Use your PC to Master Japanese and Chinese
View the Example Document
For users with regular VGA screens (e.g., laptops), View Normal is
the most convenient way to work. Those with super VGA screens may find it
agreeable to work in other views and zooms. For the sake of the tutorial, leave
the display in View Normal and the zoom at Margin Width or
- Open the example document file named Gundam.jp0 in the
sc\jpn directory. See Retrieving the First Lesson.
- Click the window maximize button to maximize the window. Select View |
Page Layout to display top and bottom margins, headers, footers, and
- Select View | Zoom | Fit Page to display the entire page in tiny
type, then View | Zoom | Page Width to zoom the display to fit in the
window, showing the left and right margins, then finally View | Zoom |
Margin Width to zoom the display to the page margins.
- Select View | Normal to display the page at the current zoom
setting without top and bottom margins, headers, footers, or footnotes.
Scroll through the Document
display of furigana (tiny hiragana characters) above each Chinese character,
and the embedded display of English glosses (short translations called
notes). In margin width zoom, these notes continue past the right
margin on a VGA screen, making the line length somewhat too long for the
window, so practice scrolling horizontally. Of course, you could click the
scroll bars on the window bottom and right, but instead, practice using the
- Scroll through the document using Page Up and Page Down.
Note that the line with the insertion point scrolls independently of
the rest of the window. This allows you to work on the current line without
scrolling the entire window.
- Press Scroll Lock, then press the Right and Left arrow keys to scroll
horizontally. Press the Up and Down arrow keys to scroll vertically one
- Press End to move a window full to the right, and finally, Home to set the
left window edge to the page left edge. Leave the window in the Home position.
Press Scroll Lock again to turn it off.
Scroll the Current Line
Notice that the window shows only a part of each horizontal line. It is
frequently useful to work on a document using a small window that shows only a
portion of the line. Here's how to scroll the window as you work:
- Use the mouse or the arrow keys to move the insertion point to a full
line, then press the End key. Observe that the
(the line with the insertion point) scrolls to the left, and the insertion
point moves to the end of the line.
- Select View | Redraw Window, click the Redraw Window button
(the button with a box around a yellow circle), press F9, or press the Right
Mouse button to display the speed menu, and select Redraw Window. Note
that the window scrolls to match the current line.
- Press the Home key, and observe that the line scrolls to the right, and
that the insertion point moves to the beginning of the line, which is now at
the window edge. Select Redraw Window to align the rest of the window
(which now exactly matches the margins).
If you are a fluent speaker, consider how to annotate your documents so that
the least skilled in your office can cut, paste, and substitute text for
everyday correspondence with native Japanese.
Text displays in this style when importing from another word
processor (fortunately, you can add annotations to existing text). Also, you
would set the display like this intentionally to prepare for printing or faxing
to a native speaker, or for use by a native speaker, who might be
confused or annoyed by the annotations!
- Click the scholar/student (or expert/novice) button turn annotations off
(or select View | Annotations). Note the changes: the word wrap changes
to reflect the removal of the
variable word spacing(4-
and the line height changes as the pronunciations and glosses no longer occupy
Even though the
annotations are not visible, they are still present. For example, the variable
word spacing allows you to select a word by double clicking the mouse. Try it:
- Try to read the text without annotations. This is the view fluent users
will select to work in, and, one day, you will too.
(If you cannot double click, consider increasing the double
click time using Program Manager Main | Control Panel | Mouse |
Double Click Speed.)
- Double click with the mouse on portions of the text, and observe the
highlighting. Observe the hidden characters window, and the choice of word
boundaries. You can insert a word separator wherever you want by pressing the
It is not necessary to turn everything off at once; each annotation has its own
set of formatting controls. To experiment, first turn the annotations back on:
- Use any method to turn annotations back on.
Notes Display Off
Notes interfere with our appreciation of Japanese, so turn them off:
- Select Format | Annotations and note the choices for Notes
Placement: Off, Inline, Right, Above, and Below. Set
it to Off, then select OK. Observe the display with just furigana
and word spacing.
Pronunciation Display Off
Turn off the pronunciation display:
tried to read the text according to the above example, you now have some
familiarity with it, and may even be able to read it, depending on your
proficiency. The point is that word spacing alone is a speed up for advanced
- Set Format | Annotations | Pronunciation to Off. While we're
in the Annotations Format dialog, set Horizontal Spacing | Pts
Word to a more obvious value of 5 points. Select OK.
Word Spacing Off, Pronunciation On
- Set Format | Annotations | Pts Word to 0 to turn off word
spacing, and set pronunciation (furigana) Above. Try to pronounce and
read the text without the notes.
- Reset the Format | Annotations dialog so that Pts Word is 4,
and that Notes are set to Below.
Probing the Hidden Characters
Look at the text. Nervous? Relax. We don't need furigana
to decipher the pronunciation of a Chinese character, just probe the character
with the insertion point, and let the
window show you its secrets.
- Use any method to turn annotations Off again to make for a more
- Use the Arrow Keys to move the insertion point to a kanji (Chinese
character) until it becomes visible in the hidden characters window. Press
Alt+Left (press and hold an Alt key, press Left, then release the Alt key) to
reveal the character's pronunciation. Note that both romaji and hiragana are
visible, and that both the hidden characters window title bar and the object
type indicators on the status line at the bottom of the main frame window show
- Remember this rule: Smart Characters furigana are hiragana text
objects that immediately precede a kanji text object. You can edit furigana as
you would any other text. However, to get the insertion point to a furigana
object, you need to remember to press the Alt+Arrow keys.
- Use the Alt+Arrow keys to probe the other objects. Probe the punctuation.
Find the notes glosses.
- Remember this second rule: notes are notes text objects that
immediately precede a collection of objects (a word) of various types.
Smart Characters notes objects delimit (separate) words in non-roman languages
(e.g., Japanese). You can edit notes in the same way as furigana.
Entering Chinese characters begins by typing some sort of key that identifies
the characters you wish to write. Smart Characters supports a variety of key
types. The most widely used key uses pronunciations to identify matching
characters. The desired characters are then selected and pasted into the
The insertion point works with the hidden characters window to automatically
(without highlighting) select text as keys for dictionary lookup. The
automatically selected text is the portion of the current text object to the
left of the solid cursor in the hidden characters window. You can look
up this text in the on-line dictionaries.
The dictionaries searched depends on the
type of the current text object displayed in the hidden characters window.
pronunciation objects are searched for in the syllable, word, and
dictionaries. Notes objects are searched for in the
Chinese characters are searched for in the
If you have not installed translating or reverse dictionaries, or if you
specifically request it, Smart Characters will emulate them by searching the
available on-line dictionaries, which takes some time. Chinese objects use
corresponding Chinese dictionaries, and English objects are searched for in the
English word dictionary (e.g., an optional thesaurus).
- Select Translate | Select Dictionaries to display a list of on line
dictionaries for Japanese. If the
dictionary language set(4-
is not set to Japanese, backtrack to the Set up a Workspace section, and
set up the Japanese dictionaries.
- Select Cancel to close the Select Dictionaries dialog.
A Character Reference
In order to learn more about a Chinese character, use Translate | Lookup
Word or Phrase to list each entry that uses that character. This function
always searches your
The number in the
window is the character's document symbol set number and
You can view and edit the corresponding fonts using Hanzi/Kanji | Browse
- Press Right to move the insertion point one or more positions to the right
until you notice that the object type indicator on the hidden characters window
shows Chars or Bchars (short for binary characters, or
If you have
to wait, observe the Searching for dialog, which shows the dictionaries
being searched and the progress made. You can stop searching if you get
impatient, and work with the matches found to that point.
- Select Translate | Lookup Word or Phrase to get a list of words and
phrases that use the character, and its various pronunciations.
If you have installed a
the list of words and phrases is instantaneous. If not, Lookup Word and
Phrase uses the
command to emulate a reverse dictionary. The Translate | Search
Dictionaries menu selection forces this emulation.
The Search Results in the List Window
After the search is completed, the
window appears with the results of the search.
If you had hidden the list window, open
it now (its title has changed to Copy to Clipboard from List, but its
window number is always 5) and position it so that you can easily read
it. If you cannot find the list window, use Window | Tile Vertically to
begin the arrangement.
- Note that the original Gundam.jp0 document is no longer maximized,
but is rather as large as a child window can be without being maximized.
Adjust the position, size, and zoom of this and the list window to suit (large
zooms are easier to read). Leave the list window activated: click the list
window title bar or press Alt+W-5.
If you prefer black and white to color, select the View | Display Mode |
Black & White.
The text has been
copied into the internal clipboard (not the Windows clipboard), ready for
pasting. The internal clipboard is used for speed.
- Test and observe the behavior of the mouse in the list window. The hand
cursor means that the mouse will select the highlighted entry, rather than
position a text insertion point. Note also that the toolbar hypertext
button (a lightening bolt) is depressed, indicating hypertext (not editing)
- Select one of the more complex multiple-kanji entries from the
list. Highlight it and click or press Enter. The original document regains
activation and moves to the top, and the list window title changes to Paste
into Document, but nothing else changes. Of course, if the Lesson1 window
covers the list window, you will not see its title.
Pasting a Selection
is faster and more precise to get to the beginning and end of a line by
pressing Home and End than by using the arrow keys or mouse.
- Position the insertion point at the end of a short paragraph: press the Up
and Down arrow keys until you get to a short line, then press End to get to the
end. Observe the ^M.13 hard line break on the status line, which
means you are at the end of a paragraph (^J.10 is a soft line
break, which indicates the end of a word wrap line in a paragraph).
- Press Ctrl+V or Insert to insert the entry and its associated notes from
the internal clipboard into the text. Note that the notes are not aligned to
the pasted object. Try all four methods of redrawing the line: press F10, click
the redraw line toolbar button (a circle with a line through it), select
View | Redraw Line, and Redraw Line from the Right Mouse button
Directly from the List Window
Typically, most selections from the list window paste directly into the
document without going through the internal clipboard. When querying a
character, however, it is almost certain that the insertion point is not
properly positioned to paste the selection, hence the additional step of
copying to the clipboard to allow you to move the insertion point and then
It's informative to repeat the
choose-reference-select-insert process on different Chinese characters
from the newly inserted entry, exploring how these characters form words and
compounds. Do that now on your own, using the following alternatives to the
- Leave the insertion point in a reasonable place and switch back to the
list window, now titled Paste into Document, and select a few more
entries. Note how they automatically paste into the document. Also note how the
first mouse click activates the list window, and how the second pastes the text
and activates the working document window.
- Position the insertion point, click the dictionary button (an open
book) on the toolbar, make a selection, position the insertion point, and paste.
- Repeat the previous step using Query from the Right MOUSE button
speed menu, then using F2.
Looking up English Glosses
Our curiosity piqued, let's see what the dictionaries have to say about the
English word dog. Thinking for a second, English words appear in the
dictionaries as glosses to the Japanese or Chinese entries. A gloss is
an equivalent word or phrase. Glosses are represented in Smart Characters by
notes objects, so we will look for notes objects containing the word
If the notes input mode does not appear,
select Keyboard | Setup and set Notes Input Mode to
F12, Side + -.
- Go to the end of a short line by pressing End. If you wish, make a new
line by pressing Enter.
- Press F12 (or Side + or -) repeatedly until input mode indicator displays
Notes, and the insertion point changes to a musical notes (
symbol. Because this type of visual pun may be obscure to non-native English
speakers, make a note of it!
All dictionary glosses except proper names are in lower case, so enter the word
in lower case.
- Type dog. Note the cursor at the end of the word dog in the hidden
- Select Translate | Lookup Word or Phrase, or Query from the
speed menu, click the dictionary icon, or press F2 to look for dog.
- Select an entry from the list and press Enter. The entry is automatically
substituted for the notes gloss, with no additional paste step needed.
Normal Text Entry via Pronunciation
The two methods of entering text demonstrated previously, character reference
and translation, are useful for times when you have forgotten a word, but they
are far too slow for normal typing. Additionally, they interrupt your train of
thought from your primary goal: the well-formed expression of a thought in
Japanese. The benefit of these tools is that they minimize this interruption.
The preferred mode of text entry is via the pronunciations of the words in a
sentence, so that your typing is similar to typing English, where you
concentrate on what and how you are trying to say something, rather than trying
to remember a word or, worse, the mechanics of entering it into the computer.
Smart Characters offers two basic internal methods for entering Chinese
characters, lookup On Request, and Incremental Match, and the
ability to install and use native front end processors that you may be
familiar with already. On request is the simplest method to use. Type a
pronunciation, press a key, and pick the correct kanji. Incremental
match creates a list as you type, and has a variety of preference options
to control the list format and location, and the keys used to select from the
list, to begin new words, etc. Separate front end processors for native
speakers sometimes go a step further and convert entire sentences typed in kana
to kanji or katakana automatically in the background as you type. After every
sentence or so, you go back and correct the errors in kanji selection made by
the FEP. For experienced and fluent users, this method is the fastest of all.
We will start by demonstrating the on request method:
- Select Translate | Auto Input Method to invoke the Chinese
Character Input Method dialog. Select On Request. Click the
Setup button and note that there are no preferences to set for this
Entering Kanji by Request
Enter the kanji for I or me, which is watashi in Japanese.
There are many ways this particular kanji may be pronounced, so we will also
illustrate changing the pronunciation from watakushi to watashi.
Note that the title bar in the hidden characters window still
displays English, and that input mode and object type indicator
- Press Enter twice to make two new lines, then press the Up arrow key to
position the insertion point at the beginning of the line.
- Press Side + or - (or F12) repeatedly until input mode indicator displays
Romaji >> Hiragana, and the insertion point changes to a hiragana
symbol. If the hiragana input mode does not appear, select Keyboard |
Setup and set Hiragana Input Mode to F12, Side +
... English - ^M - 13 ! Romaji >> Hiragana
This indicates a number of things: 1) that the insertion point is in an English
object (in this case the beginning of a line), that the insertion point is on a
hard line break (^M 13), and that the current object type
(English) does not match ("!") the current input mode
(Romaji >> Hiragana). The hidden characters window is
blank, because English is never hidden.
Notice the Target Not Found message in
the list window. No watashi, eh? (It was removed just for these
tutorials.) Try watakushi instead:
- Type wa-ta-si to enter the word (you could have also typed watashi). As
you type, note the display both on the screen and in the hidden characters
window of the hiragana corresponding to the romaji.
- Select Translate | Lookup Syllable to search the
dictionary. Note and remember the keyboard shortcut for this dictionary
Note the list
of kanji with the desired sound in the list window. Locate, highlight, and
press Enter to select the desired kanji (the only one). In general, when
looking for characters:
- If necessary, press Esc (or click with the mouse) to reactivate the
original document window.
- Press BackSpace (not Left) to delete the shi, then type kushi (or
kusi) to form watakushi in the hidden characters window.
- Press LeftShift+Space (press and hold the left Shift key, press
Space, and release the LeftShift key) to look up a syllable.
Notice that the character is now inserted into
the text at the current insertion point location. The pronunciation now
displays as furigana. Sometimes the furigana is truncated at the insertion
point. To save time, Smart Characters does not update pronunciations and notes
as you type, but you can redraw the line as desired:
- If you see the correct character and it is not already highlighted, press
the arrow keys to highlight it, then press Enter to select it. With long lists,
it's easier to click on the character with the mouse.
- If you do not see the character on the list, press Esc to reactivate the
original document window.
- Press F10, the redraw line toolbar button, or select Redraw
Line from the speed menu to redraw the line.
Editing the Pronunciation
Because we wanted watashi, we must edit the furigana:
way, watashi was removed from the syllable dictionary for the purpose of
this exercise. Make a note to add it back later. In the meantime, you can find
watashi in the word and phrase dictionary.
- Press Alt+Left to reveal the pronunciation. The original hiragana
watakushi appears in the hidden characters window.
- Press BackSpace (not Left arrow) twice to delete shi and ku.
- Make sure that the input mode is Romaji >> Hiragana. Type s
to begin shi. Note how the furigana switches to simple hiragana during the
typing. You have access to the beginning of the pronunciation at this point.
- Finish shi by typing hi, correcting the pronunciation in the hidden
characters window. The hiragana display disappears, leaving the prior furigana
still showing in the text.
- Press F10 to redraw the line and display the correct furigana.
Cleaning the Line
In the following example, as you type, notice how long furigana travels with
the insertion point:
- Press End to get to the end of the line, then type ha to get the Japanese
particle wa (one of the few irregularities of the Japanese language).
- Press F10 to redraw the line and display the correct furigana.
Using the Word and Phrase Dictionary
Add a long phrase using the word and phrase dictionary. We will look up
joseikaiho meaning women's liberation:
If it displays additional characters to the left of
josei, use the arrow keys to position the insertion point to the left of
jo, and press Space to insert a word separator, then press End or use
the arrow keys until josei displays correctly. The characters to the
left of the cursor in the hidden characters window will be given to the
dictionaries to search for matching entries.
- Press End to get to the end of the line, or otherwise position the
insertion point where you want it (i.e. not between a furigana entry and
a Chinese character).
- Make sure that you are in Romaji >> Hiragana input mode. Use
the Side Plus or Side Minus (or F12) keys to accomplish this, or use the
hiragana code key (^W).
- Type josei, the first part of joseikaiho. Note that the hidden
characters window displays josei, possibly preceded by other hiragana
Sometimes it is hard to
remember the exactly "spelling" for a Japanese word, especially ones that have
(or may have) elongated vowels. Methods for fluent speakers generally
require exact spellings.
- Press F2 or select Translate | Lookup Word or Phrase from the
word and phrase(4-
- Press Enter to select the correct entry.
Entering a Shifted Pronunciation
Consider the Japanese word shigoto
meaning work or occupation. Let's not access it using the word and phrase
dictionary, but rather syllable by syllable:
There is no match, because goto is not in the syllable
dictionary. Indeed, it is not a listed form of the desired kanji. This is
because the pronunciations of the kanji frequently change when they are in
compounds. All is not lost, however:
- Position the insertion point, and get into Romaji >> Hiragana
- Type si, then press LeftShift+Space to search the syllable dictionary.
Notice a long list of shis. Select the correct entry (
to insert the Chinese character into the text. Note that the si becomes
- Type goto, then press LeftShift+Space for the syllable dictionary. If you
have arranged the list window to be able to see it while looking at your
working document, you would see only Target not found messages. Note
that the activation did not jump to the list window, so there is no need to
Lookup Similar Syllable.(3-
function to automatically remove shifts when entering kanji via a syllable
dictionary. Native speakers have trained themselves to enter the unshifted
version automatically, but this process depends on knowing whether the syllable
is shifted or not, and requires later editing of the furigana.
- Press RightShift+Space (hold the Right Shift key) to query the syllable
dictionary with the unshifted pronunciation. A list of kanji that match
koto appears. Koto is goto with the shift removed.
- Select the correct entry.
Make it a Word
Now that we have constructed a kanji out of two syllables, we are inclined to
move on to something else. However, consider adding word spacing to words and
English annotations to words you create. Word spacing allows rapid word
insertion point movement using Ctrl+Left and Ctrl+Right, and enables word
selection by mouse double clicking, which is handy for drag and drop editing.
Annotations help you or others less fluent read the text later. Further,
consider adding the newly-annotated word to either your
or both, for rapid future lookup and participation in the query functions.
is already in the word and phrase dictionaries, we will use it as an example
that almost everyone is familiar with.
If you were working at the end of a line, notice that a small word
space was added when you pressed the o key in occupation. Spacing is not
added to the beginning of a line or column. Notes objects begin words, and the
notes object type code, which precedes every notes object, acts as the Asian
variable word spacing(4-
You can adjust the width of the separator using Format | Annotations |
Horizontal Spacing | Pts Word. Turning annotations off suppresses word
- Position the insertion point to just before the shi character, and
switch to notes input mode. Type the words occupation; profession.
Separate occupation and profession by a semicolon and a space, which is the
Smart Characters convention for separating two glosses for the same
Add the Word to the User Dictionary
Every business or hobby has its own technical terms. These terms number in the
tens or hundreds of thousands, and it is not practical to publish a dictionary
with all words included. Consequently, you will encounter many candidates for
inclusion into your
Note that your entry is at the top of the list (above the standard
dictionary entry). Also note that your entry may be better-formed than the
published dictionary, with the furigana correctly apportioned between the
- Double click shigoto with the mouse to select it (make it
highlighted). Double clicking works only if shigoto is surrounded by
word separators, or line breaks. Otherwise, click and drag using the mouse, or
press and hold the Shift key while moving the arrow keys to make the selection.
To be sure to include the notes object at the beginning of the word, begin the
selection before the
variable word space(4-
on the left.
- Select Translate | Add Selection to User Dictionary to invoke the
Verify Dictionary or Glossary Entry dialog. Verify the pronunciation and
the glosses, then select OK to enter the word into your user dictionary.
- Test the entry by typing shigoto in the working document window,
and selecting Query from the Right Mouse button speed menu, or pressing
The user dictionary is automatically saved when you quit
a project or change dictionaries.
- Select your entry, and further select one of the glosses for pasting into
the working document.
- Take a look at the new entry in your user dictionary:
- Select Window | 2 to display the user dictionary, then press
Ctrl+PageDn to scroll to the end. View your new entry, then minimize the user
Add the Word to the Dynamic Glossary
Now that shigoto is documented in your
add it to your
so that you can access it by typing Work. But first, play with the
sample entries to get an idea of what a dynamic glossary does:
that the first examples were in lower case, but that Sy has a capitalized S.
This is required because sy begins the Japanese romaji syo, and would
prevent using that spelling (sho would still work).
- Position the insertion point on a new line, switch to hiragana input mode,
and type cs in lower case (all keyboards are case sensitive), and see one
technician's idea of our organization's name. Type in succession fsk, ps, cj,
and Sy to get a list of developers who worked on Smart Characters.
provide extremely rapid text entry compared to any other method. Don't limit
your use to just common words. Include longer names and addresses that you use
over and over again. The maximum glossary key length is 4 characters (i.e.,
Works is too long), and you can have up to 1000 glossary items.
- Double click the new shigoto with the mouse (the one with only one
gloss) to select it (make it highlighted). Since the purpose of a dynamic
glossary is to speed things up, we have selected the gloss that we would prefer
to use most of the time.
- Select Keyboard | Add Selection to Dynamic Glossary to invoke the
Verify Dictionary or Glossary Entry dialog. Verify the pronunciation,
and the glosses, and assign the glossary key Work. Don't forget to capitalize
the W to prevent interference with the wo (
kana (make a note that wo is the particle `o'). Select OK to
enter the word into your dynamic glossary. Done!
- Test the entry by typing Work in the working document window:
shigoto and its gloss appear immediately.
Take a look at the new entries in your
glossary file. The dynamic glossary that matches the input mode of your
dictionary language set(4-
(and your active
is automatically loaded into a permanent document window whenever you change
dictionary language sets.
- Try a few more examples (such as your name and address, hello and
good-bye, etc.) on your own.
- Select Window | 3 to display the dynamic glossary window, then
press Ctrl+PageDn to scroll to the end. Observe your new entries. Minimize the
dynamic glossary window.
that matches the input mode of the active
dictionary language set(4-
(and your active
is automatically loaded into permanent document window 3 whenever you
change dictionary language sets. This dynamic glossary is automatically saved
when you quit a project.
Unlike the user dictionary, the dynamic glossaries for other alphabetic input
modes (e.g., the Chinese Pinyin>>Bpmf and Pinyin>>Pinyin) are
always active, but are not loaded into a permanent document window. They can be
edited using Keyboard | Setup | (destination mode) | Glossary, which
loads the glossary file into a new document window for viewing or editing.
Entries can be pasted from another glossary, or entered by hand in the format
<key><entry>. Use File | Save to activate the new entries.
Entering the nn Character
To illustrate a few irregularities, enter the simple sentence Tanaka san wa
nihon e ikimasu, meaning Mr. or Ms Tanaka is going to Japan. First of all,
make a few new lines:
Although you may enter
kanji as you go, it may be easier on your train of thought to enter the entire
line in kana, then convert to kanji later as a separate step:
- Press Enter a few times to make some new lines, then Up arrow to position
the insertion point at the beginning of a line.
Smart Characters does not yet know that you want the
Japanese "nn" sound. You might want na ni nu
ne or no. You get the small n by pressing the single quote key (
` ) , or by typing a key other than a, i, u, e, or
- Switch to hiragana input mode and type tanaka-san. Note the small romaji
`n' on the screen.
- Press Single Quote ( ` ) to get the Japanese "
In this case, you could have simply typed the h from he to end
the nn and begin the he.
The particle wa is written with the hiragana ha, and the particle
e is written with he:
You now have a compete sentence in hiragana. Convert
tanaka, nihon, and ikimasu to kanji:
- Type ha-nihon-he-ikimasu (don't type the hyphens). Press Period to finish
Try the Word Dictionary First
When converting a word, try the word and phrase dictionary search first, which
also searches your
If you cannot find the entry, you must convert syllable by syllable, as in the
Note that it is far easier to
press the space bar as you type, rather than afterwards.
- Use the mouse to select tanaka, press the Right Mouse button and
select Query. Use the mouse to click on the correct tanaka.
Tanaka in kanji is now substituted for the hiragana.
- Press Right twice to position the insertion point to after san and
before ha. Observe the hidden characters window. Press Space to add a
word separator, and split the current large object into two pieces. Note the
new object in the hidden characters window.
- Press Right once to position the insertion point to after ha. Press
Space to add a word separator, and split the current large object into two
pieces. Note the new object in the hidden characters window beginning with
- Press Right three times to position the insertion point to after
nihon. Press F2 to lookup the word with the pronunciation to the
left of the cursor in the hidden characters window, and use the Arrow keys
to highlight then press Enter select the correct kanji.
Japanese Dictionary Form
Now for a quick lesson on Japanese verbs. Each verb has more forms
(conjugations) than you can shake a stick at, so the dictionaries contain verbs
in their dictionary form only. Likewise, adverbs are shown as their
adjective counterparts. Although Smart Characters includes a
de-inflection module to convert inflected forms to dictionary form, it
does not handle all combinations of all inflections, especially multiple
colloquial inflections. For homonyms with lots of possible writings, it is
frequently faster to look up the dictionary form which minimizes the number of
entries in the list window.
Because beginning Japanese teaches the polite forms first (beginners should use
polite forms), beginning students are generally unaware of the dictionary forms
of the verbs they have learned. Now is the time to learn.
The dictionary form of
ikimasu is iku. We will add the ku, convert the kanji, and
delete the ku, just as you would do if looking it up in a printed
- Insert a word separator after e (he), and try
ikimasu. It's not there!
The hidden characters window shows iku. The dictionary
functions always translate the characters to the left of the cursor in
the hidden characters window.
- Press Right arrow until ikimasu is visible in the hidden characters
window, and the insertion point is positioned between the i and the
ki. Make sure the input mode indicator reads Romaji >>
- Type ku.
Characters recognizes most Japanese inflections and verb stems, so this
procedure is necessary only in unusual circumstances. Normally, you can work
from the verb stem (the portion before masu):
- Press LeftShift+Space to search the syllable dictionary, and select the
correct entry (the first one).
- Press BackSpace to delete the extra ku.
The word and phrase list shows inflected forms at
the end of the list. You can get to the end of a large list by pressing
- Type ikimasu again, then position the insertion point after the iki
verb stem. Press F2 or select Query from the mouse speed menu. Select
paste it into the text.
Adjusting Word Spacing
Stereotypically, native speakers, advanced students, and purists hate word
spacing. They prefer to read and write characters in fixed grid arrays, which
has the (minor) benefit of allowing for a precise character count simply by
counting lines. Generally, word spacing is used only in textbooks, where the
parsing of a sentence into words is one of the major tasks students must
master. Smart Characters accommodates both camps by making word spacing
adjustable, removing the need to insert fixed spaces into a document. Let's
Nihon was originally double spaced because a word separator
was automatically inserted by the word and phrase dictionary, but Smart
Characters removed the extra empty word separator when you redrew the window.
Tanaka is not indented, even though it does have a word separator,
because it is at the beginning of the line.
- Select Format | Annotations | Pts Word space. The default value is
4 points. Change this to 12. Note the rather large word
When you submit an essay or send or fax a letter, turn off word spacing to
avoid the impression that you are ignorant of customary practice:
- Select View | Annotations or click the scholar/student
(a.k.a. expert/novice) toolbar button to turn annotations off. View the
text as would be read by a recipient, completely unaware of the annotations
Entering Chinese Characters
Let's switch to Chinese for a change of pace. Write wo3 shi4 mei3 guo2
or I am an American. The numbers are tones, which specify a
particular vocal pitch and modulation.
- Open Jpn\Lesson1.jp0. Scroll to the end, but before the Chinese
example, which has fixed character space codes to increase the hanzi
(Chinese for kanji) spacing. Position the insertion point on the blank line
above the example.
- Select Translate | Select Dictionaries | Chinese to open the
Chinese dictionaries. Chinese uses pinyin (like romaji) or
bopomofo (the native Chinese alphabet, like kana) to spell words. The
traditional Chinese syllable dictionary converts pinyin or bopomofo to
traditional Chinese characters.
Set up Pinyin
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.
Note the list of Chinese characters with the
desired sound in the list window. Locate and select the desired character (the
- Because pinyin is not a preferred input mode, you cannot access it
using F12 or the Side + - keys. Select Keyboard | Setup | Pinyin and
verify that pinyin access is set to Ctrl+Key Only. You could set it to
F12, Side + -, but for the sake of the example, don't.
- Although you could use the control key Ctrl+N to access pinyin, it
is somewhat safer and easier to remember to pick it from the Right Mouse button
speed menu. Do so now. The input mode indicator displays Pinyin >>
Pinyin (the conversion step activates the
- Press w-o-3 to enter the Chinese word for I and me.
Because pinyin is ambiguous, it frequently requires a tone (a number from 1 to
5 or 9) to resolve ambiguities.
- Select Translate | Lookup Syllable to search the syllable
dictionary. Note and remember the keyboard shortcut for this dictionary
- Highlight the character, then press Enter to select it. If the character
had not been on the list, you would have pressed Esc to reactivate the working
Pinyin and Bopomofo are Interchangeable
Notice that the character is now inserted into the text at the insertion point
location, and that the current object type is now bChars (short for
- Type sh4 to enter the word for is or am. Press
LeftShift+Space to get a dictionary listing. Select the first character. The
pinyin pronunciation shifts to above the line, and extends beyond the
character, and will travel with the insertion point, making a mess.
- Enter mei3guo2ren2, then use the word and phrase dictionary to get the
three Chinese characters meaning American (person). Finish up: press the
- Switch to notes input mode and add the glosses missing from the two
syllable lookups: I and am. Remember to add them before the
syllables. Note the added word spacing.
- Press F10, click the toolbar button, or select Redraw Line from the
speed menu to redraw the line, and clean up the pinyin pronunciations.
Displaying Chinese Pronunciation
The pronunciation display requires different handling in Chinese than in
Japanese. You may wish to change the character formatting so that
pronunciations are displayed below the Chinese characters, and glosses
- Select Format | Annotations and set Pronunciation Placement
to Below, Notes Placement to Above, and Pts. Char
to 0 (we are illustrating adding fixed space), then select OK.
Note that pronunciations are displayed below the Chinese characters, and extend
beyond the end of the original line. Doesn't the Japanese look strange?
Fixed vs. Variable Character Space
Because Chinese does not contain alphabetic characters, additional fixed or
variable character space must be added to align pronunciations with the
matching Chinese characters. Try the version 2.9 fixed style:
- Position the insertion point at the beginning of the newly-typed Chinese
sentence, then select Format | Character to invoke the Character
Format dialog. This dialog is really three dialogs in one, controlled by
the Font Group selection. Use the Arrow keys or click the radio button
to set Font Group to Chinese Characters.
- Set Chinese character Spacing to 6 points of spacing after each
Chinese character, and note the behavior of the pronunciations. Return the
fixed space to 2 points.
- Use Format | Annotations to set 3.0 style variable character
spacing of 4 and 8 points, then toggle annotations on and off.
Pinyin to Bopomofo
Take a look at the document using bopomofo instead of pinyin pronunciations:
If you want to use
bopomofo, you can set up the bopomofo keyboard to do so. Alternatively,
Format | Annotations | Roman Style can be set to enter, search, and
display pinyin in a variety of styles. See Romanization Display and
- Select Format | Annotations and set Roman Style to
- Note the Input Mode conflicts with Annotations dialog, which pops
up to remind you that you are in a circular input modality in which what you
type converts to something else. Select Ignore.
Reopen Japanese Dictionaries
If you had opened the Chinese dictionaries, reopen the Japanese dictionaries:
- Set Dictionary | Select Dictionaries | Dictionary Language to
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