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tooironic

Online reference to find "vernacular readings" of the components of a Chinese character?

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tooironic

Is there an online reference where I can look up the components of a Chinese character with their "vernacular readings" noted?

Let's say I look up 壮 at chineseetymology.org. The reference tells me that the character is made up of the phonetic 爿qiang2, but since what I really want is to be able to explain in Mandarin how to write the character (this is actually a useful skill), the information "爿qiang2" is not terribly practical. Rather, knowing that it is written with a 将字旁 is much more useful.

Does such a reference exist? Or am I going to have to memorise all the "vernacular readings" of all the components individually? (Sorry if I used the wrong terminology, I don't know what it's known as in English.) Many, like 日字旁, 三点水, etc. are easy to remember, but others are elusive, even to native speakers.

I know the resource zidian.odict.net, which lists this information under the field 结构与写法. However it's not perfect; in the entry for 过, for example, it doesn't list the component reading as 走之旁 as it should, just 辶. The entry for 吉 doesn't note 士字头 either. The entry for 戏 only notes 左边又,右边一个戈 instead of 戈字旁, and so on. (Edit: clicking on 辶 in the entry for 过 can actually lead you to 走之旁. However I'm sure many other entries lack information, e.g. only mentions the 口, and not the 折文儿/冬字头.)

I'd appreciate any resources you can recommend. Cheers.

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Demonic_Duck

I hope this doesn't count as hijacking the thread, but on a tangentially related note, I've heard that 目 is referred to as 目字旁, and 木 as 木字旁. Aside from context, how on earth is one supposed to know which one is being talked about?

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imron
The entry for 戏 only notes 左边又,右边一个戈 instead of 戈字头

Which seems ok, as it doesn't have a 戈字.

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roddy

"Does such a reference exist? Or am I going to have to memorise all the "vernacular readings" of all the components individually?"

Given there's only so many components, wouldn't this be fairly viable? It might seem a lot, but you're always going to have a visual cue - it's be hard to forget 三点水 if you're looking at 沙. And what's a couple of hundred extra pieces of information in the Chinese scheme of things?

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Olle Linge

I'm not sure I understand the original question completely. Would this be any different from using one tool to separate the character into its component parts and then looking those up in a list of radicals? I know all parts aren't radicals, but in case they aren't, they are usually characters in themselves and are then referred to as that character. With the risk of misunderstanding what you're after:

I used the list over at nciku (which contains all radicals and their colloquial names) and then used various other sources to confirm or check that list. I also ran it through a teacher from Beijing to see if what I had collected made sense. I then produced this list designed for students which includes that information. I've found that this is quite neat to know when discussing characters with native speakers. I don't think memorising all this is a good idea, but through discussing characters with native speakers a lot, I've picked up most of these naturally. It seems a bit unnecessary to memorise colloquial names if you're not using them?

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tooironic

@imron Thanks for picking up that typo, I've fixed it to 戈字旁 now.

Big thanks to Snigel and gato for those resources, they're exactly what I was looking for! :)

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