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Teaching unexpected readings of phonetic components

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this is where Japanese has a nice way of categorising radicals according to their position, so 隹 would be a tsukuri, not a hen, because it mainly appears on the right side.

So this is one area that I would find it useful to teach, pointing out which radicals in Chinese tend to appear not on the left side. Of course, will all of these things it becomes obvious after enough learning, but I think it would save time and frustration to teach this.

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the entire classification scheme goes like this:

偏 (hen): left part

旁 (tsukuri): right part

冠 (kanmuri): upper part

脚 (ashi): lower part, with some variants

垂 (tare): "hanging from top to bottom"

繞 (nyō): "hanging from left to right"

構 (kamae): "surrounding", with some variants

have a look here for graphics and examples:


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Thanks for those links, but unless I'm missing something, not what I would want.

I don't really care about giving names for the different types. Rather, I'd really like a list of the radicals in Chinese and where they usually appear.


on top: 宀, 廾 [these are probably obvious for those studying characters for a while]

on the right: 隹 [i never realized this. Are there others?]

Along with this, and I'm not sure if this has been mentioned, is that some of the "gotchas" in radicals should be taught. I think this fits in with the theme, as things may be unexpected only if you aren't looking in the right place.

e.g. those that change form. Some I know, but for example I never knew that 罒 on top is the radical form of 网 (according to MGBD).

And those that change meaning depending on whether on the left or right side, e.g. 阝

BTW, is the radical on the left or the right for 雔? :mrgreen: and what about 雥 and 雦?

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Well, having such a classification in place is a first step for having lists for them.. so you would look up lists on tsukuri, kanmuri etc. to find out about the most typical ones, like the Japanese wikipedia article on tsukuri (just follow the link and you'll get a list of most common radicals appearing on the right). Japanese Wikipedia has corresponding articles for all types.

Actually, 阝 doesn't change its meaning, it is two different radicals, and there are also long forms:

on the right-hand side, it's the short form of 邑, and the radical means mostly "city, settlement"

on the left-hand side, it's the short form of 阜, and the radical means "hill, or topography in general" (陽 and 陰 are said to originally have referred to the sides of a hill facing the sun and facing away from it)

(There are also some other tricky radicals that change their shapes)

If a character consists of three identical shapes, that one shape is the radical, and a positional classification becomes moot.

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