Jump to content
  • Sign Up

What, please, are these two Chinese characters and....


Recommended Posts

do you have and tips for beginners trying to find characters and their meanings?

www.zhongwen.com is a good place to start. The only disadvantage, if you are studying simplified characters, is that this site is catalogued according to the traditional forms (although simplified are also shown). You can also find links to pages showing stroke orders for most simplified characters. Once you know how to write characters, you can search by number of strokes or radical. Characters are also sorted by pronunciation, which is useful if you know the pronunciation. Also, compound words are listed according to the pronunciation of the first character without the tone. This is useful if you hear a word but are unsure of the tones used. For example, if you hear 'xing shi', you just need to look up 'xing' and it gives you words 'xíng shĭ', 'xíng shì' and 'xìng shì'.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If by "trying to find characters", you mean look them up in a dictionary, I guess it helps if you start to learn to recognise the common radicals and components of characters. This is especially important when you don't know the pronunciation of a character.

For example, the character [pop=clear/lǎng]朗[/pop] is listed under [pop=moon/yuè]月[/pop], the component (radical) on its right-hand side.

The character [pop=degree/dù]度[/pop] is listed under the radical [pop=spread/guǎng]广[/pop].

Anyway, I'm sure others here have some more useful tips :)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks wai ming and anonymoose I'm beginning to get the picture. Been playing with Zhongwen with variable success - sometimes I cannot see the Radical. For example: - fàn (food; cooked rice). I don't know if 厂 or 又 is the radical etc. And, as pointed out by anonymoose, Zhongwen catalogues by Traditional characters: although I can easily find the Traditional character if I know the Simplified.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Be careful with Zhongwen.com and radicals: the site has a 'search by radical', but also a 'search by character that looks a bit like this one' function. Make sure you go to the radical search.

I learnt looking up characters with a paper dictionary, don't know if that's any better than learning it with an online dictionary. Best way to learn it I think is to first look closely at the radical list, to get an idea of which radicals are there, and then proceed to look up characters. Many, many characters. At first it will be very hard, but after a while you'll get the hang of it, and a bit of feeling for what is the radical in a certain character.

Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks liuzhou and Lu, seems like a long journey of many small steps!

At the Zhongwen home page I selected the option [Radical] under [Dictionary] and the next page is headed, 'Radicals (search this dictionary):' but I did not see 饣(食). I found 饭 (飯) following a route through , then , and then finding in the structure list on the right.

According to yellowbridge the most commonly accepted table of radicals for traditional Chinese characters consists of 214 entries. And 饣(食) appears at 184. I mapped this back to Zhongwen and now realise what I misunderstood. Zhongwen draws the stroke under the roof of as a horizontal line but it is still the same character: can't copy from Zhongwen because it is an image rather than a character. Many small steps!!! :lol:

Thanks for your 'Good luck!' Lu

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You could try using something like the DimSum software from www.mandarintools.com

It has a handwriting recognition function that works alright if you learn stroke order rules so you can write it in the right way. Then you can write a character you don't know into it and it will tell you about it. Windows XP also has some kind of handwriting recognition for chinese characters but its rather annoying to set up I've found (on a non-chinese Windows - was only available as a Taiwan version for some reason). So DimSum is good for me. It also allows selection by radical and number of strokes, in a quicker way than flicking through dictionary pages peering at tiny pictures of radicals.

edit: oh and to find something in zhongwen.com you can then just copy and paste the character from DimSum into the website.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...