was how the first Chinese was looking at the tongue. They also made the prononciation of the tongue to be the same as that of serpant/snake because of the poison it had.
Today is written 舌
oracle bone script for 舌
has the meaning speech, remark, word, say, talk and speak.
This oracle bone character is very similar to the tongue. And without a tongue we could not form words nor speak.
But as has the meaning hard, difficult, bitter and painful, so the person speaking a lot will have a lot of hardship and pain. James also wrote a long time after this character was created:
"Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check." James 3:1-2
In the Old Testament is is written: "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." Proverbs 18:21
The Chinese seem to have known all this. Therefore they do not speak as much as westeners. We also have a proverb: "Silence is golden."
So the oracle bone for speak is a picture of problems coming out from a mouth.
Today is written 言
oracle bone script for 言
has the meaning tell, inform, report, notify, sue, bring an action or a case against, accuse, ask for, request, solicit, declare and announce.
Here both the oracle bone and the modern character has the same two parts: a mouth and an ox .
Both the sheep/lamb and the ox are built up on the disobedient Adam. These animals are those that have been sacrificed throughout Chinese history. The body of the two animals are . Only their respective hornes are added.
What could it mean that an ox is coming out from a mouth?
Instead of the case being against Adam, the case was now against the ox. The ox was accused although it had done nothing wrong. But like the sheep/lamb it took the punishment for Adams sin. This was declared and announced. The ox was now sued for the crime of man. It had to die.
This was something the Chinese should tell coming generations. About the blood sacrifice that was necessary for forgiveness to be achieved.