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Looking up character from multiple components?


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I came across this image in my WeChat feed and dutifully set about deciphering it... I reckon it's (read R-L) 新創是求, but that's not my question.


It seemed pretty clear that it's 新- - -是求 and would be read right to left (I'm guessing "求是" is common in Chengyu).


The third character from the right was the one I had trouble with.  I presumed it's traditional.


I could see the 刂 component in there, and what I thought was maybe 名 with something over the top.


Eventually after trying and failing many times to draw it in Pleco, then browsing a lot of characters with the 刂 component I stumbled across 


        倉 +刂 = 創    chuàng (start, create, establish). 


So that makes sense.


So here's my question: how do you go about identifying a character from multiple components when you don't recognise all of them? 


I often use MDBG's component search feature like this, but it only allows you to search on one component, not two or more:




Is this something that a character dictionary 字典 would allow me to do?  






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Microsoft Pinyin (Sougou Pinyin had this last time I checked too) lets you type “u” followed by radical/piece names to build a whole character, and most importantly, it tells you the pronunciation of the character at the end.


What I did to test:





edit: realized this still wouldn't help if one didn't know the 倉 part in traditional script


tl;dr - learn traditional, damnit!

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36 minutes ago, Jim said:

know the radicals and you can look it up under that and the number of strokes in the remaining part.


Aha, right — that would do it.  I just discovered that Pleco lets you search visually by radical. Never did that before on Pleco, although I do it often on my IME when typing.


I think with that character on the stone, what threw me off was the long, sweeping top part (which looks like 2 strokes)... that, and thinking that there was a 名 in there.



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On 8/19/2020 at 11:04 PM, Demonic_Duck said:

You can do that on MDBG, too.

You are absolutely right. But these things are too tough for the beginners, IMHO. Still, there is a trick. Even a beginner could put the Chinese characters together from its components with the new tool.

And yes, my site is all wrong. For example, ◫, ヌand ス are wrong radicals, and there are too many of them (>1k)... But the dictionary is HSK-compatible and people from Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia (and from the US and from Europe) are using it more and more. Because it's simple as 女+也=她

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On 8/19/2020 at 4:42 PM, mungouk said:

how do you go about identifying a character from multiple components when you don't recognise all of them?

If one of the components you do recognise is the radical, you can search by radical. If the component you recognise is not the radical, try good old zhongwen.com.


This is the old-fashioned answer, but it looks like you already found the modern answer (take a picture and let one app or another do the rest) yourself.

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On 11/9/2020 at 8:48 PM, Red Color said:

Even a beginner could put the Chinese characters together from its components with the new tool.

Seems like a modern take on the classic radical lookup. Seems useful for someone first trying to learn about radicals but not so much for complete beginners or people just wanting to look up an unknown character quickly (just handwrite it in Pleco).

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1 hour ago, 歐博思 said:

just handwrite it in Pleco

Thank you! Just checked it out. Pleco works fine even for the character 泰, which is quite difficult for the Google Translate app. And also GT requires the high speed, but Pleco patiently waits for the user. That's great!

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