Radical/Stroke Look-up: The look-up method
common in many older character dictionaries. First, select a
radical from the radical table. Then determine the number of
strokes in the character, excluding the radical. Enter this number
into the "Lower Bound" field. Or, if you are not sure exactly what
the remaining number of strokes is, you can enter a range into
"Lower Bound" and "Upper Bound". However, the upper bound cannot
be more than three strokes above the lower bound. When radical and
stroke count are set, click on "Search by Radical/Stroke".
This character dictionary gives several display options to the user.
- Search Mode: The dictionary character table
includes over 15,000 characters, many of them very infrequently used.
Each of the characters in the information table has been assigned
a frequency number, based on how often that particular character is
used. Search mode allows you to restrict the size of the results
returned by a search based upon frequency.
- Limited Search: Only return characters that are among the 3,500
most commonly used.
- Standard Search: Only return characters that are among the
6,500 most commonly used.
- Comprehensive Search: Search the entire table and return all
results, no matter how rarely the character is used.
- Print Results In: You can select the character
encoding that the results will be printed in. Result types include:
- GIF Pictures: All characters will be represented by pictures.
This is useful if you do not have a Chinese system capable of
viewing Chinese characters on your computer. However, downloading
all these pictures can be slow.
- UTF-8: All characters will be represented in the UTF-8
encoding. This is a form of Unicode, and can represent both
traditional and simplified characters (and radicals) at the same
time. This is the recommended return type. However, not all
browsers can display UTF-8 yet.
- GB: This is the national encoding standard of mainland China
and is used for simplified characters. As a result, you can only
use GB if you selected "Simplified Characters" as the Character
Type. Also, since GB does not encode all the radicals or
traditional characters, these will still be displayed as GIF's in
- Big5: The de facto standard in Taiwan and Hong Kong, it is
used to represent traditional characters. As a result, you can
only use Big5 if you selected "Traditional Characters" as the
Character Type. However, since Big5 does not encode all the
radicals or simplified characters, these will still be displayed as
GIF's in the results.
- Character Type: Chinese characters can be
broadly categorized into two types, traditional characters (fantizi)
and simplified characters (jiantizi). In the 1950's, mainland China
changed the forms of many Chinese characters and combined some
characters together. The original forms are commonly called
traditional characters and are still used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and
many overseas Chinese communities. The new forms are commonly called
simplified characters and are used in mainland China (and Singapore
too, I think). However, not all characters were simplified, so there
is a great deal of overlap between the two types. You can restrict
the results to either of these types, or both together. However,
there are the following restrictions:
- Traditional Characters: Cannot use GB to print results.
- Simplified Characters: Cannot use Big5 to print results.
- Trad. and Simp.: Can only use GIF's or UTF-8 to print results.
How to See (CJK) UTF-8 in a Browser
- Windows 95/NT and Netscape 3.0:
Download and install the Microsoft Simplified Chinese
language pack. (Info by Frank Tang of Netscape)
- Once this language pack installed, the MS Song font should
now be available for use. In Netscape, choose from the menu:
Options->General Preferences->Fonts. In the dialog window that
appears, choose MS Song as the font to use for the
- Now, when you bring up the dictionary choose the following
from the menu: Options->Document Encoding->Unicode(UTF8). You
should now be able to see the radicals in the radical table and
view search results in UTF-8.
- For Netscape 4.0 see
- Internet Explorer 4.0 also supports viewing UTF-8 using the Microsoft fonts.
Install the Chinese Language Kit for the Macintosh with its simplified and
traditional Chinese fonts (the CLK comes included with OS 9), restart, and select
Unicode for character representation. (Thanks to Serge Paulus for this information).
Netscape 4.0 and above will display Unicode, if you have Chinese fonts installed on your system.
- If anybody knows how to do this for other browsers or
other operating systems, please
e-mail me and
I'll include that information on this listing. Xie xie!
What If My Browser Doesn't Support UTF-8?
I also have a version of the dictionary
that represents all the radicals as GIF pictures. However,
downloading all 214+ pictures can be a slow process. Fortunately,
you don't have to wait for them to finish downloading to use the
English, pinyin, and Cantonese searches.
Is there a Version of the Dictionary that Loads Faster?
I've also created a version of the radical table that uses the
UTF-8 form of Unicode to encode the radicals and takes much less time
to download. However, not all
browsers are yet capable of displaying UTF-8. I've put together some information about how to view UTF-8 on various