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Guide to Simplified Radicals

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The recent publication of the ABC ECCE dictionary, which (in addition to its innovative and useful 'Comprehensive Radical Chart') includes an 8-page quite detailed guide to the Kangxi radicals, has in some respects (though not quite all!) made a guide to simplified radicals that I was writing seem a little redundant now, so I've decided to post it online (albeit in gif format) for all to use. (Skip towards the end of this looong post if you want to get straight to the gifs! NB: There is also now a crash course in dictionary look-up skills provided, that was/is designed to lead into the guide to the radicals - see post #17 below).

The work I took to be the prototypical simplified dictionary was/is the Pocket Oxford Chinese Dictionary. (I'm not quite sure what radical system the new, much larger Oxford Chinese Dictionary uses, but I'm assuming it's retained the CASS 189/POCD 188 simplified system). The POCD is still a useful dictionary (especially for those who prefer compound entries to be arranged by head character rather than, as in the ABC dictionaries, arranged by full alphabetical Pinyin string regardless of head character), and there are of course quite a few other dictionaries from western publishers especially (Collins and Langenscheidt/Berlitz, to name but two) that currently continue to use simplified radical systems that are essentially the CASS 189 (give or take a small number of items), but all these publishers, just like Oxford, provide little or no (in fact, usually absolutely zero!) information on the radicals, leaving students having to figure things out for themselves through a long slow process of trial and error. I wrote the guide therefore as an ostensibly one-stop resource to help students more appreciate exactly what they're seeing whenever they're consulting a radical index to find characters, but the guide is actually just a supplement to a larger work that familiarizes the student with the Pinyin alphabet, pronunciation, strokes, writing characters, dictionaries (differing ~ ) and resources generally, and ultimately many of the "phonetic" components of Mandarin characters (though this last IMHO more efficiently than the likes of Wieger, Karlgren, and even Harbaugh...watch this space!) via a quite innovative dictionary that I'm compiling, that uses only those whole phonetic components (rather than radicals and residues, or phonetic total stroke counts etc) to look up characters (i.e. the dictionary asks users to parse away and more or less discard any non-phonetic components - radicals etc. Generally this parsing process is pretty intuitive).

Before going into the details of the guide itself, here are a few general observations about the main differences between the simplified, versus traditional (Kangxi), radical systems: 1) certain traditional radicals have been "demoted" in terms of the simplified system to non-radical status, and thus do not appear anymore as radicals at all, having been reassigned to alternative, hopefully obvious enough simplified radicals (now parts of those traditional radicals), though simplified dictionaries may differ in how exactly they deal with each particular demoted item; and more importantly 2) variant and/or abbreviated forms of traditionally the "same" radical, that thus have long appeared in differing positions in their respective characters, are in the simplified scheme often if not usually treated as distinct forms, and thus each assigned their own individual, logical and appropriate place and number, with cross-references directing the user from previously more complex traditional forms to their current simplified counterparts (whereas the traditional Kangxi system "treats modified and abbreviated forms of radicals as equivalent to primary [i.e. canonical, complex, traditional] forms. For example [Kangxi] radical 85 (shuǐ 'water') includes three-stroke 氵 as well as the primary four-stroke 水. The same convention applies to modern simplifed radicals: radical 149 (yán 'words') includes 讠as well as 言." (ABC ECCE Dictionary, pg 1160, 'Introduction to the Radical Index of Characters')). There isn't space to include all these redirects in the actual guide's 5 gifs below, though the appended radical chart gif in post #14 may well be revised at some point to include such redirects. (The user can however in the meantime consult the chart in post #16 below). (Edit: The least I've now done, though this feature wasn't included in the gifs posted, is indicate the total stroke-counts of certain trickier traditional forms by means of a small number within the brackets containing the form e.g. entry 116 starts thus: 116 龙 (龍 16)). Ultimately the learner will become able to recognize the traditional equivalents from simply seeing them bracketed after and alongside the actual entries in the guide for "just" the simplified forms (which are after all the focus here), and there probably aren't even that many Kangxi users who can offhand be sure about exactly how many strokes there are in items like (韋) and (麥), and/or how to write them.

So the simplified system is probably the easier and more intuitive (the actual form of the radical you're seeing in a character is invariably the exact radical-form that you search for, no more and no less - WYSIWYG, in other words!); in terms of its radicals' initial stroke types, a logical and unjumbled sequence (compared to the jumbled and illogical traditional/Kangxi ordering); less memory-taxing, and less stroke-count heavy; and results in more uniformity of radical versus residue (residue = the non-radical parts of characters) throughout a dictionary's index, which surely aids searching. The main disadvantage on the other hand is that often there are now two radicals and thus sections to look in in a simplified dictionary's index (not that the more well-designed indexes don't have plenty of helpful cross-references and reminders about such things), rather than the one "primary" one in the traditional/Kangxi (but then, it's always a pain having to remember exactly how many strokes there are in the more complicated of the Kangxi primary forms, so there is appreciably more stroke counting, of radical let alone residual strokes, when one is having to work with traditional characters and dictionaries!). The ABC ECCE's CRC (mentioned in the first paragraph above, and as detailed in about the tenth paragraph of a review I wrote: http://www.chinese-f...post__p__237924 ) has however struck a very useful compromise between the simplified and traditional systems, making the ABC ECCE equally useful to those more familiar and comfortable with one or the other system but perhaps not yet quite with both!

Now for some explanation of certain details of the guide itself:

The non-bold underline under certain radical numbers indicates where each section of INITIAL STROKE TYPE ends (and another thus begins following/under it), according to the CASS 189 stroke ordering of 丶 一 丨 丿 乙 ; these underlined breaks should help with establishing/disambiguating and thus learning proper stroke orders (not to mention more quickly locating where exactly the radical lies in the CASS radical chart/ordering and thus index too). Although there are some ambiguities in the CASS system (for example, the 亅 stroke , that is, 竖钩 shùgōu stroke, is, one eventually realizes, treated as just a 竖 shù stroke in 49 小 due to the bracketed variant of 49 being the more frequent item there, versus the obviously clearer treatment of 亅 in 109 水 , but none of that is spelt out to the user), overall this CASS ordering by initial stroke type (and the recursive application thereof) is logical and consistent enough (certainly compared to the Kangxi system say!). Note however that most mainland dictionaries, and modern Kangxi-based but logically-arranged ones such as the ABC, employ an initial and recursive stroke ordering in their indexing called the zhá (札) method, so called because the character 札 zhá contains the first five radicals we are familiar with, but in the following order instead: 一 丨 丿 丶 乙 (so 丶 has moved from 1st to 4th place, but apart from that, the order is the same as in the CASS ordering).

In all, only about 20% of the radical entries need IMHO to provide explicit stroke-order guidance the whole of the way through the item (i.e. beyond the initial stroke types just discussed), with just 2 items whose guidance appears instead in the full package to which this Guide is only an appendix (one learns in the full package that one generally writes certain characters with their "Center before symmetrical slanting sides, so radical 33 忄 isn’t symmetrical, hence its left-to-right stroke order: ′ | ◝ ", and one is directed on page 5 of the Guide to refer to "pp 8-9" [of the full package] and the stroke-order diagrams there for 平 and 里 in relation to the stroke order of 黑 (a little extrapolation is thus required)); then, one is expected to also extrapolate from earlier Guide items when encountering similar items later (for example, between radical 7 冫, for which stroke-order guidance is provided, and radical 32 氵, for which there is none (in the posted gif, at any rate)).

Those who feel they need more stroke guidance than could be supplied (though IMHO there is in fact enough) in the guide, or who want to test themselves on the radicals in a somewhat random order (i.e. in Kangxi order, rather than the logical CASS arrangement by initial stroke-type and actual number of strokes), and thus on not only the radicals' stroke orders but also (by referring back to the guide as and when required) their pronunciations and meanings if used as independent characters, will find the following a reasonably useful and reliable one-stop link: http://commons.wikim...ke_order_images . Those interested in reading further about stroke names and classifications should consult http://en.wikipedia....r%29#References , especially the Wenlin pdf.

Note that the colon used in the Pinyin of some of the colloquial~descriptive Chinese names for the radicals is not standard Pinyin orthography but merely an innovation that may be of use or interest to learners. Details of this feature are given in the first, asterisked footnote in each gif, and there is some discussion of it in posts 9-13 below.

There are two radical(-character)s, 36 and 61, that have no colon within the Pinyin for their descriptive/colloquial Chinese names, nor an asterisk at the end of that Pinyin, because these two names can be traced back to traditional hanzi (given as always in brackets, following the >> symbols in the entries) in which they are component parts. Note also there there wasn't space in the entry for 36 to supply hanzi for the radical's name, but as the formula will have already been encountered by the reader (assuming they are working through the guide systematically) several times by this point, and just such a formula indeed appears right above entry 36 in entry 35, this shouldn't be a problem! Then, there is no actual dictionary-style definition supplied for the "character entry" following the >> symbols in entry 36 (or in entry 37 either, and perhaps one or two other entries here and there), but at least the Pinyin is supplied for the character, so the reader will be able to look it up quite easily, and besides, there is in any case the English mnemonic name to extrapolate from anyway! (See next paragraph).

The bold underlined English names that I've assigned to the radicals are for the most part pretty conventional, but I've sometimes chosen names that to me personally made more mnemonic sense across the range of characters they head than the names usually given in other works. IIRC, T.K.Ann's Cracking the Chinese Puzzles provided the inspiration for the names chosen for at least radicals 60 and 160 (which here thus have names that differ quite considerably from the conventional ones). Regarding why there are scare quotes around the word 'etymological' (thus: "etymological"-mnemonic) in the introductory paragraph at the start of the guide, please see: http://languagelog.l...edu/nll/?p=2910

For the sake of comprehensiveness, radicals that can be or have been independent characters, but are not listed in the POCD, are in the guide given in brackets thus (>> X); bear in mind however that such radical-characters, even as listed in the Xinhua (obviously a more comprehensive zidian, character dictionary, versus the POCD cidian, "word" dictionary), often seem too monosyllabic and/or indeed archaic a notion (or too monosyllabic and/or archaic a way of nowadays expressing the notion concerned). Very occasionally, constraints of space (and as ever, considerations of relevancy) have forced me to opt to omit information that would otherwise at least have been supplied bracketed: for example, the Xinhua states radical 54 彳 is chì (which is the 'left step' of the left step-right step of chìchù 彳 亍 walk slowly (wenyan)), but there isn't really space for any of that in the guide's entry line for this radical; then, radical 14 卜 bǔ can, when read as and substituting for the complex character 蔔 bo, as in húluóbo 胡蘿蔔/胡萝卜 and 蘿蔔/萝卜 luóbo, add its bit to their respective meanings of 'carrot' and 'radish/turnip', but again, issues of space and relevancy (especially when 紅蘿蔔/红萝卜 hóngluóbo can, according to the ABC ECCE, be both 'carrot' and 'radish'!) meant this information ultimately had to be excluded. (NB: For those perhaps now worrying slightly about their vegetable vocabulary, I'd suggest calling carrots huluobo, turnips wujing or manjing, radishes xiaoluobo, and the big Japanese daikon-like radishes bailuobo LOL).

When a radical-character has more than one pronunciation (which may just be a matter of a difference in tone rather than syllable), and one of those pronunciations is the more frequent and useful, this is indicated by Pinyin in bold font; when however two pronunciations are given but neither is bolded, the reader can then assume that both pronunciations/meanings are equally important.

The "positional" information meanwhile relates specifically to the POCD's index/contents, though I have taken care to provide descriptions that also tally with the often appreciably larger number of characters listed in works such as the Xinhua. This information is generally verbal in form, as students should ultimately be looking in an actual radical index to fully familiarize themselves with exact form(s) and position(s), and providing only non-verbal information (in the form of the radical in example characters) may be a bit of a waste of time if the student isn't always quite processing what they are seeing (but obviously in some "harder to visualize" cases, representative hanzi should be and here are given to complement the verbal description, especially when the radical may change quite significantly in shape and size when part of certain characters). Whenever more than one position is stated, the order given is from most to least frequent position (e.g. radical 26 can be 'Right side, base, or top', with 'right side' the most frequent position for this radical, and 'top' its least frequent position). Where it might aid intelligibility, semicolons rather than plain commas are sometimes used to help more clearly delineate the stated positions.

The Cf: ('compare') notes are at their most useful when helping to remind certainly the beginner of those radicals that can become subsumed as part of larger radicals (the larger radicals all build downwards from the smaller) - for example, 36 广 is no longer the radical in characters such as 摩 , 磨 and 魔 (and indeed 麻 itself) because all those characters have 麻 (184) as their radical. (One could try to argue that they have 麻 as their radical instead of 广 , but that is not a historically-informed argument, and one that in practice has to depend on the likes of the New Nelson Japanese-English Character Dictionary's 'Universal Radical Index', which is a whopping and weighty 230 pages long). Less usefully, the Cf notes sometimes relate only to the larger radical-character being immediately compared (such items are thus marked/immediately followed with a small bold i, meaning 'itself' (see footnote marked + at very end of post!)), and do not relate to (m)any of the other characters to be found in that larger radical's section of the index...so while a beginner might conceivably believe 17 八 to be the radical in 谷 (though actually 谷 is radical-character 166), or perhaps even believe 50 口 to be the radical in the "gapless" 足 (actually radical-character 164), absolutely nobody could make the same mistakes regarding what the radicals should be in (m)any of the rest of the characters found in sections 166 and 164 (e.g. 豁 , and 跑 and 路 , respectively); ultimately (and perhaps quite obviously now to some) this is basically due to the left-right (or right-left) arrangement of the radicals and their residues in these latter, less useful Cf notes (versus the vertically-arranged, downwards-building and subsuming nature of the aforementioned, more useful Cf notes). Note that all the items compared consist of two or more strokes - there would be no end of comparisons if items were compared from a one/initial-stroke basis onwards! There are however items that consist of more than one stroke that are not compared, because to do so could appear to conflict with proper stroke order and lead to confusion; so for example, 7 冫 is not compared with 112 疒 because 广 is written before 冫 in 疒 , all of which ties in furthermore with the general "building downwards" principle of comparison mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph.

The works that I consulted in compiling the guide are as follows (with my primary resources indicated by an asterisk):

Ann, T.K: Cracking the Chinese Puzzles (Abridged edition). Stockflows Co., Hong Kong 1985.
Chinese Character Exercise Book for Practical Chinese Reader Book I. The Commerical Press, Beijing 1982.
Chinese Characters: Unsimplified, Simplified, plus Pinyin Romanization. Foreign Languages Press, Beijing 1985.
A Chinese-English Dictionary (Han-Ying Cidian). The Commerical Press, Beijing 1978.
Concise English-Chinese/Chinese-English Dictionary. Oxford University Press/The Commercial Press, Hong Kong/Beijing 1986.
*DeFrancis, J: ABC Chinese-English Dictionary (Pocket edition). Curzon, Richmond 1999.
*Far East Chinese-English Dictionary. Far East Book Co., Taipei 1996.
Foerster, A & Tamura, N: Kanji ABC. Charles E.Tuttle, Rutland & Tokyo 1994.
Habein, Y & Mathias, G: The Complete Guide to Everyday Kanji. Kodansha International, Tokyo 1991.
*Hadamitzky, W & Spahn, M: Kanji & Kana. Charles E.Tuttle, Rutland & Tokyo 1981.
Halpern, J: NTC’s New Japanese-English Character Dictionary. NTC, Chicago 1993.
Harbaugh, R: Chinese Characters: A Genealogy and Dictionary. (Yale University Press 2009 impression).
*Karlgren, B: Analytic Dictionary of Chinese and Sino-Japanese. Dover Publications reprint, New York 1991.
Langenscheidt Pocket Dictionary Chinese. Berlin 2001.
Mathews' Chinese-English Dictionary. Harvard University Press reprint, 2000.
*A New Chinese-English Dictionary (Xinbian Xinhua Zidian). Hainan Chubanshe, Haikou 1993.
*Pocket Oxford Chinese Dictionary. Oxford University Press (China), Hong Kong 1999 ~ .
A Reverse Chinese-English Dictionary. The Commercial Press, Beijing 1993.
*T’ung, P.C: Character Text for Colloquial Chinese (Full-form character version). Hong Kong 1982.
*Wieger, L: Chinese Characters. Dover Publications reprint, New York 1965.
*Yin, Binyong & Rohsenhow, J: Modern Chinese Characters. Sinolingua, Beijing 1994.

Online resources such as zhongwen.com, nciku, and MDBG also proved useful.

Unfortunately (obviously!) the ABC ECCE came too late to be a resource, though it has provided a few final, last-minute details not found elsewhere (for example, the colloquial name of 'shanzidi' for the radical 凵 (number 29)); then, Harbaugh's work would've been very useful to have in book rather than online form (I necessarily have to do a lot of this lexicographicy work offline, as many resources are only available in paper rather than electronic format, besides which, I sometimes simply had no access to the internet whilst completing the guide!), but I unfortunately couldn't afford to buy it until the guide was nearing completion, and therefore had to rely mainly on Wieger or Karlgren for "etymological" information, and those two works are quite dated (e.g. no Pinyin!), and less well-indexed and thus harder and slower to use than Harbaugh (though their saving grace is that they have the size and space to often provide a fair bit more detail). Many people would however most likely prefer to consult the online version of Harbaugh's book, and probably Wieger's too, which can be found at zhongwen.com and smarthanzi.net respectively.

Here then is the 5-page guide in gif format:

post-35117-071772300 1313011917_thumb.gifpost-35117-078334300 1313011940_thumb.gifpost-35117-000358500 1313017250_thumb.gifpost-35117-009688600 1313011972_thumb.gifpost-35117-029064500 1313011983_thumb.gif

The links from page 5 are: http://tinyurl.com/32r6wet and http://languagelog.l...edu/nll/?p=1811 .

1) Two completely new Cf. items have been added to entry 11, which should now read:
11 十 >> 十shí, ten. Most to least frequent positions: top, base, top-left, left. Cf: 40 土i 157 赤i .

2) Quite a few more Cf. items have been added to entry 17, which should now read:
17 八 (丷) >> 八 bā, eight. Both top, but only first base. Cf: 49 小 94 父 117 业 133 羊 134 米 166 谷 i.

3) Entry 18 now has two Cf. items:
18 人 (入) >> 人 rén, person, people; 入 rù, enter. Usually top, as ^ (E). Cf: 174 金i 180 食i -> 19.

4) Entries 27 and 28 now point out that these radicals are counted as 3 rather than 2 strokes in the Kangxi system; they should therefore now read:
27 阝(L) zuǒ’ěrduo (左 耳 朵 ), "left ear". Mound. Always left side. 3 strokes (a form of 阜 ) in Kangxi.
28 阝(R ) yòu’ěrduo (右 耳 朵 ), "right ear". Built-up area. Always right side. 3 strokes (a form of 邑 ) in Kangxi.
Note that the "-blade" has been removed from both these entries (with the corollary that the "-blade" in the preceding entry 26 can there be retained in a way, cf. the alternative names of 双耳旁 (在左) shuāng'ěrpáng (zàizuǒ) and 双耳旁 (在右) shuāng'ěrpáng (zàiyòu) for 27 and 28 respectively, but would then be better translated in 26 as "-lobe" (as opposed to the clearly more visually "whole" ears that 27 and 28 are!)).

5) Entry 33 now has a small bracketed note comparing its variant to radical 49, and thus now reads:
▪33 忄(variant) shùxīn:páng* (竖 心 旁 ),“side vertical heart”. Left only! Variant, base x2 (cf: 49) -> 76.

6) Entry 82 now explicitly gives information (i.e. 狗 gǒu, the more colloquial word for 'dog') that was only implied before. It therefore now reads:
82 犬 >> 犬 quǎn, dog (literary, vs. 狗 gǒu). This larger form of the ‘dog’ radical not on left -> 58.

7) Entry 96 has had the following added: Note variant in 拜 and 掰 ends in 丿piě, not亅 shùgōu.


8 ) Entry 171 should've included the jī reading of 基. It now reads:

171 其 clear and regular >> 其 jī, basis etc; qí (a sort of pronoun - see POCD). Top x2, left x3.



Here are some of the radicals whose colloquial names didn't quite make it into the guide for a variety of reasons (space and/or perceived irrelevance, especially in the case of quite rare/unused radicals):

14 卜 shàngzìtóu (上字头) (presumably only when the second stroke is level, and with the whole as the top part of a character; otherwise, bǔzì: páng* (卜字旁))
17's bracketed variant, (\ /), can be called lánzìtóu (兰字头)
23 厶 sīzìr (私字儿) or sīzìtóu (私字头), though both seem illogical until one reads between the lines of the guide's entry, and footnote (F)
42's bracketed variant, (\l/), can be called guāngzìtóu (光字头)
44 廾 nòngzìdǐ (弄字底)
45 尢 yòuzìpáng (尤字旁) or yòuzìshēn (尤字身)
47 弋 shìzìkuàng (式字框)
57 夂 zhéwénr (折文儿)
66 幺 yòuzìpáng (幼字旁)
99 攵 fǎnwén:páng* (反文旁)
102's bracketed variant, (爫), can be called cǎizìtóu (采字头)
133's first bracketed variant can be called piěwěiyáng (撇尾羊), whilst the second can be called tūwěiyáng (秃尾羊) or yángzì:tóu* (yángzìtóu?) (羊字头)
(For others, perhaps consult http://blog.nciku.co...al-information/ and http://mandarinposte...ence/#googledoc )



For the purposes of comparison and comprehensiveness, here are a few brief notes about how the CASS 189/POCD 188 simplified radicals compare to the 214 traditional Kangxi radicals: 1) Note especially that CASS/POCD radicals 117 业 and 171 其 have no Kangxi equivalents; 2) The following Kangxi radicals (given in their traditional order, and with stroke count and Kangxi number separated by a dash, and followed by their traditional Chinese names (note that some of these names are no longer used much)) on the whole have no real equivalent simplified radicals (but as and when general characters though, they are usually still in use, and as explained in the third paragraph above, may have therefore been "reassigned to alternative, hopefully obvious enough simplified radicals [now parts of those traditional radical-characters], though simplified dictionaries may differ in how exactly they deal with each particular demoted item"):

1-06 亅 stroke-componentially is shùgōu (vs. shùtí), but also called yīgōu
2-21 匕 bǐ, spoon
3-35 夊 suī, go slowly (more or less a redundant form, effectively ousted by Kangxi 34 (CASS/POCD 57))
3-47 川 chuān, river (but see CASS/POCD 70)
3-51 干 gān, shield
4-65 支 zhī, branch
4-71 无 wú, not
4-83 氏 shì, clan
4-89 爻 yáo, I Ching lines; interconnected
4-92 牙 yá, tooth
5-95 玄 xuán, dark, obscure
5-96 玉 yù, jade
5-99 甘 gān, sweet
5-100 生 shēng, give birth
5-105 癶 bō, back-to-back, legs out; "tent"
5-114 禸 róu, footprint
6-122 网 wǎng, net (but see CASS/POCD 120)
6-126 而 ér, moreover
6-130 肉 ròu, meat (but see CASS/POCD 103)
6-133 至 zhì, arrive, reach
6-136 舛 chuǎn, oppose, deviate, err
6-139 色 sè, colour, hue
6-144 行 xíng, walk, go (but see CASS/POCD 54)
8-168 長 镸 cháng, long (but see CASS 184/POCD 183)
8-171 隶 lì, dài, subservient
8-175 非 fēi, not, non-
9-176 面 miàn, face
9-179 韭 jiǔ, leeks
9-183 飛 fēi, fly high
9-185 首 shǒu, head
9-186 香 xiāng, fragrant
10-189 高 gāo, tall, high
10-192 鬯 chàng, sacrificial wine
10-193 鬲 lì, tripod steam cooker
12-201 黃 huáng, yellow
12-202 黍 shǔ, glutinous millet
12-204 黹 zhǐ, embroidery
13-205 黽 měng, frog, toad (CASS 174 黾, but not in POCD)
13-206 鼎 dǐng, bronze cauldron
13-207 鼓 gǔ, drum
14-210 齊 qí, neat, even, uniform
16-213 龜 guī, turtle, tortoise
17-214 龠 yuè, panpipe, flute

It should be easy enough (if one wants) to add these Kangxi radicals by hand in the margins of printouts of the above gifs; the exact position will obviously depend on 1) the total number of strokes in each item, and 2) the type of initial stroke in each item (according to the CASS 丶 一 丨 丿 乙 ordering) and the the recursive application thereof. Readers might also like to consult http://www.chinese-f...post__p__205910 (the first half of a CASS/POCD < > Kangxi conversion chart).


Lastly, any comments (observations, corrections etc) are always welcome! :)

+A bracketed i meanwhile means that although that item itself is probably going to be the main source of any potential confusion, there is at least one other item, and possibly a few other items plural in that radical's index section, that should perhaps also be noted.

Guide to Simplified Radicals 5.gif

Guide to Simplified Radicals 4.gif

Guide to Simplified Radicals 3.gif

Guide to Simplified Radicals 2.gif

Guide to Simplified Radicals 1.gif

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Wow. Looks like a lot of work! Thanks for sharing. Any way we could persuade you to put a non-image version online? Would be helpful. Whether text or image, this is much better than the guides I've been using.

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Heh, you're welcome, Trevor! It took perhaps a few months to roughly complete, though I've been tinkering with details here and there ever since! (One concern was that I wanted it to be A4 format, which I reckon is a good size for these sorts of "notes/handouts for students", and with only a line at most per radical main entry). I might eventually supply the Word version, but I suppose there's still a small part of me that wonders if there is much value (ultimately monetary I guess :oops: (sh) ) in any of this stuff I'm writing, and the positive comments ('much better than the guides I've been using') aren't helping!;):) And it could eat me up a bit if I one day discovered somebody claiming to be me Gharial (and thus having cashed in by simply whipping the Word document), but "somehow" driving a flash car past my humble cardboard box home and straight into their luxury condominium's garage. :shock::lol: I will however, within hopefully the next month or two, be posting a Word version of a Pinyin index that I'm compiling for T.K. Ann's Cracking the Chinese Puzzles, if that's any consolation! :D

Judging from a few tests I've just tried, one thing you can do to slightly increase the size of the "font" (if and when printing, and assuming you haven't tried this already) is copy and paste the gif into Word and then print that document page, rather than just e.g. the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer's so-called "Actual Size" preview of the gif, but on the other hand, printing via the WPFV preview does seem to provide somewhat sharper resolution due to its slightly smaller print size. (I guess I have pretty good eyesight for my age - nearing 40 - because I can read even these gifs printed out slightly fuzzy no problem and without glasses. :ph34r: I appreciate though that for a relative beginner, some of the characters might be a bit indecipherable in this non-zoomable format (and there may be one or two that I forgot to convert to SimSun before making the gifs)).

Anyway, I'd still recommend you (and whoever else might be reading this) take a look (if you haven't already!) at the ABC ECCE, because it has so much going for it besides its (Kangxi) radical guide. (See my review, that I mentioned earlier! :wink: )

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Haha. As far as not wanting to give it away for free, I know EXACTLY what you mean. I just finished creating an ebook (check out the right-hand column on trevorschinesereader.com) and I'm trying to sell it online (there's a 20-page preview of the 165 page pdf available for free). I've spent a good bit of time (read:way too much time) putting it together and I've thought about just being benevolent and giving it away for free, but I can't bring myself to do it. Too much emotionally invested I guess.

Anyway, keep up the good work and good luck on getting some money (or fame, glory, etc) from all your hard work! If nothing else, hopefully you've improved your Chinese in the process. That's what I keep telling myself! ;)

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

Thanks for sharing, I know it takes a lot of time to write up such materials. For radicals I remember reading quite an interesting book back in the day, you might be interested in taking a look at it.

"The Most Common Chinese Radicals - New Approaches to Learning Chinese"

Also you might be interested in this IT tip. Different image types are appropriate for different images.

JPG - Many colours - usually photographs.

GIF - Less than 256 colours - usually diagrams, cartoons or even text. (Also supports transparency)

PNG - Good for almost anything (supports transparency).

For your first image:

JPG size: 817 KB

GIF size: 114 KB

PNG size: 637 KB

So here with only 2 colours, I'd definately recommend GIF format.

post-39165-034502400 1309476775_thumb.gif

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Many thanks for the IT tips, Matty! I've now been able to refit all 5 images into the first post (whereas before I could only refit 2 revised jpegs, seeing as the upload limit kicked in with a vengeance once there were replies to my OP). I'd seen gifs here and there online, but hadn't realized how much more efficient they are! Anyway, thanks again, as it's really helped make the thread less cluttered. :clap:)

The book you've mentioned sounds very good (going by the following review: http://www.amazon.com/review/RE09RUW1N4ZC9/ref=cm_cr_dp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=7800525767&nodeID=283155&tag=&linkCode= ), but I wonder how comprehensive it is (i.e. how many radicals does it count as "the most common"?), and personally I've never really needed much "pictorial" guidance beyond a few representative examples charting the evolution from bone shell to kaishu (mnemonics though are another matter). As for its alphabetical ordering of the radicals by their Pinyin (full colloquial names in Pinyin, or just the Pinyin of the syllable for each radical that is an actual independent character?), I'd've thought that ordering by English mnemonic name would've been more logical, not that either Pinyin or English ordering would actually build conventional Chinese dictionary look-up skills (which is something that I've written a very thorough package for)...still, the book apparently does have a radical index and offers at least some guidance (but merely "a page") on how to use one (it isn't all just about knowing the radicals, though obviously that helps!).

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A quick poll-like question: do you think the colon that I've inserted into the colloquial names for certain "-zi-" radicals (9, 37, 49 etc) should come before or after the 'zi' within those names? For example, should the name be given as yan:zipang or yanzi:pang? (If you still aren't sure what I'm talking about, please refer back to the asterisked footnote at the bottom of the first gif in post #1 above).

I used to give these as yanzi:pang, but changed to yan:zipang for some reason (probably in order to "distinguish" them moreso, or so I theorized, from the 6, 8, 13/wenzitou, tubaogair, jiangzikuang variety). Now however I'm inclined to go back to the original yanzi:pang style, as that seems to fit in better with the overall syllabic structure of the radical names generally.

Any thoughts or opinions? (Other than "Does it really matter?!" LOL).

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The way I parse these things in Chinese is 言字 旁, 木字 旁, 宝盖 头, 草字 头 etc. Whether that's correct or not I don't know and it's probably best to wait for input from a native speaker, but that's how I think of them anyway.

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Thanks for the reply, Imron. I don't think there's much doubt that the non-asterisked radical names (such as wenzi tou 文字 头, caozi tou 草字 头 etc) are parsed that way, as the tou's or kuang's or whatever are clearly part of the character thus being invoked. (I guess a totally-explicit paraphrase could run something like "文,那个汉字,的头"). Regarding the asterisked ones though, I was thinking that the position of the colon within them might be more a question for learners actually than native speakers. (That is, do they prefer the look-sound of e.g. 'yanzizaipang/yanzi:pang', or of 'yanzaizipang/yan:zipang', and if the latter, why? Is it more of a contrast with the true 'part-of-a-character-derived' names? And does the separated zi of the pinyin help make it clear that it is 'yan zai "biede" zi [de] pang'? etc).

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言字旁 = 言字为旁 (and not 言为字旁), i.e. the pang2 [derived from/consisting of] the characters 言

So I'd say yanzi pang is the more natural parsing.

The idea isn't the same as 草字头 (= 草字之头), of course, but the parsing ends up the same.

Is it more of a contrast with the true 'part-of-a-character-derived' names? And does the separated zi of the pinyin help make it clear that it is "yan zai biede zi [de] pang"? etc).

I don't really see the point of trying to bring such a distinction across via the pinyin. You could just mark the ones with an asterisk (as you've done) to indicate they use the entire character and not just a part of it.

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Thanks also for the reply, Creamyhorror, it was pretty helpful! I think then that I'm going to go back to the parsing that I had originally (see here: http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/23999-syllables-tones-and-graphs-megamix/page__view__findpost__p__198463 ), that is, keep the colon (what harm does it do LOL) but change its position to what it was before, whilst probably adding (though I know this isn't quite what you said!) that the colon can be viewed not only as zai4 but also as wei2 (I mean, it is easier/less intrusive to include a mere colon in the pinyin of the actual radical name, and refer the reader to the brief footnote that there is currently, than e.g. explicitly have an extra syllable in an explanatory paraphrase). Anyway, hopefully this will be the very last time I "need" to repost the gifs ROFL! B) :) (Edit: Reposted 'em just now, with the colons repositioned and a bunch of other little alterations here and there. One of the main additions has been including the variants of radical-stroke 5, along with a new footnote regarding them (B ). Those interested in reading more about stroke names/classification should try here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stroke_%28CJK_character%29#References , especially the Wenlin pdf. (This is the sort of stuff that I went into in more depth in the full package that this radical guide is just a mere supplement to...unfortunately there is only so much that can be fitted into a 5-page supplement as a freebie! :P )).

Thanks once again, guys! :)

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  • 1 month later...

Hey, I'm glad you liked my advice before, and I'm glad to see you keep contributing.

For your last contribution, I think it would look great if it was written up in excel with column spacing, then remove the borders before screen shotting it. I think it would look much better.

Keep up the great work!

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Thanks once again for the feedback and tech advice, Matty! It would be interesting to try (re)creating it in Excel, as I'd like to become more familiar with that than I currently am, but I probably won't have the time to do so for a while yet, so onto the back-burner that project will have to go for the time being! 8):wink: Or, one could simply use the following LOL (seeing as it contains a fair number of (A) 见B cross-references, though it would be better if they directed the user simply to numbers rather than to graphic forms, as graphic forms necessitate further stroke counting, scanning the chart again etc, which all adds to the eye strain!). Note however that both the second, bracketed 食 in the 食(食见饣) of this chart's entry 181, and the bracketed 食 at its entry 59, should in fact each be rather the eight-stroke variant as listed between its entries 174 and 175.

post-35117-018448200 1313013353_thumb.jpg

By the way, if you (or anyone else!) spots any variant forms that I might've missed for the radicals, please tell me and I'll see about adding them to certainly the original gifs. :) (So far I've added at least a few more variants than were included in the Oxford's radical chart!).

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  • 2 months later...

Hello Gharial

For Anyone Interest

I have collated the information you posted as "Crash Course" and "Simplified Radicals" as downloadable

Word 2003 documents with Gif's in the same location here: Crash Course Topic to keep them together.

"Crash Course" and "Simplified Radicals" Download Link Here




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