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Gharial

Locating 龍 in simplified dictionaries

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Gharial
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.

Sorry Xiaocai, I'm speaking sort of "abstractly" in this thread, for the benefit (or not LOL) of beginners struggling with Chinese dictionaries (and I'm not just imagining them - I've known a few such people for real: two students out of a total of about twelve dropped out of the postgrad diploma I did, because they couldn't seem to get to grips with things...or maybe they simply wanted a course that didn't plunge into reading and writing so "quickly"!). Anyway, I myself own and get along with the Xinhua and its index pretty well, and it sometimes actually provides alternative look-ups (though not it seems in the case of 龍).

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Gharial
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.

Hi again Dave(onhols), I somehow missed this and thus didn't answer it the last time I was replying (to Anonymoose), sorry about that!

Glad we agree on the "correct" location for 龍. :D

Regarding alternative look-ups/radicals, IMHO appropriateness or tradition or whatever can go hang, if doing so will make a dictionary more useful to as wide a range of users as possible. (I'm not however advocating that "anything goes" - the student has to learn something in the way of principles, a set of guidelines that everyone is at least aware of even if they don't really like or agree with them, and how can one really disagree unless one really understands in the first place etc etc). [i wasn't suggesting by the way that traditional characters be listed under and thus necessitate the incorporation of traditional radical(-character)s back into simplified dictionaries - I prefer the generally fewer radicals of the simplified scheme(s), and really can't see why they can't be used for more componentially (than holistically) looking up certainly the IMHO trickier those traditional forms].

As for "beginner confusion", the keyword in your third paragraph above is obviously 'unless'; the reality is that there are people who for whatever reasons aren't following (no offence, it's just the way you've made it sound! > ) lockstep "spoon-fed" courses to the letter, but who are trying to look up characters (which exist outside of textbooks, e.g. tatoos, scrolls, adverts, notes, instruction labels, etc etc etc) regardless. Of course, it goes without saying that a lot of their problems would be alleviated if they first at least learnt how to use a Chinese dictionary, but given that few dictionaries (other than the ABCs) provide much detailed guidance on radicals, this is just so much wishful thinking.

Anyway, nice chatting with you! :)

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daveonhols

Still not clear how you want to organize your new dictionary? Where to list 龍? Maybe under 丶? How about 亠 or 月 or 立? Then what about other characters, like 聽, 為 and 麼?

And is your target market really just beginners studying simplified characters who also need to look up traditional characters, and also need to  learn your indexing system? Seems easier for them to just ask their teacher or this website for help :)

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Gharial

Ah, my new dictionary - that's going to be organized by whole phonetics after parsing and discarding the radical, which will usually be easy enough to do, though characters like 龙/龍 are "obviously" treated as unparseable wholes for indexical purposes, as are characters such as 聋/聾 due to both its top and bottom being ultimately each a radical. (I won't bore you with the exact details of the indexing system, and it's still a work in progress; the parsing and "search string" rules I've formulated so far seem to be holding well enough, however!). I'm going to provide look-up options for both simplified and traditional characters, but will probably only supply the "usual" component-based mnemonics for the simplified (there are also mnemonics for pronunciation - syllable and esp. tone - but those are of course equally useful for and applicable to the traditional characters). I'm hoping that it will provide a faster, more efficient way to look up and remember certainly whole ranges of phonetically-related characters than is possible with radical + residue, strict stroke-count indexing. (In the meantime those waiting with baited breath will just have to "make do" with Wieger, Karlgren, or Harbaugh :D ). But this thread was actually just about existing dictionaries (the POCD, Xinhua etc) and how they themselves might be improved - no worries about the tangent though! And the most logical radical to conventionally look 龍 up with (other than 龍 or 龙 themselves) would be 立 IMHO.

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