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Gharial

Locating 龍 in simplified dictionaries

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Gharial

I've looked under every conceivable alternative radical section in the indexes of my Oxford and Xinhua dictionaries, but the character 龍 only seems to be listed under 龙, which would be of absolutely no help to a beginner using such dictionaries to look up the traditional form (unless they knew that 龍 was/used to itself be a radical, and thus checked in the radical chart and found the redirect from 龍 to 龙).

Have I missed something, or is this a genuine oversight on the part of these dictionaries' compilers? And are there any other traditional (radical-)characters that are difficult if not impossible to look up in these simplified dictionaries that claim to also include and cater for traditional characters too?

Even the ABC ECCE (more a Kangxi-based than a simplified dictionary), with its excellent indexes, doesn't seem to allow one to look up 龍 under anything other than 龍, but one can as a last or indeed a first resort find it under the 16-stroke characters beginning with the 丶 stroke in the ABC ECCE's handy total stroke-count index - a feature unfortunately lacking in dictionaries like the Oxford or Xinhua.

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fanglu

Isn't 龍 a Kangxi radical? If so, isn't it logical (albeit unhelpful) that you can only look up 龍 under 龍?

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jbradfor

I'm missing something -- why would you expect a simplified dictionary to have a traditional character? If you want to look up a traditional character, wouldn't you expect to use a traditional dictionary? Is 龙 in traditional dictionaries, for example? It's not in http://dict.revised.moe.edu.tw, for example.

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Hofmann

Maybe one would start looking for it under 尢...if they're not familiar with the radicals used by those dictionaries.

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Gharial

@Fanglu: Yes, one would look, in an unhelpful, dogmatically traditional (Kangxi-based and loyal!) dictionary, under 龍 for 龍, but one would expect less dogmatic, simplified dictionaries to allow for a variety of ways to look up characters (whether simplified or traditional - note that I'm talking about "these simplified dictionaries that claim to also include and cater for traditional characters too"), and this is what dictionaries like the Oxford or Xinhua indeed allow, except it seems in the case of 龍. A simplified dictionary obviously doesn't have an actual radical section for 龍 (though it does for 龙, where 龍 will usually be supplied bracketed as a variant header and as an actual character in the radical section's list of characters, if not have a cross-reference from the radical chart's 16- to 5-stroke radicals, for the user who knows to look there - see for example the chart here: http://www.chinese-f...post__p__255354 ), which is, as you can hopefully now see, a bit of a problem, if that simplified dictionary doesn't provide users ( ~ unfamiliar with the traditional versus simplified forms and look-up conventions) with any real alternative means to look up 龍! (E.g: 丶+ 15 residual strokes, or 亠 + 14 strokes, or 月 + 12 strokes, or 立 + 11 strokes).

@Jbradfor: The beauty of dictionaries like the Oxford (Concise/Pocket/Desk) and Xinhua, compared to dictionaries like the Far East (which only allows actual look up of just traditional forms), is (as I've just made hopefully clearer to Fanglu) that they usually allow/should allow one to look up traditional characters as well as simplified - the Oxford for example allows one to look up (這) (過) (進) (運) (達) (違) (遠) etc besides 这 过 进 运 达 违 远 etc respectively, in the radical 38 辶 section. (Hmm, that should actually be the 3-stroke rather than 4-stroke variant of that radical, must be something wrong with the forum conversion, or my font display (which I've yet to 100% sort out, re. your computing advice on that other thread. Will get around to that soon though and report back, thanks for the help!)).

@Hofmann: None of the dictionaries I've mentioned (nor the Far East, or Harbaugh, two Kangxi-based dictionaries) lists 龍 under 尢. (You probably meant 龙 rather than 龍 though, in which case you might be interested to know that in terms of simplified rather than traditional radical-characters, both the ABC ECCE and my guide to simplified radicals direct the user to compare 尢 with certainly 龙 itself).

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Hofmann

Right, I thought you were talking about looking up 龙. I guess nobody who doesn't already know the relationship between 龍 and 龙 would look for 龍 under 龙. More like 肉 or something.

And the appearance of 辶 depends on the fonts installed on your system and your browser settings.

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Gharial

Well, I tried looking up 龍 under 丶 亠 立 and 月 in the Oxford and Xinhua, and like I say, no joy! So unless one knew its relation to 龙, one would be stuffed!

Just out of interest regarding the fonts: in the bracketed traditional versus unbracketed simplified character example look-ups I mentioned from the Oxford's radical 38 section, the simplified forms of yun and da, and the lone radical itself, are the three items that display the 4-stroke rather than the standard/modern 3-stroke font for the radical part. Anyone else getting/seeing that, or is it just my shonky PC and its fonts and browser settings? LOL.

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jbradfor

Look at http://unicode.org/c...ist/n_2E80.html, and search for 辶. On my browser, I see three different versions.

2ECC ⻌ Cjk Radical Simplified Walk →8FB6 辶

2ECD ⻍ Cjk Radical Walk One →8FB6 辶

2ECE ⻎ Cjk Radical Walk Two →8FB6 辶

Then, for grins, I looked up the last one (8FB6), and it looks nothing like "The Unicode Standard". Sigh.

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imron
Well, I tried looking up 龍 under 丶 亠 月 and 立 in the Oxford and Xinhua, and like I say, no joy! So unless one knew 龙, one would be stuffed!

Does your dictionary have a lookup section for 'complicated' radicals (usually comes right after the main radical lookup section)? I know my Xiandai Hanyu Cidian does, but I don't have it handy at the moment so I couldn't tell you if 龍 was listed there.

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Gharial

@WestTexas: MDBG is a great resource for sure, but it doesn't provide any look up options (when one actually checks) beyond the radical(s) 龍/龙, so again, it becomes a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem for the "uninformed" user. (One could of course use the 'Handwriting Input' function, but that starts reducing the look-up speed down towards that of a paper dictionary, which rather defeats the purpose of using an electronic one! Plus one has to be pretty accurate with proper stroke order in MBDG, from what I recall). I note however that the presumably Chinese non-standard (more Japanese IIRC) character 竜 is supplied in the MDBG's 立 radical section, and that the user might just stumble (like they might with the paper dictionaries I've been using) through sheer luck upon e.g. 朧 from consulting the http://www.mdbg.net/...t.php?cdqrad=74 section, which would give them the Pinyin with which to "phonetically"-speaking roughly locate the actual entry for 龍/龙 in any Pinyin-ordered dictionary or look-up.

@Imron: My Xinhua does indeed have a 难检字笔画索引, but this unfortunately doesn't include 龍 (or even 龙). Of all my dictionaries, it seems that only the Far East includes 龍 in the 16-stroke section of a (its) 難字檢查表, but then, the Far East is very much a traditional, Kangxi-based dictionary!

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daveonhols

Curious, if it lets you look up traditional characters, what radical do eg. 紅 and 給 come under? The traditional or simplified radical? My guess is that it only lists characters under the simplified radical, maybe it mentions the traditional radicals in brackets at the same time? Your point about 這 and 過 is probably different because the radical itself is not changed.

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Gharial

Hello again Dave!

糹on the left is standardly simplified to 纟, as a look at the radical chart(s) and gif Guide entry for CASS/POCD radical 68 in my 'Guide to Simplified Radicals' thread will show you. There is therefore no need for primarily simplified dictionaries such as the POCD to explicitly list the traditional equivalents of characters with these sorts of radicals, unless there is a difference in the non-radical/residual parts of the characters (for example, 练(練)); the ABC ECCE however (being indexically a Kangxi-based and very thorough dictionary) ensures that it lists each and every traditional versus simplified form even when there is no difference other than in the form of the radical, so in its index one will find both 红 and 紅, 给 and 給, etc, the traditional form in each case unbracketed and immediately following the simplified. (The traditional forms are given within square brackets in the ABC ECCE's actual C-E entries though).

When however the 'silk thread' radical appears as the base of characters, it retains its complex form (I presume this is to do with aesthetics of it then needing proper width to support what's above it - see the page 6 gif of that 'crash course' I wrote) and is thus given a different entry (entry 152) in the simplified scheme (as shown by the -> arrows directing between the related entries in my Guide; note also that Radical 152 can be an independent character, but radical 68 cannot).

The traditional Kangxi scheme on the other hand (as you probably know) lumps in every instance of a radical together regardless of position and appearance (whereas in the simplified system, WYSIWYG: the radical you're seeing in a character is generally the radical you search for, although this does of course mean that you need to quickly become au fait with the division of "the" radical into its now separate entries...but it's probably easier to do this than on the other hand to remember in the Kangxi system that variant forms need to be looked for under a single, canonical form that one was, before the advent of the ABC dictionaries' very helpful Comprehensive Radical Chart, always needing to recall the exact stroke count and thus location of! (Assuming one could never remember the Kangxi radical numbers LOL)).

Your point about 這 and 過 is probably different because the radical itself is not changed

You mean different to 龙 versus (龍), right? LOL (That is, I've now answered your question about recurrent-part radicals that are standardly simplified, which seemed ultimately a bit of a distraction, to be honest).

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daveonhols

With respect I don't think i need you to tell me all of this. I thought the purpose of this thread is that you don't understand why 龍 is listed under 龙 in your simplified dictionary. In that case I am saying it is because your simplified dictionary lists traditional characters, but only under the simplified version of the radical, hence my point about 紅 and 給.

FWIW my opinion on looking up traditional characters in a simplified dictionary is that either indicates an advanced user who knows what they are doing and can find it, or a very confused beginner who needs to ask their teacher for help. Sometimes a dictionary is just a ... dictionary, as opposed to a tool to help beginners learn Chinese.

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Gharial

Sorry Dave, I interpreted your question as in part a genuine one as you didn't seem too familiar with the index of the Oxford (so I thought as a bonus I'd say a little more about the ABC ECCE's also). As for this sort of omission or oversight (and I think it can be called that) I've found in these simplified dictionaries, IMHO that is a flaw in the dictionaries rather than the user, and I certainly wouldn't say that a beginner would be "very confused" for not having noted or remembered every traditional to simplified redirect in the radical chart before trying to look up a particular traditional radical-character. (Me, I guess I'm an "advanced user" who's simply curious about how flexible indexes are or could be). Anyway, these simplified dictionaries are certainly better indexically than dictionaries such as the Far East (the copy I have is entitled 远东汉英大辞典(简明本)), that provide no simplified characters at all in their indexes. (That's just another friendly, eminently ignorable tip by the way, should you or anyone else reading this have been about to buy the Far East "unaware"!).

I thought the purpose of this thread is that you don't understand why 龍 is listed under 龙 in your simplified dictionary.

Of course I understand that 龍 is listed under 龙 (that is [the] one place it should definitely be!). I wouldn't have started (indeed been able to start!) the thread otherwise. My question was rather why the traditional form isn't (or shouldn't/couldn't be) listed in any other place than under 龙 in the index (meaning, a beginner will need to be very familiar with the radical chart and its redirects to stand any chance of getting from seeing the character 龍 out and about, to finding it in these simplified dictionaries that "include", but arguably aren't fully "inclusive" of, quite yet fully catering for, traditional characters and their look-up). And the usual answer "There isn't space" doesn't cut it, IMHO. (I mean, we wouldn't be talking about adding that many alternative look-ups here).

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daveonhols

Ok, my question was somewhat rhetorical, in the sense that I think we both know the answer ;) The implication of this shared knowledge is, as you evidently are aware, that 龍 is listed correctly under 龙.

I'm not sure what is the omission then, in that case? If we are talking about a simplified dictionary, it makes no sense really to list traditional characters under the traditional radical. Further, listing a character under some other radical (as it appears you attempted in looking up 龍 under 丶 亠 月 and 立) is also not appropriate, I mean that is just fundamentally wrong in my opinion. Those are not the radical of that character.

My point about a beginner being confused in this situation is nothing to do with memorising radical chart lookup rules. Simply, I am of the opinion that a beginner isn't going to be looking up traditional characters in a simplified dictionary unless they are confused about what this strange character they have stumbled upon actually is. When I was a beginner I couldn't make any sense out of anything other than textbooks ... if I picked up a traditional textbook and got stuck I think 龍 would be the least of my problems.

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anonymoose

I think most beginners would start by looking under lóng.

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xiaocai

I think it is rather an odd idea that one character should be listed under more than one radical. Maybe it is because I haven't used 新华字典 for too long, but I remember it was the case when we were learning how to use it in primary school: you have to be able identify the radicals otherwise you will not find the character you want to look up for with 部首检字法.

Same, I think you can only find 車 under 车 and 鳥 under 鸟 on 新华字典.

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Gharial
I think most beginners would start by looking under lóng.

That really is a complete non-point, Anonymoose - only if they already know or are given the pronunciation can they bypass the index stage.* I mean, it's not like beginners don't ever try (often unsuccessfully) to look up unfamiliar characters by radical.

I think you can only find 車 under 车 and 鳥 under 鸟 on 新华字典.

Yes, the same is ultimately true of all the radical-characters, Xiaocai. (龍 to my mind is a little different from 車 and even 鳥 though, because 龍 is more divisible into component parts that could be mistaken for or indeed serve as alternative radicals/means of looking the character up, for those less sure of radicals in general). Unfortunately (obviously) westerners don't study Chinese at primary school (or if they do, they sure won't be learning about stuff like radicals), so they may not be as familiar with the radicals by the time they are adults. Still, a good thorough course can work wonders even in a short time. (Anybody know of any? No wait, I think I've got one, it's called "Teaching Your Chinese Grandmother to Suck Thousand-year-old Eggs: Arcane Secrets of the Dusty Radicals" (snappy title, eh)).

*This being Chinese characters that we're talking about, which (as you and many others will already know) don't provide phonetic information in an immediately obvious way, with the characters like 龍/龙 (that are used as whole phonetics in other characters) having little or no reliable phonetic information within themselves (at least in their modern forms), making them essentially "ideographs".

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xiaocai

Maybe there are some other dictionaries which will suit your needs better, but definitely not 新华字典. It looks like it is for beginners. However, if you have a read of the preface it actually says that the primary target users are 中小学教师和学生, and 中等文化程度以上的读者 can also use it as a reference. So unless you are someone enrolled in a native level Chinese immersion program with guidance of qualified teachers, or have already mastered high school level Chinese, it may not be the most friendly dictionary to use.

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