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Beard of Chuck Norris
03-21-2007, 10:28 AM
In English we usually order a list of e.g. names Alphabetically.

Do the Japanese have a way of ordering kanji?

It is easy to understand a number order as it is natural to go from low-high or from high-low but how, in kanji, do the Japanese put things in order?

For instance in a Japanese dictionary (not Japanese-English) what order would :ai: , :ki: and :do: fall in?

Peace and love

Jo.

Fred Little
03-21-2007, 11:20 AM
In English we usually order a list of e.g. names Alphabetically.

Do the Japanese have a way of ordering kanji?

It is easy to understand a number order as it is natural to go from low-high or from high-low but how, in kanji, do the Japanese put things in order?

For instance in a Japanese dictionary (not Japanese-English) what order would :ai: , :ki: and :do: fall in?

Peace and love

Jo.

Hi Jo,

It depends on which index one is looking at.

The most common way of looking up kanji is to break them down into component radicals, identify the key element, count the number of strokes in the key element, count the strokes remaining in the rest of the elements, find the key radical (ordered by number of strokes) then look in the section of the dictionary under the key radical, in the subsection devoted to compounds with the correct number of additional strokes.

Or, for really complicated characters which make it difficult to identify which element is the key radical, go to the full stroke-count index.

It's a cumbersome process at first, but after a while, it becomes much easier as the user memorizes the sequence numbers of the various key radicals.

Hope this helps.

FL

Beard of Chuck Norris
03-21-2007, 11:30 AM
Thanks very much Mr. Little.

Pardon my ignorance, but i'm no linguist; i just have a modest interest in languages.

A lot of the terms you used left me confused; they might as well have been kanji! Could you elaborate in layman's terms please; your efforts will be appreciated!

Peace and love

Jo.

Josh Reyer
03-21-2007, 01:05 PM
The Japanese syllabaries have a set order. First are the vowels, a, i, u, e, and o. Then the k sounds, ka, ki, ku, ke, ko, and then the s sounds, and so on. Voiced sounds (g, z/j, d, b/p) are listed with their unvoiced counterparts (k, s, t, and h, respectively). In that kind of order (if, for example, I was looking up 合, 氣, and 道 by their readings in a Japanese dictionary), it would actually be in that order. Ai (vowels), Ki (k column), and Do (t column).

To explain Fred's post a little further, each kanji is made up of a number of different elements. For example, 合 is made up of 人, 一, and 口. It would be listed under 人, which is one of the 214 elements known as "radicals". That is, they are the elements (relatively arbitrarily chosen) under which Chinese characters have been ordered since the early 1700s.

The radicals are first ordered by stroke order; how many strokes it takes to write them. 人 is a two stroke kanji (one down stroke to the left, and one to the right). In every kanji dictionary is a listing (typically on the front and/or back cover) of all 214 radicals in their order.

All kanji that are classified by the 人 radical are in its section. They are further ordered by number of strokes in addition to the radical. So, 人 itself is the first character (of course). Characters with one additional stroke are listed next, and then with two, and then three, and so on.

So, in a kanji dictionary, 合 would come first, because its radical is two strokes. Next would be 道, because it's radical is 辶, which is three strokes. 氣 would come next, because it's radical is 气, which is 4 strokes.

Kent Enfield
03-21-2007, 07:50 PM
For example, ? is made up of ?, ?, and ?. It would be listed under ?, which is one of the 214 elements known as "radicals". That is, they are the elements (relatively arbitrarily chosen) under which Chinese characters have been ordered since the early 1700s.Nelson's puts au/ai under "hito" because it uses a straightforward and logical system of radical placement based on location in the character. However, the traditional radical, the one used in pretty much all Japanese sources, is "kuchi" (the box at the bottom).

As for names, at school here, they're always in modern "alphabetical" order by pronunciation. Kanji-order based on radical and number of strokes is only used for organizing kanji. I don't think anyone would ever use kanji-order to organize a list. It'd either be the modern kana order (a, i, u, e, o, ka, ki, . . . ) or the traditional kana order (i, ro, ha, . . . ). The traditional order is a poem that uses every kanji exactly once.

kokyu
03-24-2007, 11:37 PM
In some Chinese dictionaries, there's another way to look up characters... i.e. by counting the number of strokes that are used to write the character [A], and also identifying the type of first stroke used to write the character (out of 6 types) [B].

The character index is broken up into sections by number of strokes, which are each further broken up into 6 sections, corresponding to the six types above. By using [A] and [B], you can find the character and also the relevant page in the dictionary.

I find this method useful for complex characters, when there are multiple possibilities for the radical (i.e. the original character is made up of smaller characters, each of which could be the radical you need)...

Instead of looking for the complex character under each of the possible radicals (which can be a real pain), you just count the strokes and identify the type of first stroke...

I have not seen this method in my Japanese denshi jissho... the kanji lookup uses radicals... don't know whether any of the book dictionaries have this type of character index as well

Carl Thompson
03-25-2007, 07:37 PM
Hello people,

Iíd recommend Jack Halpernís Kanji Learnerís dictionary (http://www.kanji.org/kanji/index.htm), which has a couple of different ways for looking them up. I found it really useful.