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Journey with Cangjie

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Easy Cangjie Examples



Below are some examples of using Cangjie input with only the 24 primary / main symbols. Primary symbols are the symbols that are represented with a single key press. On a Cangjie keyboard, these would be the symbols you see etched on the keys along with the ASCII character. The first column is the target character, and the second column is the combination of primary symbols used to type the character (the actual key presses are listed in parenthesis).


量 日一田土  (amwg)

或 戈口一  (irm)

車 十田十 (jwj)

王 一土 (mg)

下 一卜 (my)

味 口十木 (rjd)

某 廿一木 (tmd)

出 山山 (uu)


A character should be able to be input into a computer with Cangjie with no more than 5 key strokes. Some input codes are just one character (e.g. 金 is just 'c'), while most input codes are 3 to 4 key strokes. I am finding Cangjie is much like learning to touch type. You have to develop the muscle memory in your fingers and your mind to map the primary symbol to the proper key on the keyboard. As such, I created an Anki deck for the primary symbols and work through them both front side and back side. I also spend some time each day typing some characters so that I get the muscle memory in my fingers.


The 80+ secondary symbols are required for more complicated characters, and then there are some core rules for determining which symbols are necessary to input a character. These rules have to be mastered because there are some characters that have 6 or even 7 symbols within the character, but only at most 5 are required to input the character. The secondary symbols closely resemble radicals from a dictionary, or even some of the symbols on the Wubi input method keyboard layout. There secondary symbol shapes in some way resemble the shape / form of the primary symbol.


Tonight I am starting on the secondary symbols which will probably be time consuming and take a few weeks to really master. I found an interesting iPhone application (五色學倉頡) that allows you to practice Cangjie by showing a character with each primary/secondary symbol shown as a different color, and then you have to type on a keyboard the proper input code for the character. It is a great app to play around with when you have time to kill and nothing to do. If my Chinese reading were better I'm sure I could probably find other interesting apps for learning Cangjie.


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