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Learning to Type Chinese using Cangjie - a write up


Tomsima

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how does it compare to writing practice regarding character/pronunciation association? I find that one of my major drawbacks with typing mandarin is having to spell it out in romanized characters and always associating the sound itself with the pinyin rather than the character

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are you a heritage learner? what sort of stage in your learning are you at? I can only speak from a native English speakers point of view, but learning a pronounciation based input method came very naturally to me, whereas cangjie I have had to consciously learn it with sustained effort (although this would be true of a native speaker to some extent)

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On 6/27/2020 at 11:58 AM, Tomsima said:

I should emphasise, I decided to use this keyboard specifically for the purposes of character retention. If I wanted raw speed I would just use blank keycaps and rely on muscle memory. This keyboard has had a massive effect on how Cangjie has helped with remembering character writing

 

I'm curious whether you think it would be beneficial for one to use Cangjie if their end goal is reading but not writing. Would it help with character recognition? Is it possible to use Cangjie without fully knowing how to write the character you're trying to type? 

Really, what I'm getting at, is that I don't care about writing (by hand), but do care about reading, but have some problems with character recognition for some characters. I'm wondering if typing in Cangjie would force me to be a bit more mindful of the characters (clearing up some of the problems with character recognition), without requiring me to learn to write all of the characters (which would be a more extreme way to clear up my problems with some characters). Any thoughts?

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19 hours ago, kingwithin said:

Australian, native language is english, I'm currently self studying mandarin at a fairly low level,

My experience with Wubi (similar to CangJie in that it's based on shapes rather than sounds) is that using a shape based method will not be very effective unless you already know over a thousand characters, and preferably over 2,000.  If you don't know enough characters it will be much more difficult to build up proficiency in the input method.

 

8 hours ago, Yadang said:

I'm wondering if typing in Cangjie would force me to be a bit more mindful of the characters

Once again speaking of my experience with Wubi, I believe it will.

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On 7/29/2020 at 4:44 PM, Yadang said:

I'm curious whether you think it would be beneficial for one to use Cangjie if their end goal is reading but not writing.

 

I mainly use cangjie to type out new words and phrases from my daily reading. When I come across a new word or interesting turn of phrase, I will make an anki card with an input field for Chinese. I find this really helps me to distinguish lesser seen characters far better.

 

I agree with Imron. I had a base of probably 4000 or so characters I could already read and write by hand before starting, so it would be fairly fruitless for me to speculate on how useful shape-based typing systems are for learning characters without knowing how to write by hand. However, at the very least, I can confirm that using cangjie makes my brain pay greater attention to the contents of each character  

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  • 1 year later...

There's a comment on MS Cangjie 3 vs 5 where the latter is reported to be a significant improvement.

 

To supplement, the majority of Cangjie users (using Windows presumably) are Generation 3 users since they grew up using this unknowingly. Many aren't even aware of 3 vs 5. The other issue is in Windows 10, the default Cangjie is generation 3 only. Microsoft hasn't taken steps to rectify this by including a generation 5 option despite user requests. Thus its still probably safer to learn MS Cangjie 3 for practical reasons.

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Quote

Disclaimer: This write up is not a guide on how to type using Cangjie, check out the wiki page for a basic intro if you're interested.


Could you link to the wiki page you're referring to? I'd like to know what resources you used to start out.

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  • 2 months later...

Thought this might be useful for any beginner Cangjie learners. I usually type on my own computer, but recently have had to use a work computer a lot, which means im stuck with the annoying, error-ridden 'MS Changjie' IME. I made a list of these as a cheat sheet for myself for typing in simplified using Cangjie. As Cangjie was originally designed for traditional and only later adapted for simplified, discrepancies have arisen between CJ3, 5 and MS Changjie. Here it is typed up:

 

Component decomposition differences which arise from writing simplified components in Cangjie using MS Changjie (as opposed to 5) are:

  • 冫   = 卜 (not 戈一. This is used even in characters like 习 (尸卜 rather than 尸戈一)
  • 丬   =  卜中 (not 中一. For the same reason as 冫)
  • ?   =  戈月 (not 火, eg. 学: 戈月弓木 not 火月弓木. Note that 龸 is still treated as 火月 in MS Changjie)
  • 讠   =  戈弓 (not 戈女)
  • 产   =  卜廿 (not 卜竹)
  • 业   =  廿一 (not 廿金)
  • リ   =  戈竹 (not 中中) eg. 师 is 戈竹一中月 (not 中中一月)

 

Wider errors are:

  • Any character with 钅will randomly only accept 金 rather than 人心 as its code (eg. 钱  =  金戈一 not 人心戈十)
  • Any character with 发 on the right hand side is given the code 女戈水 (not 戈女水) despite the fact that MS Changjie actually uses 戈女大水 for 发 itself

 

There are other errors, but these are mostly for very rare characters. There are some common characters which have two codes assigned, one the original error, and one the later correction. As you might have spotted, the key difference in the systems is how MS Changjie treats dots (ie it treats them wrongly...)

 

IMG_20230322_114800 (1).jpg

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On 6/27/2020 at 8:58 PM, Tomsima said:

I immediately switched to Cangjie 5 and have not looked back, it is internally consistent and logical throughout. I strongly recommend any future students of Cangjie to use Cangjie 5, it is a pleasure to type with and really feels like you're writing characters

 

Can anybody please tell me where can I download Cangjie 5 for Windows 10? I looked around but I can't seem to find it. On Android it's a simple option in Gboard.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Posting an excellent new resource I just came across: https://www.倉頡字典.com/  has common character decompositions by colour, not just code, and also seems to have a lot of other good resources for learners at the time of writing. Its probably not great for academic usage, in which case I would stick to: https://www.chinesecj.com/cjdict/ (bearing in mind I write from a CJ5 perspective) or just the github list: https://github.com/Jackchows/Cangjie5/blob/master/Cangjie5.txt

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GMK panda is a good monolegend keycap set that is available in white and black (essentially the opposite of Shanshui). There are a few others too, but I'm not a big fan of the colourways. Geekark 9000 reverse Cangjie set looks great, but it sold out really quickly....mainly to people who don't type Cangjie but like the aesthetic it would seem :wall

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Recently, I ended up building my own keyboard so that I could have a dedicated keyboard just for typing cangjie, since I now do all my typing this way these days. You definitely do not need to do this, it was more just something I thought would be fun to do and useful to have.

 

PCB is the Alpha

case is a 3D print designed by Soft_Sama

keys are GMK Shanshui (these are now a lot more expensive than when I bought them, unfortunately)

the keyboard layout is my own adaptation of vderm's keymap layout

 

I absolutely LOVE typing with this thing, its great fun. I can plug it into my phone and use pleco while notetaking, cangjie being great for checking obscure characters quickly. I also have an anki decks with compounds I am practicing, meaning I can go to coffee shops and do morning typing practice...admittedly with a few odd looks! I can also plug this in to any windows computer and with a usb stick I can run a portable CJ5 IME to continue typing in my favourite input method - take that pinyin!

mmexport1717436319749.jpg

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