Tools for learning to understand

with a focus on Chinese Character Learning

Learn 2 Understand provides tools to make learning, and understanding, easier.

For Chinese character learning, the main focus is on tools to make finding, inputting and learning-to-understand Simplified and Traditional Chinese characters easier.

Published: 2021 07 17

Learning to Read and Input Chinese characters

Two of the biggest challenges with learning Chinese characters is looking them up and inputting them. With a language like English, looking up is easy because words are listed in dictionaries alphabetically. Likewise, entering words in a search engine or translation device is also easy because we know the basic elements, letters, required to input those words.

With Chinese characters, whether simplified or traditional, both looking up and inputting them are difficult because both require pre-knowledge of the character, whether it is its radical, pronounciation or stroke count.

Character maps are designed to overcome both of these problems.

Character maps use the Easy Shape Lookup System (aka Chinsym for Chinese symbols) to make Chinese Characters easy to lookup. The indexes for this lookup system are consistently based on a specific element of a character and the grouping of these elements into 12 easy-to-recognize shapes, each with up to 16 related sub-groups.

Initial element indexes uses the first element of each character for indexing. This includes the S1 index for Simplified Chinese characters and the E1 index for Traditional Chinese characters. ("E" is for easy look-up.)

Final element indexes use the final element for indexing. This includes the S3 and E3 index for Simplified Chinese characters and Traditional Chinese characters respectively.

Making character lookup easy solves only one part of the problem.

The cangjie input system is a free input system available on both mac and windows operating systems. It's a shape based input system which means that you don't need to know a characters pronounciation to input it. Plus, once you've learned the basics of this system, it's relatively easy to enter any character.

Character maps make looking up characters easy. Combined with cangjie input codes for both simplified and traditional Chinese characters, they also make learning the Cangjie input system less frustrating.

Character maps are also come with English definitions and Mandarin pronunciation using pinyin.

Because the Cangjie input system is itself an indexing system, character maps are also available with cangjie code indexing.

S1 series for Simplified Chinese characters

Check out the s1 series of character maps. Each set indexes 6912 Simplified Chinese characters with options for Cangjie input codes, English definitions and mandarin phonetics (using pinyin).