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Zhengma Chinese Input Method


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Why do you prefer Zhengma to a pure stroke order input? (I don't know of a stroke order input for use on PC besides 九方, but it is very commonly available on mobile phones.)  I don't understand why it is a good thing to remember those roots.  I think it is a good thing to be able to input characters by either just knowing how to write them (in stroke order, because that is how characters are written) or pronounce them.  Any other requirements do not seem necessary.

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I think you have said before that you prefer input systems that don't involve much additional learning. I can certainly understand that view. But one of my purposes in learning the system was to learn a way to type Chinese that approximates touch typing in English, without feeling alien to the nature of the characters. I want to feel that I am typing Chinese rather than English, without actually have to write it out stroke by stroke.

I have almost no experience inputting characters using strokes, but I am pretty sure it would feel just as tedious to me as writing them out by hand. Just as I find looking up characters by stroke-count tedious.

I realize that stroke input is a popular method for cell phones, but I hate texting even in English, since using two thumbs is not the same as touch typing with nine fingers.

Consider inputting the first verse of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms:


I don't know whether predictive text can handle that verse or not, but the phrase has about 54 strokes spread over only 5-10 stroke types. That means a lot of strokes concentrated on a few keys and a few fingers. Typing it with Zhengma takes about 21 letters spread almost over the entire 26-letter keyboard. I especially hate typing that involves a lot of repeat movements, because of the finger fatigue it often causes.

I can understand why memorizing 200 roots seems totally unnecessary; however, with the Zhengma system you really don't need to memorize them all, since so many can be guessed. Knowing what I now know, I could have taught myself the basics in 1-2 hours. People who are new to the system, who are less geeky than me, and who have no one to explain things in a simple way would need more time, but still much less time than I think it takes to learn Cangjie.

Basing my inputing on strokes alone would feel like printing stroke by stroke in English, which I also hate to do beyond printing a few words here and there on forms. Basing my inputting on the 200 or so Zhengma roots makes me feel that I am just typing character components, which is how I mostly think of characters anyway. It also comes in handy since the little typing I do is often of things that predictive input systems are not good at. Now if I only my ability to produce characters were anywhere near my ability to recognize them, I would be set.

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After reading your first post I searched about Zhengma, but as you already know I am impatient about such input methods.  Before long I found something else I was interested in.  It is an ime called Rimeime.  I have used google pinyin input for a long time and was content, kind of. The only major shortcoming of google pinyin is that it is based on simplified characters and because of this, even though I have set the output to traditional, it gives me a simplified font in MS Word.  It is not really that "major" a flaw, but I don't particularly enjoy it.  Now I have removed google pinyin and am using Rimeime only.  So far so good.  Rimeime has different versions for linux, windows XP and 7 and mac, but there is not yet a version for windows 8. I think there might be some bugs in this ime's menu, but I am going to use it at least for the time being.


Well I have found something I like, and you have found something you like.  :D

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  • 2 years later...
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Oh, and I gathered together some information about how to get Zhengma on all sorts of different platforms:



1) Download Rime at rime.im, and install it.

2) Download the files for Zhengma here.

3) Follow these instructions to modify the configuration files to add it to the list.

4) Run WeaselDeployer.exe and enable Zhengma.




1) Install IBus from your distribution's repositories, along with Zhengma.

2) That's pretty much it.



1) Install Baidu's input method.

2) Download the Zhengma table here , then rename it to have a .def extension.

3) Add it as a custom table.


Instructions (in Chinese) are available here: http://www.augsky.com/860.html

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I've just started to develop an intuitive feel for it. I can't tell you anything that isn't explained in any of the links above, reality. Three guide on Scribd is the first place to look. After that, keep the chart handy. When you can't figure out how to type a character, look up the code, and try to understand why it has that code. Eventually, c you'll figure out the patterns and quirks of it.

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