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Wenlin 216x93.png Chapter 6 of the Wenlin User’s Guide

The previous chapter described individual dictionary entries; this chapter shows how dictionary entries can be reorganized and listed in useful ways. You can use lists for looking up characters and words, for organizing your studies, and for investigating the intricate networks of associations underlying Chinese vocabulary.

  • You can request some lists from the List menu.
  • Other lists are only available by pressing triangle buttons that appear in dictionary entries and in pinyin syllable windows.

In this chapter we will look at Wenlin’s methods for listing characters and words, according to various criteria. The resulting lists are suitable for study and exploration, by various methods. Wenlin’s character and word lists can be used to identify needed vocabulary items, to generate Flashcards, to create teaching materials and draw-up lesson plans, and to edit and create Dictionary Entries.

Contents

List Characters by ...

There are several ways to obtain a list of characters matching certain criteria.

The following items are accessible from the List menu.

Some lists are available from Pinyin database windows:

Other lists are available only from within certain dictionary database windows. For example, the following items depend on Advanced CDL features:

Items available from the List menu are discussed below. Advanced items are discussed in the CDL Appendix.

Characters by Pinyin

To obtain a list of all characters with a given pronunciation:

• Choose Characters by Pinyin from the List menu
A dialog box appears
• Place a single syllable of pinyin in the dialog box
(You can, optionally, include a tone mark or tone number)
• Choose OK

A window opens, listing characters with the given pronunciation, ordered by frequency. Each item is the top line of a character’s dictionary entry.

This list is affected by the Hanzi Filter... option (described in Chapter 2 and later in this chapter); keep this in mind if you’re looking for a rare character that might be filtered out.

If you omit the tone, the list includes characters in all tones. For example, if you type fa, without a tone, you obtain:

60 发 [fā] (F發) emit [fà] (F髮) hair [fa] (F髮) 头发 hair
102 法 [fǎ] (法律 fǎlǜ) law; (办法 bànfǎ) method
1396 乏 [fá] (缺乏quēfá) lack; 疲乏 pífá tired; 贫乏 pínfá poor
1581 罚(F罰) [fá] (惩罚 chéngfá) punish; (罚款 fákuǎn) fine
1958 伐 [fá] fell, cut down; attack
2447 阀(F閥) [fá] powerful person; valve
...
(Partial list shown, Simple Form Characters option on)

The Simple Form Characters option affects what characters are listed. If the option is on when you request the list, simple form characters are listed, otherwise full form characters are listed.

If Simple Form Characters had been off when the above list was requested, it would look like this instead:

60 發(S发) [fā] emit
60 髮(S发) [fà] hair [fa] 頭髮 tóufa hair
102 法 [fǎ] (法律 fǎlǜ) law; (办法 bànfǎ) method
1396 乏 [fá] (缺乏quēfá) lack; 疲乏 pífá tired; 贫乏 pínfá poor
1581 罰(S罚) [fá] (懲罰 chéngfá) punish; (罰款 fákuǎn) fine
1958 伐 [fá] fell, cut down; attack
2447 閥(S阀) [fá] powerful person; valve
...
(Partial list shown, Simple Form Characters option off)

All tones appear in the lists above. But you can restrict the list to characters pronounced in the falling tone, for example: type or fa4 in the dialog box, and the list will look like this:

60 髮(S发) [fà] hair [fa] 頭髮 tóufa hair
---- 琺(S珐) [fà] 琺琅 fàláng enamel
...
(Partial list shown, Simple Form Characters option off)
  • Another way to request a list of characters by pinyin is to press one of the List ▷ buttons in a pinyin window. If you Mouse pointer finger.jpg click on , this window opens:
fà (Mandarin syllable in pinyin)
Hear fà pronounced by ▷woman ▷man
List ▷characters pronounced fà (4th tone)
List ▷characters pronounced fa (any tone)
Tones: fā fá fǎ [fà]
Bopomofo: ㄈㄚˋ

Although the window is specific to , you can also request the list of characters pronounced fa in any tone; and you can click on , , or to obtain a new pinyin window with choices specific to that tone. A list will be the same, regardless of whether you request it by pressing one of the List ▷ buttons or by choosing Characters by Pinyin from the List menu.

Note that when you use pinyin conversion on a single syllable (for example, if you type fa and choose Convert), you access essentially the same list, but the characters appear in the conversion bar (Chapter 4).

See the Advanced Options for information on Wenlin’s Comparative Transcription Table.

Characters by Stroke Count

Listing characters by stroke count is one of the ways that you can look up a Chinese character when you don’t know its pronunciation and can’t identify any of its components. Many modern Chinese dictionaries are indexed by this method. To use it, you need to know how to count strokes, and the general principles of stroke order (which you can learn from Chapter 7 and the stroking box).

To list characters by stroke count:

• Choose Characters by Stroke Count from the List menu
A dialog box appears
• Place a number between 1 and 30 in the dialog box
(All characters with 30 or more strokes are grouped together)
• Choose OK

A window opens listing characters with the given stroke count (including simple, full, variant, and component forms).

List chars 4strokes.jpg

(Partial list shown)

Suppose you want to look up the character 云 . Elementary principles of stroke count and stroke order tell you that 云 is written with four strokes (horizontal, horizontal, kinky, and dot). To find 云, choose Characters by Stroke Count from the List menu. Enter 4 in the dialog box. A list of 4-stroke characters appears (see the figure above).

This list is affected by the Hanzi Filter... option; keep this in mind if you’re looking for a rare character that might be filtered out.

It’s not hard to find 云: it’s the last character in the first line. You can click on 云 to obtain its complete dictionary entry.

You can find the character more easily if you notice that the list is arranged in groups, according to the beginning two strokes of each character. For the purpose of this kind of indexing, the individual strokes that form all Chinese characters are classified into stroke types A, B, C, D, and E (see the next table).

AHorizontal(héng)Includes rising strokes: ㇀; Written from left to right
BVertical(shù)Includes those with a hook to the left: 亅; Written from top to bottom
CFalling Left(piě)丿Written from top to bottom; Does not include dots
DDot(diǎn/nà)Includes long strokes falling to the right: ㇏ Written from top to bottom
EKinky(zhé)Includes any stroke that makes a kink or sharp turn: etc. ... But does not include 亅 (which is type B)

If you examine the list of 4-stroke characters, you can see that all the characters on the first line start with two horizontal strokes (AA). All the characters on the second line start with a horizontal stroke followed by a vertical stroke (AB). The entire list is ordered “alphabetically” by the stroke types A, B, C, D, and E. Just as “Aardvark” precedes “Bubble” alphabetically, because of the initial letter, so 云 precedes 少 because of the initial stroke. And, just as “Aardvark” precedes “Abacus” because of the second letter, so 云 precedes 木 because of the second stroke. And so forth. The analogy with English alphabetical indexing is almost perfect, except that English indexes don’t have separate sections for 4-letter words!

List cloud.jpgyún ‘cloud’

List tree.jpg ‘tree’

Characters by Frequency

Wenlin gives the 3,000 most common characters a numerical ranking: the most common character is ranked first and assigned the number 1; the second most common character is ranked 2nd and assigned the number 2, etc. This ranking is an approximate indication of a character’s frequency of usage; the exact numbers shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Our intention is only to provide a means by which you can organize your studies.

To see a list of characters by frequency:

• Choose Characters by Frequency from the List menu
A dialog box appears
• Place a number between 1 and 3000 in the dialog box
(Or accept the default value of 1)
• Choose OK
A window opens containing the list

In essence, there is one master list, which you can view from any starting position. If you accept the default value of 1, the beginning of the list looks like this:

List freq.jpg

(Partial list shown)

Each item is simply the top line of that character’s dictionary entry. The frequency ranking is based entirely on the set of simple form characters, so this list is unaffected by the Simple Form Characters option. Appendix A describes frequency statistics.

Characters Containing Components

Can Wenlin list characters by component(s)? What is a character component? Is this the same thing as a radical?

A character component (字部) is a sequence of strokes comprising part of a character, often occurring in more than one character.

Most characters are composites – they can be analyzed into smaller components, and components are often (though not always) independent characters in their own right.

Standard components used for organizing dictionaries are called radicals (部首). Thus, all radicals are components, but not all components are radicals.

It is natural, and helpful, to look at a character and ask, “Which components form this character?”

A character’s dictionary entry gives the character’s components as part of its explanation, and also on the components line, as described in Chapter 5.

It is also perfectly natural, and helpful, to turn the question around and ask, “Which characters contain this component?” You could even ask, “Which characters contain these two components, or these three components?” “How many components are there in common characters?” You can use Wenlin to answer these questions and more. For example:

Open the character’s dictionary entry. Suppose the character is 子 ‘child’ (it could be any character). Then you can press this button (every character’s dictionary entry has such a button):

▷list characters containing 子 as a component

A window opens with a list of characters, all containing 子 as a component, ordered by frequency – the most common characters presented first:

List comps zi3.jpg

(Partial list shown)

The menu command, List Characters Containing Components, provides more precision: you can use it to find all the characters that contain a combination of components. To use it:

• Choose Characters Containing Components from the List menu
• Enter the component(s) of interest in the dialog box
(You can enter more than one component)
• Choose OK

Note: you can use any of the methods described in Chapter 4 for entering the components; the examples below show how to enter components by phonetic conversion.

A window opens with a list of characters that contain the component(s).

This list is affected by the Hanzi Filter... option; keep this in mind if you’re looking for a rare character that might be filtered out.

You can use this kind of list when you want to look up a character you don’t recognize, but you recognize its components.

Gu3.jpg

Consider 古. Suppose you know that 十 is pronounced shí and that 口 is pronounced kǒu. To look up 古, follow these steps:

• Choose Characters Containing Components from the List menu
• Type shi2
• Choose Convert
• Choose 十 from the conversion bar
• Type kou3
• Choose Convert
• Choose 口 from the conversion bar
• Choose OK

A window opens:

List comps gu3.jpg

古 appears as the second item on the list. You can also find by just specifying one of the components, but the list would be far longer. Locating a character based on a combination of components is a powerful method.

Another example is 玩. Suppose you recognize the left side as 王 (wáng) and the right side as 元 (yuán). 玩 is the only character containing this combination of components, so you can easily look it up.

Still another example is 尖. Suppose you recognize 小 (xiǎo) and 大 (). They are both common characters (and they both happen to be radicals). You can easily look up 尖 (without worrying about which of the two components, 小 or 大, is its radical).

See the CDL Appendix for information on advanced component and stroke-level indexing features.

Characters by Unicode

The Unicode Standard (already introduced in Chapter 3) is an international standard for encoding plain text in nearly all the world’s writing systems. In other words, it’s a convention for assigning a unique identifying code to every character in every writing system.

For example: [U+8033] = 耳 (ěr ‘ear’); [U+8def] = 路 ( ‘road’); and [U+005a] = ǚ (a pinyin letter). The “U+” is a prefix indicating a Unicode number (it's not part of the Unicode number). Each digit following the “U+” is a number 0-9 or a letter a-f. (These are called hexadecimal digits, for base-sixteen, in contrast to ordinary decimal or base-ten digits.) Most of the commonly used codes are four digits long. There are over sixty-five thousand possible four-digit codes.

(To be precise, 16^4 = 2^16 = 65,536. What an improvement to the older ASCII standard, which encodes only 128 = 27 characters! The remainder of this parenthetical note is for math-lovers. A binary digit, or bit, is a 0 or a 1. A byte or octet is eight bits. A nybble is four bits, or half a byte. In ASCII, each character is seven bits, which fit into a byte, the leftover bit being unused or 0. Unicode, in its most common form called UTF-16, uses 16 bits, or two bytes, or four nybbles, for each character. Each hexadecimal digit represents a nybble, as follows: 0=0000; 1=0001; 2=0010; 3=0011; 4=0100; 5=0101; 6=0110; 7=0111; 8=1000; 9=1001; a=1010; b=1011; c=1100; d=1101; e=1110; f=1111. If you can figure out, from this note and the preceding paragraph, what character the bits 1000 1101 1110 1111 represent, you’re on the road to becoming a digit-head.)

Starting with Unicode version 3.1, five-digit codes have been assigned to tens of thousands of rare Chinese characters that couldn’t all fit in the four-digit range.

Why would Unicode numbers be of interest to a student of Chinese? You may find that you never need to know anything about these codes. If you’re not interested, feel free to skip this section. On the other hand, sometimes it is helpful to have some understanding of how software works “under the hood.” You may encounter some rare Chinese character, and have questions about whether it is included in Wenlin, or in Unicode, or in some font that you’d like to use. (The Unicode Consortium’s website is at [www.unicode.org].)

The Unicode number of a Chinese character is indicated inside its dictionary entry. There is also an Advanced Option to “Include Unicode Scalar Values (USV) in Zìdiǎn entry titles”.

The primary range for Chinese characters is 4e00 to 9fa5. Additional ranges for rare Chinese characters are 3400 to 4db5 (“Extension A”), 20000 to 2a6d6 (“Extension B”), 2a700 to 2b734 (“Extension C”), and 2b740 to 2b81d (“Extension D”). The Unicode Standard also provides “private use areas”, including the range from e000 to efff which Wenlin uses for some rare/nonstandard characters, graphical components and special symbols.

To list characters in order of their Unicode numbers, do the following:

• Choose Characters by Unicode from the List menu
A dialog box appears
• Enter a character, or a hexadecimal number, in the dialog box
The default value is 4e00 (for the character 一 ‘one’)
• Choose OK
A window opens containing a list of Unicode numbers and characters

If you enter the character 耳 (ěr ‘ear’), or its code, 8033, the list starts like this:

List charsbyuni er3.jpg

You can scroll up or down to see more of the list. You can also type hexadecimal numbers, and the window will scroll to the corresponding position. (Pausing for more than one second between digits causes all but the last digit to be forgotten. For example, if you type 1234 the list will scroll to 1234, but if you type 12 and then pause more than one second before typing 34, the list will scroll to 0034.)

The Chinese characters in Unicode are ordered by the 214 radicals. 耳 itself is a radical, so in this list all the characters contain 耳. Note, however, that some rare characters with this radical are located in one of the CJK Extensions (A-D; mentioned earlier in this section), and therefore are not to be found where you would expect in this list. A better way to look up characters by radical is described below in Characters by Radical.

Characters by Radical

There are three lists of Chinese Radicals:

Each of these lists provides a way to use a known radical in order to locate a needed character classified under that radical.

Sometimes a given character may be classified under several different radicals, in which case, there are multiple starting points which arrive at the same character.

But what is a radical, and is it the same as a component?


A radical is a special component of a character that determines where the character is located in a traditional dictionary. (Radicals are also known as keys or, in Chinese, 部首 bùshǒu, literally ‘section heads’.) To look up a character in a dictionary based on radicals, you need to examine the character, identify its radical, turn to that radical’s section in the dictionary, and search for the character. (Characters with the same radical are ordered by stroke count.)

For example, 木 is the radical of 橡, which means that 橡 would be located in a section of characters containing 木, such as 本, 未, 末, 李, 杏 (but not 呆), 林, 果, 相, 查, and 橡. The main challenge is identifying the radical. How did we know that the radical of 橡 is 木 rather than 象? As we explained in the introduction, 木 is signific in 橡, and 象 is phonetic in 橡. A radical is more likely to be a signific component than a phonetic component – and a radical is more likely to be on the left side than the right side. Also, if you’re familiar with all 214 radicals, then you know that 象 isn’t one of them.

For a more difficult example, suppose you’re trying to look up the character 古, which contains two components: 十 and 口, both of which are among the 214 radicals. Which one is the radical of 古? You can only find out by trial and error. (Wenlin will tell you, if you look in the dictionary entry for 古, but that’s putting the cart before the horse.) Answer: 口 is the radical. Compare 杏, whose radical is 木; and 呆, whose radical is 口. Different dictionaries disagree about radicals; it’s a matter of convention. Wenlin generally follows the Unicode standard, which is generally based on the famous 《康熙字典》 Kangxi dictionary published in 1716. In a few cases, Wenlin lists the same character under more than one radical, but we haven’t (yet) had time to do this for most of the characters in which the radical isn’t obvious.

Considering these difficulties, you may often prefer the method of finding a character from any of its main components, regardless of which one is the radical, as described in Characters Containing Components. Nevertheless, you may find the radical method useful, especially when the radical is obvious, as it often is.

  • To look up a character in Wenlin by radical, first figure out what its radical is. Then choose Radicals by Stroke Count from the List menu, and find the radical there according to its stroke count and stroke types (as described in Radicals by Stroke Count).
  • Alternatively, if you’ve memorized the radical number (which would be impressive!), you can choose Radicals by Number 1-214 from the List menu, and find the radical there according to its number (as described in Radicals by Stroke Number). Either way, having found the radical,
• Click on the radical

A window opens showing a list of characters that contain that radical. This new list is ordered by residual stroke count, which is the stroke count a character would have if all of its radical strokes were removed. (For example, the residual stroke count of 橡 is eleven, which is the stroke count of 象, which is the portion of 橡 that remains when 木 is removed.) Characters with the same residual stroke count are ordered by the stroke types of their residual (non-radical) strokes. The same five stroke types are used for this purpose as in Characters by Stroke Count (see above).

This list is affected by the Hanzi Filter... option (described in Chapter 2 and below); keep this in mind if you’re looking for a rare character that might be filtered out.

The illustration below shows the list obtained by clicking on the ‘heart’ radical. The first characters shown are forms of the radical itself: the primary form 心 and the variant form 忄 (both of which are considered to have residual stroke count zero). Next are characters with one residual stroke. Notice that 必 precedes 忆 in accordance with the type (of the Five 札 Zha Stroke Types) of their initial strokes (丿 precedes 乙). For related information, see Looking Up Vocabulary by Radical.


List rad heart.jpg

(Partial list shown)

Radicals by Stroke Count

To obtain this list, choose Radicals by Stroke Count from the List menu. A window opens with a list of the 214 radicals and their variant forms.

List radsbystrokecount.jpg

(Partial list shown)

By clicking on one of the radicals in this list, you can obtain a list of characters that are indexed by that radical, as explained in the previous section. Radicals with the same stroke count are ordered by their initial strokes, according to the five stroke types described in Characters by Stroke Count. Different forms of the same radical appear separately according to their respective stroke counts. For example, radical 64 (‘hand’) is under 扌 three strokes as well as 手 four strokes.

Wenlin takes a conservative approach to radicals. (Please excuse the pun!) The reason is practical: although the system of 214 radicals isn’t ideal, none of the many other systems has achieved widespread usage. (Maybe none of them is ideal.) Wenlin follows the most popular and traditional convention, and makes it easier to use by providing an arrangement that takes into account not only the stroke counts but also the stroke types, and by including traditional variant forms, such as 扌 and 忄, as well as simplified forms, such as 讠 and 纟 (which have been used in handwriting for many centuries, but formerly were rarely printed). Of course, Wenlin also provides the traditional ordering, as described in the following section.

Radicals by Number

Choose Radicals by number 1-214 from the List menu to obtain a list of the 214 radicals that have been used to organize many dictionaries, starting with 《字汇》 Zìhuì in the 15th century, and including the famous 《康熙字典》 Kāngxī Dictionary published in 1716.

List radsbynum colorful.png

(Radicals by Number 1-214, “Colorful” option enabled)

By clicking on one of the radicals in this list, you can obtain a list of characters that are indexed by that radical, as explained above. The order of the radicals is by the stroke count of each radical’s primary form. The order of radicals with the same stroke count is fairly arbitrary, but fixed by convention. Variant forms of radicals are not shown; for example, the three-stroke form 扌 of radical 64 (‘hand’) is treated as identical to the four-stroke primary form 手, and only the primary form is shown in this list. Until you’ve learned the different forms of each radical, it may not be obvious to you, for example, that to find 扌 you need to look under 手. See Radicals by stroke count above for an alternative list that includes 扌 separately.

The order depends on how strokes were counted by particular lexicographers several centuries ago, which in several cases differs from the modern standard stroke count. For example, radical 98 ( 瓦 ‘tile’) is now written with four strokes, but in this list it’s located among the five-stroke radicals (compare ⽡). Again, you may find Radicals by Stroke Count easier to use unless you already know the number of the radical you’re seeking.

The first Chinese dictionary (《说文解字》 Shuōwén Jiězì, 121 A.D.) used a very different set of 540 radicals (see Shuowen Seal Radicals below). Modern dictionaries, especially those for simple form characters, use a variety of radical systems. Nevertheless, the traditional arrangement of 214 has been used in more dictionaries than any other, and is the basis for ordering Chinese characters in Unicode. Some people even memorize the numbers of some or all of the 214 radicals.

Shuowen Seal Radicals

To see this interactive list, choose Shuowen Seal Radicals from the List menu.

List Seal Radicals.jpg

(Partial list shown)

The complete list contains the 540 seal radicals of the Eastern Han Dynasty (121 A.D.) work 《说文解字》 Shuōwén Jiězì, the first comprehensive Chinese character dictionary.

Clicking on any of the 540 seal radicals (in red), opens a new window containing the list of all seal characters classified under that radical. A total of 10,706 seal characters are classified in Wenlin’s primary Qing Dynasty edition of Shuowen. Some seal radicals classify very many characters, while others only classify very few. Can you find any seal radical that only classifies itself? Hint: Strangely, there are 22 of these! In fact, there are a total of 86 seal radicals each of which classifies only 1 character beside itself (Cook 2003:307). For this and other reasons, the Shuowen system of seal classifiers is a very inefficient means of finding seal characters. But Wenlin’s implementation helps to remedy that.

[New in 4.2] The list of Shuowen Seal Radicals now includes the Song-style form (Unicode Best Match) in parentheses after each seal character. Clicking on any Song-style character (in black) opens the Zidian database window for that Song-style character.

Note: Red seal character colorization here (as elsewhere) is controlled by an Advanced Option.

Zidian entries for Seal characters also contain a Radical button.

▷《說文解字·注》部首

Pressing that button will also display the list of seal characters under that radical.

Wenlin’s Seal font is licensed from its creator, Dr. Richard Cook. For more information see Chapter 14.

List Words by ...

There are several ways to list Chinese words, some of which are accessible from the List menu.

There are three ways to list Chinese words (accessible from the List menu):

Additional ways to list Chinese words (not accessible from the List menu):

There are two ways to list English words.

An additional way to list Chinese words (not accessible from the List menu):

Graded Word Lists for both Chinese and English are available (accessible from the List menu):

Each of word list is discussed separately.

Words by Pinyin

To obtain a list of all the words or phrases with a given pronunciation:

• Choose Words by Pinyin from the List menu
A dialog box appears
• Place a pinyin string (or one or more starting letters) in the dialog box
• Choose OK

A window opens listing all the entries with the given pronunciation. The list goes on to include all the subsequent entries, in alphabetical order.

List charsbypinyin yiyi.jpg

(Partial list shown, Simple Form Characters option on)

Notice that all the entries pronounced yiyi are grouped together and ordered according to the tones. When two or more entries have identical pronunciations, including identical tones, they are marked with raised numbers, in order of frequency of usage. The ordering is the same as in the printed ABC Dictionary.

You can scroll up or down to see more entries. You can also type letters, and the window will scroll to the corresponding position. (Pausing for more than one second between letters causes all but the last letter to be forgotten. For example, if you type mingbai the list will scroll to míngbai 明白, but if you type ming and then pause more than one second before typing bai, the list will scroll to bāi 掰.) If you type a number after a syllable, it is treated as a tone mark; for example, you can type bai3 to scroll to the entry for bǎi 百.

The toolbar button 词 (or 詞) produces the same list, but without a dialog box. It starts with at the position for cidian (for cídiǎn 词典 ‘dictionary’), and you can type letters to move to a different position.

Words by Frequency

As with single characters, Wenlin ranks Chinese words by statistical frequency of usage, to help you organize your studies. These statistics are part of the dictionary entries of common words, expressed in terms of how many times the word occurs per million characters of “average” text.

To see a list of words ordered by frequency, choose Words by Frequency from the List menu.

List charsbyfreq.jpg

(Partial list shown)

When you choose Words by Frequency, the very beginning of the list is always shown – there are no additional parameters to enter. You can scroll down to see more. Notice that the three most common words are all single syllables: de, le, and yi. Further down, the list contains more and more polysyllabic words, as shown in the next illustration.

List charsbyfreq keyi.jpg

A wide variety of texts, and even transcripts of spoken language, were used to calculate these statistics, published in 《现代汉语频率词典》 by a team of linguists in Beijing in 1985 (and digitized for Wenlin by Richard Cook in 1994). Appendix A gives details. You can open up, in a new window, the dictionary entry of any word on the list, by pressing the triangle button next to it; the frequency statistic for the word is shown in that window.

Words by Serial Number

By choosing Words by Serial Number from the List menu, you can see a list of Cídiǎn entries ordered by their serial numbers. A dialog box asks you to type the starting letter(s) or digit(s). The serial numbers are of interest to workers on the dictionary; if you don’t modify the dictionary, you will probably not have any use for this list. If you do add new Cídiǎn entries, you can give them serial numbers that all start with the same sequence of letters (for example, your initials), so that they will all appear consecutively when you list them.

English Words Alphabetically

This is an alphabetical list of all the English words in Wenlin’s ABC English-Chinese dictionary. Each line is the top line definition of that word’s dictionary entry, so you will see the Chinese translations. You can view this list from any starting point, by typing a letter, a sequence of letters, or a word in the dialog box. To obtain this list:

• Choose English Words Alphabetically from the List menu
A dialog box appears
• Place the starting letter(s) in the dialog box (the default is “a”)
• Choose OK

A window opens with an alphabetical list.

List charsbyabc forest.jpg

You can open the complete dictionary entry of any word by clicking on it or pressing the triangle button next to it.

You can scroll up or down to see more entries. You can also type letters, and the window will scroll to the corresponding position. (Pausing for more than one second between letters causes all but the last letter to be forgotten. For example, if you type maybe the list will scroll to maybe, but if you type may and then pause more than one second before typing be, the list will scroll to be.)

The toolbar button 英 (as in 英文 Yīngwén ‘English’) produces the same list, but without a dialog box. It starts with at the position for English, and you can type letters to move to a different position.

Graded Word Lists

To see graded (beginning, intermediate, advanced...) lists of Chinese and English vocabulary, choose Graded Word Lists from the List menu; or, click on a notation like {A}, {B}, {C}, {D}, {E}, ... in any dictionary entry.

This opens a window with links to the various lists, related to the HSK (Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì 汉语水平考试) test of Chinese-language ability, etc.

Words with a Given Character

Wenlin provides special lists to help you explore vocabulary containing a given character. There are three variant listings, the first of which is most general.

  • The most general list is Words Containing: this item presents a list of all polysyllabic words have the given character anywhere in the word. (At the character level, this is rather like the Characters Containing Components item discussed above.)

The other two lists are more specific.

  • The Words Ending With list presents only those words which end with the given character.

Explore any of these lists by scrolling or searching (for key words, or with regex).

Words Containing a Given Character

You can request this list with the ▷list words containing... button inside the dictionary entry of any character (it is not accessible with the List menu).

For example, in the dictionary entry of 字 ‘character’, you will find:

▷list words containing 字 (most common first)
• Press the triangle button, and a window opens:

List wordscontaining zi4.png

(Partial list, Simple Form Characters option on)

There are over 900 words containing 字 in the dictionary. The list is organized by frequency – the most common words are presented first. The first seven all happen to be words in which 字 is the second character, not the first. As you’ll see in the next section, the dictionary has only about 200 words that start with 字.

As with any list of words, you can open up the complete dictionary entry of any word by pressing the triangle button next to it.

This type of list is unique to Wenlin; most dictionaries only list words that start with a given character. Listing all the words that contain a given character would at least double the size of an ordinary dictionary, so it is rarely done. But it is a valuable capability, since a character’s meaning is best demonstrated by the common words in which it occurs.

Words Starting with a Given Character

This list is available inside the dictionary entry of any character. For example, inside the entry of 字 you will find

▷list words starting with 字 (in alphabetical order)
• Press the triangle button, and a window opens:

List wordsstarting zi4.png

(Partial list, Simple Form Characters option on)

If you were to scroll down, there would be close to 200 words in this particular list. The list is alphabetical, using the rules of alphabetical ordering of the ABC Dictionary. For example, in the list of words containing the character 作 (which has two common pronunciations, zuó and zuò, depending on the word in which it occurs), the word 作风 zuòfēng precedes the word 作料 zuóliao. The tone would only affect the ordering if the words were alphabetically identical. Thus, in the same list, 作伐 zuòfá precedes 作法 zuòfǎ.

Words Ending with a Given Character

New in 4.2:

You can request this list with the ▷list words ending with... button inside the dictionary entry of any character (it is not accessible with the List menu).

For example, in the dictionary entry of 字 ‘character’, you will find:

▷list words ending with 字 (most common first)
• Press the triangle button, and a window opens:

List wordsending zi4.png

(Partial list, Simple Form Characters option on)

Some 356 words (polysyllables) end in the character 字, and the most common words are given first; explore the full list by scrolling or searching (for key words, or with regex).

Numbers

Can you count from zero to a billion in Chinese? To see this list, choose Numbers from the List menu. A dialog box prompts you for a starting number. A window then opens with a list, using Arabic numerals, Chinese characters, and pinyin.

List numbers.jpg

You can scroll up or down to see more numbers. You can also type numbers, and the window will scroll to the corresponding position. (Pausing for more than one second between digits causes all but the last digit to be forgotten. For example, if you type 1234 the list will scroll to 1234, but if you type 12 and then pause more than one second before typing 34, the list will scroll to 34.)

Counting in Chinese is simple and logical (even more so than in English, which requires memorization of words like “twelve” and “twenty”). There are a few subtleties to be aware of:

Líng ‘zero’ is used between digits: 103 yībǎi líng sān; 4005 sìqiān líng wǔ. Líng is never doubled, except when reading digit-by-digit as in telephone numbers, or years like 2002: èr-líng-líng-èr nián.

‘one’ when written in pinyin always has the first tone, even though when followed by a fourth tone syllable the actual pronunciation is often second tone (), and when followed by a first, second, or third tone syllable the actual pronunciation is often fourth tone (). The number written is much larger: 亿[億] ‘hundred million’.

‘Ten’ is normally shí, but it is yīshí after bǎi ‘hundred’: 612 liùbǎi yīshí'èr.

‘Ten thousand’ is yīwàn, not shíqiān; Chinese groups digits by fours, not by threes. For example, 123456789 is spoken as 1,2345,6789 in Chinese, but 123,456,789 in English. In fact, China follows the international three-digit convention when writing Arabic numerals; but when speaking Chinese, or writing it in characters, you must groups digits by fours.

一亿二千三百四十五万六千七百八十九
一億二千三百四十五萬六千七百八十九
yīyì èrqiān sānbǎi sìshíwǔ wàn liùqiān qībǎi bāshíjiǔ
(one hundred twenty-three million four hundred fifty-six thousand seven hundred eighty-nine)

The Hanzi Filter Option

The Hanzi Filter... option in the Options menu (described in Chapter 2) affects lists of characters by pinyin, stroke count, components, or radical. Unless it is set to All Hanzi, it prevents entries for rare characters from appearing in the affected lists. It doesn’t prevent a rare character from appearing inside the entry for a common character (for example, in parentheses, to show a simple/full/variant form of the head character).

The Simple Form Characters Option

The Simple Form Characters option affects only one list, Characters by Pinyin, in an essential way: if the option is on, simple form characters are listed, otherwise full form characters are listed.

The option also affects lists of Cídiǎn entries, in a more superficial way. A list of words shows a definition of each word, that always includes both full form and simple form characters. If the Simple Form Characters option is on, then the simple forms are first, followed by the full forms in brackets. Otherwise the full forms are first, followed by the simple forms in brackets.

Modifying Lists

While viewing a list, you might notice a definition that you would like to change, or you might want to add a vocabulary item that should be on the list, but isn’t. Chapter 9 explains how to edit dictionary entries. As far as lists are concerned, the main idea to be aware of is that you never edit a list directly. Instead, you edit or create the individual dictionaries entries from which the list is assembled. In fact, lists are not stored anywhere permanently. Wenlin always assembles them “from scratch” at the time you request them.

For example, suppose you’re looking at a list of words containing a particular character, and you want to add a word that should be in the list, but isn’t. What you need to do is create a Cídiǎn entry for the word, as explained in Chapter 9. You don’t do anything to the list directly; once you have added the word to the dictionary, the word will automatically be included in all the lists where it belongs.

Another possibility is that you might want to customize a list for your own private purposes. You can copy all the text from a list window into a document window, edit it as you please, save it in a file, and print it on paper. Please note, however, that in order to protect the University of Hawaii’s copyright in the ABC Dictionary, Wenlin does not allow you to copy the list of words by pinyin; but you can open a window for any single entry in the list (by clicking on its triangle button), and copy the text of that single entry.

Xiwangmu.jpg

西王母 Xīwángmǔ ‘Queen Mother of the West’


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