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11 Декабря, №3

If you don't read in Russian...
   Well, You may read it in English (if I can clearly write in English :).

    It's short description of toolkit that allow anybody easily to master such difficult subject as Chinese Character writing. But, I think, it's not easy - it's very easy. Just look here.

    So now, each Chinese character (let's call it "hieroglyph" for brevity) consist of some simple characters ("graphs" for brevity too), for example: hieroglyph 人 ("man" or "person") consist of one graph 人, hieroglyph 从 (" to join ", apart from other meanings) consist of two graphs 人, hieroglyph 众 ("crowd") consist of three graphs 人; as well as hieroglyph 品 ("product") consist of three graphs 口. And if I'll ask my computer to show me hieroglyph which consist of three graphs 人, it will show hieroglyph 众, but not 品, isn't it? And what will "say" my computer if I ask it to show me all hieroglyphs containing graph 人? Ok. It'll show 人, 个, and 从, and 众, and 病, and many others, and it will be more then 4 hundreds. It's hard to make proper selection from such list. But it's my computer, and I can to come to agreements with it to show hieroglyphs in some order. For example, there are only 56 hieroglyphs which contain graph 人 in first position. So, I must point graph and it position to find "wanted" hieroglyph. The simplest way to point graph position is input it in right order.

- Show me all hieroglyphs containing graph 氵 in first position. - I ask my computer.
- In first position graph 氵contains in 352 hieroglyphs. - answer it.
- Ok. But  it's too many for fast selection.
- And what's next? - asks me my computer.
- 囗.
- There are  7 hieroglyphs, which do you prefer?
I can select wanted hieroglyph in such a list, but I point last graph -  人.
- I know only one hieroglyph which has such sequence of graphs: 氵, 囗, 人, - 泅 ("swim").
- Ok. It's what I wanted.

    Well, but what can I do with , for example. It consist of 9 graphs: 马耳又丿丨丶丿丿丿, - in exact such sequence (we should describe each character in order "from top-left to bottom-right" as a rule). Should I remember that terrible sequence and point each graph one by one? No. By good fortune,  in most cases graphs set has some "information redundancy", or "superfluity". In our case, quite unexpected, for input hieroglyph 骤 ("unexpected") quite enough to point two first graphs 马 and 耳. Such short, reduced sequences we'll call "markers". In most cases marker is sequence of 2 or 3 graphs. Moreover, marker always begins from first graph of full sequence of graphs, next may be second or last graph. If marker consist of 3 graphs, it's almost always first, second and last graphs of common sequence, with very rare exceptions. Thus, we can formulate common rule: every hieroglyph can be inputted by pointing three graphs - first, second and last.

    My PC knows markers for 6683 hieroglyphs. If we look at first three thousands hieroglyphs by frequency usage, we'll see, that  in more then half (69%) of cases quite enough 2 clicks of mouse for input these hieroglyphs,  and in 25% of cases we'll need three clicks. It should say, that in 0,46% cases we'll need four clicks. It impresses, isn't it? It's not difficult to remember markers for most frequently used hieroglyphs. But if You don't want to memorize markers, You may remember a simple rule: "first, second, last", - it's enough. You'll can input overwhelming majority of hieroglyphs easily and quickly.  

    Now I present "short" or "compact" version of tools (which supposed port it on mobile devices with small screen in future). It knows 4345 Chinese characters and more then 44 thousands words consisting of these characters. Total compact version is able to enter with two clicks of the mouse 82% Character.  All of these characters described by 200 graphs. You can see  full set of graphs with more or less full set of they variants in the following table.

    It may seems bored, but it's not difficult to remember graphs, because you know most of it - it's well known for You radicals with some changes. I offer for You simple tool for remembering this graphs. It looks like this (if you have installed font Palladium):


    There are five clear training modes (Picture+ by contrast Picture offers for tutoring and testing not only main graphs but also their variants, for example, 乛, ㇆, 乚, ⺄ for graph 乙 ), but I recommend You use "Picture" or "Picture+" mode. Why? Because it's "image recognition", and You must to be able to recognize it in hieroglyphs, not to remember its names. It may be hard for first time, and You may use names for easy remembering images: 人 - person, 犬 - dog, 火 - fire. It doesn't matter: "The image is everything, the name is nothing". Ultimately You should be able recognize images. And I assure You, that after dozen lessons with Graphs Tutor, You will remember set of graphs forever and ever :)...

    Shift button shows the second half of the matrix (the same does Shift key on keyboard). Small "sticky" button "x" prevents matrix from return into initial state that allow You easy learn the second half of matrix. There is no need to describe it more - "sapienti sat".  One tip only. "In order" mode means "in order of frequency usage" (starting from the center), not one by one in matrix.

    If You well know this sequence and positions of all graphs, You'll have not problems with other tool. And don't be afraid to try all modes, all variants, it's not possible to spoil anything :).

    Let's go to main tool - WordWriter.


    It's also very simple. You select graph on graphs matrix with mouse click. It appears in graphs window. Hieroglyphs that contains this graph appear in hieroglyphs window . Add second graph to change set of hieroglyphs in hieroglyphs window. And so on. You have to find the hieroglyph you want in hieroglyphs window and put it into output window clicking on it. One "trick": if you press Ctrl-key, the first hieroglyph from hieroglyphs window will be put into output window (Transfer button does the same).  If check-box Show Words is checked, list of Chinese words that begin with first hieroglyph in hieroglyphs window, will appear in word window (right window on pane).  It makes easier input of "long words". Just click on it. Also You may click on hieroglyph in hieroglyphs window with pressed Num/? button and You'll see short information about required hieroglyph: its graphs sequence and its marker.

     Selected hieroglyphs set depends on selection mode, which you may change with selection radio-button.
    If You choose mark selection and uncheck Show Words chek-box and Your graph sequence correspond to just one hieroglyph, it will be placed into output window immediately (and this happens quite often when mark selection turn on). Located below the check-box reduce matrix (enabled by default) provides the mode of reduction of the matrix, where after entering a graph, the matrix remain active only "allowed" graphs, i.e. those which may occur at the next marker position. This reduces the likelihood of errors and random typos.

    Test it all, and You'll understand all.

    The purpose of Copy and Cut and Clear buttons is obvious :). The first two put text from output window into paste buffer and the last clears output window. You may use text from paste buffer anywhere you want.

     The dictator pane intended for phonetic input. It's not interesting for me, but You can use it if You want...


    It's not simple, it's very simple: you input syllable in pinyin (or in palladium, as on picture) and finish it by number - "tone indicator". If your syllable correspond to just one hieroglyph, it will be placed into output window immediately, if not, you'll see a set of corresponding hieroglyphs in hieroglyphs table. There are three "ways and means" to select the desired hieroglyph:
  1. navigator-keys + enter,
  2. mouse click,
  3. numeric key.
If table contains ten or less rows, simply press necessary digit-key ("0" means "10" in this case), otherwise, press and hold Alt-key, input required row number and after that release Alt-key. Try it and you will like it.

    If you want input two- or more syllabic word, no need indicate tone, finish input by space (thus, "zhongguo + space" immediately will give "中国" in output window). It's very convenient way to input polysyllabic words. If you don't like it, you may check full numeric input field, but in this case you have to input digital tone indicators and finish each input (even one-syllabic) by space. You may input initial part of syllable, one or more letters, add percent sign "%" and press space - WordWriter. shows all hieroglyphs, that pronunciation begins with your sequence. Punctuation marks inputted in bottom (input) window place into output window. And to crown it all GlyphsWriter knows how to input Chinese punctuation marks (、。「」 ) - simply hold Alt-key and type ",", ".", "<" or ">".

    You can add a new word by clicking addWord, if WordWriter "don't know" it. Just fill out all form fields and click Save.

    And (what is more important for beginners) you can use WordWriter for input unknown hieroglyphs, when You don't know its pronunciation, to load them into any computer dictionary you use. Although, for Russian users I have Chinese-Russian dictionary with both compositional and phonetic input , and it's not hard to implement  "Chinese-any language" dictionary :)...

    That's all.

    - But... How can I learn this "awful markers"? Do I need each time to press Shift-key and click mouse for each found hieroglyph to see markers? It's not convenient...
    - No, no, no.

    Next tool designed for make easier learning "awful markers" - GlyphTutor.

    To "play this game", you must prepare cards for lessons (words pane).


    First of all, You need to prepare list of lessons. Don't pay attention to strange Cyrillic characters - it's example only, and You can replace them to anything. You can add, change name, or delete any lesson. Name is text field and You may write anything into this field: "food", "numbers" "clothes" and so on. Don't forget press Save button if You change anything. Only two tips: button "/0" ("division by zero") set number of right answers during the test for chosen lessons to zero; filter sticky button filters words table on the appropriate lesson, repeated pressing remove filter.

    I have prepared for you 48 lessons based on educational texts with Russian translation. You are free to simply translate them into English or prepare their cards on the basis of any English-Chinese dictionary.
    Find required hieroglyph in words table with compositor or dictator (see description of WordWriter.), or paste hieroglyph into find field and press find button, then fill its card by edit Card button.


    Write meaning of hieroglyph and press Save Button. You can make new word or delete unnecessary one.

    Then it's time to start tutoring (test pane).

    Choose lesson in bottom lessons window (you may choose several lessons by mouse and Ctrl or Shift key ), check practice mode, click Go! and begin training. You may pass the lesson by next -> and <-prev buttons. The rest depends on you. If are you satisfied with lesson, uncheck practice mode and begin test. Depending on indicated mode, Tutor can present as a question picture (hieroglyph itself), meaning of hieroglyph, or pronunciation (in PinYin or Palladium). If You plane learn hieroglyph by picture or pronunciation, You no need fill meaning for each hieroglyph. During test you may click hint button, the Tutor outputs picture of hieroglyph, its graphs sequence and marker, but this answer won't count. You may also see little and simple log with your current mistakes (if any). Little bottom window with digit (on default = 5) determine number of right answer, after that Tutor don't presents hieroglyphs for testing.

     More complicated Selection section (see description of WordWriter.) make easier search unknown hieroglyphs, especially in preparing cards. In addition to the above, the most interesting selection mode - right selection. This mode requires special explanation. "Ingenious" and "convoluted" algorithm of this selection built thus, that the "most probable candidate" appears in hieroglyphs window first. Do you remember "Ctrl-trick"? You indicate graphs in certain order and, when required hieroglyph appears in first position, hit Ctrl. That's all. I assure you, if you will follow the simple rule: "first, second, last", - i.e. will indicate first, second and last graphs from graphs set of required hieroglyph, you will need only two clicks with probability about 75 %. Strong selections - system will select and show You exactly those hieroglyphs, in which graphs occur in exactly that sequence which You indicate in graph window.

    That's all.

    You can download these "marvellous tools" here:

    Tutor (both GraphTutor and GlyphTutor)

     and use them (or don't use) as you want :)...

    Please feel free to contact me if you need: support@poutko.ru.
        Sincerely Yours
            B. Poutko.

    The End.
    Sorry, no, not the end. Now You can test on-line version of similar tools: reduced Writer and simple Chinese-English dictionary with Compositional Input method only, without phonetic input. Short description lies here.

    Now the end.
    ...while :)..
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