Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Learning Chinese R/W way - Lesson 9

I set out to do a "read/write" focus to learning Chinese. So far, I have explained some Chinese way of expressing ideas and have not given much information about how to input Chinese. Here it is.

The particular input method I am recommending is "ChangJie" method. Please review lesson 1 if you have not installed the input option.

ChangJie method (倉頡輸入法) was invented in the seventies by Mr Chu Bong-Foo (朱邦復) and has been in the public domain ever since. I met Mr Chu in the Nineties when he was working on hanzi 聚珍 Chinese operating system (My company in Hongkong helped in promoting this product) before it became public domain.

From Wikipedia about 朱邦復:

During the development of Cangjie method, Chu found that his invention is not only an input method, but also a character encoding method for computing systems. Unlike An Wang's encoding method of the time, or later methods such as Big5 and Unicode, Cangjie method dose not sort characters by their usage frequency, stroke count, or radical, but is based on their composition aspect and inspired by the "pictophonetic compounds" principle of Chinese.

Chu therefore began to develop a theory (which he would later call "Chinese DNA", "Alphabets of Chinese Language", or "Chinese character gene" theory). The theory states that the forms selected by Chu are the "genes" of Chinese. Proper arrangement of these "genes" can provide all functions of the characters. Therefore Cangjie method as a character encoding is very useful, since it contains not only an ordered set of characters, but also precise references of shapes, pronunciations and semantics of the characters. Therefore the system is an efficient base for a variety of Chinese information technology: smart dictionary; operating system and application software; programming language; hardware architecture of PC and embedded systems; and even strong artificial intelligence.[3][4]

Here is the basic mapping with an English (US) keyboard with the "Chinese Genes". Please study the input table from Wikipedia Cangjie method [Wikipedia chooses to spell 倉頡輸入法 as Cangjie method and I am using the original spelling used by Mr Chu and the general public.]

Now, try using your keyboard and ChangJie method to type in some Chinese.

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