Re: (TC304.2324) RE: Pictograms and the UCS

From: Alain LaBonté  (
Date: Wed Jun 14 2000 - 15:45:43 EDT

À 11:07 2000-06-14 -0400, Peter Fraser a écrit:
>Chinese dictionaries are ordered by stroke count. To use one you
>count the strokes in the character (and hope you are right), then
>look through many pages of symbols looking for a match. Pictographic
>don't even have a stroke count. My Chinese speaking friends often find
>it easier to make a guess at the meaning of a character, using the
>character's pictographic aspects, then look the word up in a English-Chinese
>dictionary to see if they are right.

[Alain] There are many methods... strokecount, radical-strokecount,
4-corner method, pinyin (or kana - phonetic) method... There is even a
Québecer from my city who invented a method based on the one used by art
historians to retrieve paintings in worldwide catalogs -- apparently faster
than any existing method for Chinese -- I don't know the details but he
said that it was limited to about 10 000 characters -- beyond it becomes
problematic... Again, I don't know the details. I lost the reference (it
was on TV -- but I had by chance talked with him on the phone when he was
preapring his book -- I aslo lost his phone number and his name, shame on
me!), otherwise I would immediately have bought his book (probably a

I wrote many years ago about the traditional methods for Chinese (just to
attract interest in potential attendees at a conference I gave in Danmark),
if you read French (pictures also help if you can't read it - unfortunately
on the web they lost even more their resolution -- it is a scanning of a
reproduction that remained in our archives):

Alain LaBonté, novice sinophile

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