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Pericles

Traditional vs. Simplified Radicals

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Pericles

After having mastered writing about 100 simplified characters, I'm now getting ready to tackle the radicals. Most radical charts that I find, however, consist of the 214 traditional radicals. While there aren't too many divergences between the simplified and traditional radicals, there are some. What I'm wondering is, does anyone know of an online resource that lists all of the simplified radicals? How many are there? My dictionary lists 182. Should I bother to learn them all? Should I just learn all 214 traditional radicals even though I'm learning simplified?

Please advise.

:shock:

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Lu

If you're not planning to ever learn traditional, do not learn the traditional radicals. Except from having more strokes, they have some extra complications that make them harder, and you won't need them if you only learn simplified.

And even for simplified, you don't need to learn them all. There are some that you will rarely find. Best is to look them over well, so that you get an idea of what radicals are out there, and then start learning characters, and with every character you learn, check what is its radical. Soon you will get a feel for it.

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tlevine

Someone's probably going to say this was a bad idea, but I never really learned the names of the radicals except for a few. None of the books I've used to study characters (all purchased outside China) teaches the radicals directly or tells you the names, but I have learned at least how they look and that they are radicals and either the meaning they have or the sound they generally make. In some cases, however, I have absolutely no idea of the meaning of the radical, such as the one in these characters: 近,远. I'll probably look up this radical now that I've thought of it, but there are definately others I know only this well.

So you don't really need to learn the radicals that way. It will probably be boring that way too. If you feel like learning them seperately from the characters, start with the common ones (the ones used in the 100 characters you know). By the time you're finished with those, you should be really bored of studying radicals and ready to study some other part of the Chinese language.

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kudra

I would not learn all the radicals just to learn the radicals. I would learn the radicals for the characters you know, then learn the new ones that come up when you learn new characters.

This is an extension of the idea that you should learn characters as part of learning words, rather than learning characters in isolation. Apart for the obvious point that it should be easier to remember radicals(language in general) in context, some of the radicals are rare, so you will be wasting time and memory effort learning many radicals that may not show up in your studies for a long time if ever. I could be wrong about this, but it might be interesting to look at a table of frequencies of radicals. (making up numbers now) Why would you learn the least frequent 20 radicals if in total they occur only 0.01% of the time? Surely there are more efficient ways to spend one's study time.

Anybody have a link to a table of radical frequencies?

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onebir

It might be worth using this book:

The most common chinese radicals, Zhang PengPeng, Sinolingua, ISBN 7-80052-576-7

(常用汉字部首, 张朋朋,华语教学出版社)

It describes about 100 common radicals, explaining what each one means, giving some inkling of how it got to look the way it does, and some characters it features in (together with explanations of the etymology of these chars - although these sometimes aren't very helpful). it also explains the stroke order rules and includes stroke order diagrams for the radicals and characters.

in china it's a snip at RMB27...

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Long Zhiren
...do not learn the traditional radicals.

I disagree.

If you ever think you'll use a Chinese Dictionary to look up characters that you do not recognize, traditional radicals may be more useful than simplified because you'll need to know how many strokes are in the traditional radicals. This means that you'll also want to be able to correlate the simplified radicals to the traditional radicals.

Incidentally, even in a good fraction of traditional characters, the radicals have already been simplified.

Most dictionaries and online dictionaries like MDBG list both forms of radicals, but to look them up, you'll be going by the traditional forms' stroke counts.

I would not learn all the radicals just to learn the radicals. I would learn the radicals for the characters you know, then learn the new ones that come up when you learn new characters.

I am in absolute agreement. The final 40% of recognition would require 95% of your effort because you'll totally forget them anyway. Just develop the ability to guess what it's supposed to look like.

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Lu
If you ever think you'll use a Chinese Dictionary to look up characters that you do not recognize, traditional radicals may be more useful than simplified because you'll need to know how many strokes are in the traditional radicals.
If you don't learn (and don't plan to ever learn) traditional, you will in all likelihood also use a simplified dictionary, that uses simplified radicals.

The difficulty I had (sometimes still have) with the trad radicals is that they might look like one but actually are another. Like the one that looks like yue4 but actually is rou4 (simpl radical is just yue4), or the two different 'ears' that you won't find with the 2- or 3-stroke radicals (but you would find them there in a simpl dictionary). Learning all this is mafan. It's worthwhile if you (want to) learn traditional Chinese, but if you don't plan to learn that, just stick with the simplified radicals and save yourself the effort.

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Long Zhiren
but you would find them there in a simple dictionary

I don't believe that I've ever seen a simplified dictionary. I've only seen dictionaries that have everything in them.

The idea of a "simplified" dictionary seems kind of useless to me. Why not get a dictionary that has everything, unless they are older (and then 100% traditional)? Otherwise you'll be unable to use it to look up anything older than about 1980. And then for anything more recent than 1980, it'll still be hit or miss. Why defeat the purpose of a dictionary by having one that's so narrow in application?

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gamerfu

well, I studied radicals and got bored. They were only affective if you study the characters you already know. I recommend study the frequently used ones.

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Lu

Long Zhiren: don't you know the Little Red Book (Jingxuan Han Ying Ying Han cidian), that all Western students learning Chinese and all Chinese students learning English seem to have? Sure it also has the traditional versions of the characters, but it is primarily a simplified dictionary. Same goes for many other mainland dictionaries.

The simplified characters, by the way, are from well before the 1980s. Simplification started in the 1950s.

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owen

I too am confused by your statements about dictionaries long zhiren. Of the 4 that i own two are completely simplified, with completely simplified radicals, which i am certain of because one is from taiwan with all traditional radicals. The one from taiwan does give the simplified versions as well. The last one is the oxford which is primarily simplified but also gives traditional versions parenthetically and gives some really spotty, from what i can tell, traditional radicals, also in parantheses.

So ya, from my experience with dictionaries, simplified ones generally use simplified radical lookup, traditional ones... traditional.

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Long Zhiren

hm. I haven't bought a Chinese dictionary since 1988. It has everything.

I'm certain that it's missing a number of new words like 手機.

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