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Getting Started with Smart Characters
in Chinese

Chinese Tutorials

These are the Chinese introductory tutorials. If you are interested in Japanese rather than Chinese, by all means begin with Getting Started with Smart Characters in Japanese in Chapter 2J, which closely mirrors these tutorials.

Step by Step Instructions

This chapter is devoted to walking you through many of the major functions offered by Smart Characters. The level of instructional detail is quite high for the first two lessons, with essentially every keystroke explicitly stated. Later tutorials allow more freedom, with the user expected to be able to perform more and more complex functions following a functional description alone. The topics range from beginning to intermediate with certain advanced topics suggested for further study at the end of the chapter.

One Japanese, Many Chinese

Smart Characters works with both Japanese and several different flavors of Chinese. While the Japanese system has been standardized for years, there are many competing writing systems in Chinese, all of which are supported by the Smart Characters system. For example, you can use traditional or simplified characters, hanyu pinyin or zhuinfuhao (commonly known as bopomofo, abbreviated Bpmf), and Beijing (Mandarin) or Cantonese pronunciations. You can select the appropriate choice from any of these dimensions. This lesson uses the standard Chinese configuration: traditional characters keyed to Mandarin pronunciations represented in bopomofo and pinyin.

Pinyin Tutorials

Pinyin is far more widely taught and used than bopomofo. Although bopomofo is far superior to pinyin for learning spoken Chinese, bopomofo is not taught in mainland China, and it's tough to argue with a billion Chinese. Accordingly, this tutorial emphasizes pinyin. However, after completing this pinyin tutorial, we strongly recommend that you take the time to learn bopomofo (the introductory lesson Bopomofo.cv0 teaches the symbols in about 45 minutes), and give it a try. Because pinyin is an ambiguous romanization of the sounds of Chinese, the confusion and irregularity of pinyin disappears when using bopomofo, which is exact. Furthermore, a knowledge of bopomofo also helps when working in pinyin.

Using Other Systems

The Simplified Character Font accessory allows you to use both simplified and traditional characters in the same document. Although the standard bopomofo dictionaries display and work with pinyin, pinyin dictionaries offer a (misleading) roman- based half- syllable partial match capability (e.g., ta partially matches tang in pinyin, but there is no a in the bopomofo ang).

Lesson Format

These lessons contain keys to press, things to note and observe, and suggestions of alternate ways to accomplish the same task. Please read one sentence or paragraph ahead so that you know what to expect as you press the indicated keys.

The lesson format follows a tutorial. Tasks are named by a topic heading followed by a brief overview of what you are trying to accomplish. The necessary steps are then described in general terms followed by specific step by step instructions that divide the task into individual keystrokes. When it is not obvious, you are directed to note some element on the screen to verify that you have correctly completed a step. Finally, additional commentary or alternate procedures are described when appropriate.

If You Make a Mistake

Because these lessons are interactive, they are not totally foolproof. From time to time, you will be asked to make a choice, or you may press the wrong key. If your choice turns out to be not what you wanted, or you want to try again, try pressing BackSpace or Esc to recover. Extreme situations may require selecting Cancel or Quit. In a menu or dialog, select Help or press F1 for help. Try not to panic, and resist the urge to press Ctrl+Alt+Delete! When you do recover, you may have to go back a topic or more to get into synchronization with the lesson.

Use the Cross References

Take advantage of the hypertext(D- - 4) links in the help system and the printed manual. If you are interested in further exploration of a topic, turn to the page number indicated by the tiny numbers following a topic reference, and satisfy your curiosity.

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Last Modified: March 23, 1996

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