Re: Radical index - probably off topic

From: Ed Trager (
Date: Thu Jan 28 2010 - 13:05:19 CST

  • Next message: Ed Trager: "Re: FYI: Google blog on Unicode"

    Hi, J Andersen,

    On Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 12:54 AM,
    <> wrote:
    > Hi everybody,
    > This is my first post, and I'm afraid it really is outside what is normally
    > discussed here, but I think people on this list may be in the best position
    > to answer my question; or if not, perhaps somebody knows where I should go
    > and ask?
    > As a keen amateur student of Chinese, I increasingly feel the need to have a
    > proper, computerized radical index - but as far as I am aware, there aren't
    > any.

    There certainly are online dictionaries that will allow you to find
    characters by radical and stroke index. is one resource that
    is very well designed, comprehensive, and easy to use:

    Scroll down the page of any given entry and you should find an English
    definition for the character as well as all the Chinese explanations.

    A few years ago, when I first began experimenting with AJAX-based web
    applications, I put together an online resource of my own which,
    although certainly not as extensive as something like,
    nevertheless has served my own purposes fairly well. Click on
    "部首输入表" and then just click on a radical:

    (this latter resource requires a fully standards-compliant browser
    like Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera -- I've never bothered to make my
    resource work in Internet Explorer).

    Christoph Burgmer mentions -- which I agree is a great site.
     But is really for Japanese rather than Chinese.

    > Most PC modern dictionaries are designed for native speakers of
    > Chinese, reasonably enough, and of course if one reads a Chinese text on
    > screen, the problem goes away. However, I find that I most often want to
    > read printed materials, and it is cumbersome to balance a comprehensive,
    > radical-indexed dictionary on my knees when I read (apart from the fact that
    > there aren't that many around).

    Some years ago in Taiwan I purchased a very small dictionary called
    "标准汉语词典" -- I think it was published by "文化出版社". This dictionary is
    about the size of a postcard and about an inch thick, with both zhuyin
    fuhao and radical indexes. My favorite aspect of this dictionary is
    that it also has a special chart of "Hard to Find Characters" -- which
    has all those characters where you can't figure out what the radical
    is actually supposed to be - brilliant!

    Later, in Hong Kong, I found a similarly small-format dictionary for
    simplified Chinese but with the equivalent traditional Chinese
    characters in parentheses following the simplified.

    So, in reality quite a lot of options are available in traditional
    paper media. If you don't have the chance to buy books over in East
    Asia, try exploring book shops in the "China town" section of any
    large city and you may be able to find something that fits the bill.

    Nowadays, I wonder if there are any good Chinese dictionaries for the
    iPhone/iTouch (and soon the iPad)?

    > The reason I put this to the Unicode list is that one can download a radical
    > index as a PDF file from, so somebody has already made the
    > electronic version of the index. My question is, then: Is it possible to get
    > a copy of this index in a form that I could load into a database, for
    > example - something like a comma seperated list with number of radical
    > strokes, radical number, number of remaining strokes and unicode character?
    > Regards
    > J Andersen.

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Thu Jan 28 2010 - 13:07:13 CST