At the heart of this Chinese English Dictionary is the Easy Lookup System. It is designed to make looking up any Chinese character easier, even if you don't know its radical or its sound.
If you see a character, say on a sign or in a menu, or in a picture or a book and want to look up its meaning you simply figure out which of the 12 easy lookup categories it belongs to and you go from there.
How is that easy? You don’t need to know a characters pronounciation. Nor do you need to figure out its radical.
All you need to do is figure out which one of 12 basic shapes it’s categorized under.
As an example, does your target character begin with a box shape 囗 or an upside down u shape 凵? Does it start with a horizontal line 一, a vertical one 丨, a cross shape 十 or a hat shape 八? Perhaps it begins with one of the three asymmetrical shapes: a slash 丿, a dot 丶 or a hook 𠄌.
Once you’ve figured out the category, you then refine the search. Within each category, there are up to 16 groups, all related in some way by the category shape.
Using the Box category as an example, it has 16 groups, all of which are variations of the box shape:
The horizontal (line) category also has 16 groups:
Note how they each begin with a horizontal line.
Once you've found the group, you can then look for your character in the list of characters within that group.
Save Time Looking Up Chinese Characters
Here's what one person had to say about using Easy Lookup:
Easy Lookup has been an invaluable tool to me for searching Chinese characters' meanings.
Once you start using it, you simply cannot go back to normal printed or online dictionaries. The amount of time that is saved, and the guesswork that it eliminates is just massive!
No more guessing the radical or pronunciation.
Now, I can basically look-up 10 characters or more in the same amount of time I use to spend to check only 1 character. I repeat: You cannot go back to old look-up methods after using this system!
Founder, CEO at Pizza Rock Taiwan
So once you've found your target character, what then?
Each dictionary entry includes:
- character Radical,
- Stroke count and the important stuff like it’s
- Meaning and
- Cangjie input code
And it includes words (words are two or more characters grouped together) that include that character.
The simplified form of the Chinese character, if different from the traditional form, is also included in each entry.
Note that the Cangjie input code allows you to type the character based on its shape.
The dictionary is designed so that it is easy to navigate between related characters and words (and between entries and indexes).
- From any word, you can navigate to the entry for any character within that word.
- From any character, you can navigate to any word that contains that character, whether it is the first character in the word or the last or somewhere in the middle.
- You can also navigate easily between characters that have the same first element or the same last element.
Chinese Character Lookup Made Easy
If you’ve ever had to spend any amount of time trying to look for a character using a traditional index, you know how painful it can be. This dictionary makes looking up characters easier.
You spend less time looking up a character so that you can then spend more time finding out what it actually means.
And better yet, you can easily see a character (or a word) in different contexts, making it easier to figure out its meaning.
Indexes for Traditional and Simplified Characters
The dictionary includes an Easy Lookup Index for Traditional Chinese characters and a separate Easy Lookup Index for Simplified Chinese Characters.
Both Easy Lookup indexes use 12 basic shapes with a maximum of 16 sub-shapes.
Entries contain Traditional Chinese characters and where they are different, the Simplified version of the same character.
An Initial and Final Elements Index for Traditional Characters
A Final element index is also included. This is similiar to the easy lookup system but the focus is on the final element of the character.
This can be handy if you are looking up a character with a common initial element. For example, there are lots of characters that begin with the 口 or 氵 element. For Traditional Chinese Characters that begin with these elements, it may be quicker to look it up via its final element.
Another advantage of the final element index is that it allows you to see characters with the same final element grouped together. Often these characters have the same pronounciation or they rhyme.
Cangjie Codes (for Over 7000 Traditional Characters)
The dictionary contains over 7000 character entries. It has been designed to not only make looking up Chinese characters easier, it has also been designed to help make learning and even inputting Chinese characters easy too.
It can also be a useful tool if you have Paper-based dictionaries that you still use. The dictionary makes it easy to look up characters, find their radical and stroke count so that you can then find the character easier in your paper-based dictionary.
The dictionary is in PDF form and is formatted for optimal use with desktop, laptop or tablet type devices.
Since the file size is large (26 mb), using Adobe acrobat is recommended for faster loading times.
For more on the Easy Lookup system and Chinese characters in general, please visit the Learning Chinese Symbols Made Easy website.