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Please help me identify these (rare?) characters


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Hi all,

The mystery characters: i7UjL.png

These characters seem to be difficult to locate by stroke in online dictionaries I have tried... they might be deprecated symbols...

Would appreciate if anyone could post links to dictionary entries.


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  • 10 months later...
These characters seem to be difficult to locate by stroke in online dictionaries I have tried

If you have been searching using total stroke counts, there will be a lot more (probably too many) characters in the search results, which obviously makes it harder to find the character you want. (Usually total stroke count searches are only used as a last resort, when you are unable to identify any proper radical within the character - see next paragraph). Plus the total stroke count online dictionaries (or parts thereof) that I've seen haven't seemed very easy to use.

It is much better therefore to search using the usual radical* + other/extra/remaining/residual strokes method.

The radical is most often the left or top of the character. Taking your two characters, the radicals are 艹 and 尸 respectively. Each of these radicals is made up of three strokes ( 一 丨丨 and ¬ 一 丿 ), so you need to look in the three-stroke section of a dictionary's radical chart or list.

Here is the radical table from MDBG: http://www.mdbg.net/...p?page=radicals . Looking through the 3-stroke radicals, you can see that the radical 艹 is almost halfway along the second row of that section, and that the radical 尸 is pretty much in the middle of the first row. Clicking on either will take you to the lists of characters under each, and you can see (here: http://www.mdbg.net/....php?cdqrad=140 , and here: http://www.mdbg.net/...t.php?cdqrad=44 ) that the characters are arranged into numbered subsections; the number in each case tells you how many extra strokes there are (other than the radical every time) in all the characters in that particular subsection. So taking again your two characters, the number of extra strokes in each is 7 and 6 respectively. (You can see and count the strokes here: http://www.nciku.com...4445/%E8%8E%89/ , and here: http://www.nciku.com...chorder/2523/屏/ , but please note that nciku pages can take a while to load!).**

As you don't seem to be familiar with radicals, you should probably start learning them. Broadly speaking there are two radical systems you can learn: the Kangxi system, which has 214 radicals and is apparently well-suited to the traditional (=unsimplified) characters still used in especially Taiwan, "versus" the 189 radicals (or somewhat fewer, give or take a few items depending on which dictionary you choose to use) that it was decided would complement the simplified characters (=characters with fewer strokes) endorsed and promulgated by the mainland PRC government in the latter half of the twentieth century.

The simplified system has fewer redundant or near-redundant radicals in it, and is in my opinion the more systematic and logical (the radical you're seeing in a character is generally the radical you search for!) and thus easier to learn, but innovative dictionaries such as the ABC ECCE and ABC C-E Comprehensive have, by means of their CRC ('Comprehensive Radical Chart'), rearranged and organized the Kangxi radicals into a much more logical, less jumbled and memory-taxing order. (Something similar has been achieved with the development of the Unified radical system, which has 201 radicals).

If you're interested, here are some links giving further information about some of the things mentioned above, or following on from them:

http://www.chinese-f...a-crash-course/ (A course that adds a lot of extra detail and tips to all the above, with the aim of enabling true "speed look-up" of characters. Note the sublink in the first paragraph, that leads to a very detailed guide to the 189 simplified radicals, but to get the most out of that guide I really do recommend that you read the crash course first though!)

http://books.google....=gbs_navlinks_s (Kane's book details the Unified 201-radical system. Do a search for the word 'unified' and/or consult pages 40-42 for the chart)

http://www.chinese-f...post__p__237924 (A detailed review of the ABC ECCE)

http://www.chinese-f...post__p__247321 (All the details of how the traditional characters were simplified, and thus the differences between the two types)

Finally, besides nciku, the following are some sites that give guidance on and/or animations of stroke order:







*A radical is simply that item (or items plural, in modern, well-indexed, less dogmatic dictionaries) which it is felt visually stands out whilst often contributing somewhat to the meaning of the character. Radicals are therefore used to arrange and find characters in the main index of many Chinese dictionaries.

**Here are a few resources that will help you make sense of these extra parts of characters: http://zhongwen.com and http://smarthanzi.net (both good for getting an overview of the phonetic components of characters); http://www.yellowbri...=1&zi=%E5%9C%8B ; http://www.kanjiabc.net/index.cgi .The interesting thing about zhongwen.com (though it's more obvious in Harbaugh's book than online, as the book explicitly uses his 182 字谱 elements as its primary means of indexing and entry) is that (paraphrasing here!) those 182 elements "generalize and extend the radical system to all components whether semantic or phonetic", thus allowing the user more means of looking up and learning the characters than in conventional, "semantically-indexed" Chinese dictionaries (not that most modern conventional dictionaries, especially those published in the West, don't order their actual entries in Pinyin alphabetical order).

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