Previous Section Table of Contents Next Section Use your PC to Master Japanese and Chinese


Dictionary Basics

Smart Characters interfaces with a variety of on-line dictionaries. You can edit or create any dictionary. Dictionaries translate from one input mode type (the key) to one or more other types or even languages. For example, hiragana can be translated to kanji, pinyin or bopomofo to Chinese. Crucial for non-native speakers, Smart Characters dictionaries contain English translations as well as pronunciations to aid selection.

Dictionary Language Set

A language set specifies a pronunciation input mode or object type(4- 2) (e.g., hiragana, bopomofo, or pinyin) and associated dictionaries containing keys of the same type. The dictionaries you have installed for each language set are called a dictionary language set and have names descriptive of the key type, such as Japanese (Hiragana) and Chinese (Bopomofo). Only one dictionary language set can be active at a time. Smart Characters uses up to seven types of dictionaries per dictionary language set.

Syllable Dictionary

A syllable dictionary takes a pronunciation and yields a list of single Chinese characters that match the desired syllable. Chinese tone matching can be enforced or ignored. Japanese orthographic shifts can be ignored.

Word and Phrase Dictionary

A word and phrase dictionary takes a partial or exact pronunciation and yields a list of words and phrases (i.e., multiple Chinese character compounds).

User Dictionary

A user dictionary contains entries you create and maintain to provide quick access to long words and phrases, additional pronunciations for existing characters, or to document adding new characters to the user font(4- 12). Entries can use any symbol set(D- - 7) and keys can be in any input mode(4- 2).

Translating Dictionary

A translating dictionary translates from one language to another (e.g., English to Chinese).

Reverse Dictionary

A reverse dictionary uses a character number(D- - 2) as the key to yield a list of pronunciations, words, phrases, and translations that use that character.

Radical Dictionary

A radical dictionary locates unknown characters by grouping them by radical(D- - 6) and other parts. This is used to enter characters by entering their parts, but is only for those Chinese users who have not or will not learn the standard Mandarin or Cantonese pronunciations. Japanese all learn the correct pronunciations for the kanji.

Stroke Dictionary

Like a radical dictionary(4- 7), a stroke dictionary is used only when pronunciations are impractical because it requires an exact knowledge of stroke(D- - 7) order, classifying strokes by shape or direction. The resulting sequence makes a rather long key that almost uniquely defines a character. Much slower than a radical dictionary, even for experienced users, and essentially impossible for non-native speakers.

Reference Dictionary

A reference dictionary is a dictionary that is loaded into a document window for browsing using the Translate Reference Dictionary(3- 32) command. Reference dictionaries do not use a direct keystroke interface, rather they contain hypertext(D- - 4) links to allow quick jumps to topics of interest. You can install any document file for use as a reference dictionary. A radical and stroke(4- 8) dictionary is a good candidate.

Radical and Stroke Dictionary

A radical and stroke dictionary locates unknown characters by grouping them by radical(D- - 6) and then by stroke(D- - 7). This method is not suitable for keyboard input, but rather relies on a special document or window which visually displays the radicals and their associated characters. This is handy for reading books or newspapers containing legible but unfamiliar Chinese characters.

Although the Smart Characters Combined(4- 9) traditional Chinese and Japanese character set is arranged in radical and stroke order for ease of browsing (see Finding a Character in the Font(8- 1)), an accessory radical and stroke dictionary contains a radical index and groups characters by stroke under each radical, making for a much more convenient and rapid system.

External Dictionary

Smart Characters has an external dictionary(4- 8) interface for arbitrary dictionaries that are not practical to convert to the Smart Characters dictionary format (e.g., extremely large dictionaries as might be found on a CD-ROM). You can program this interface yourself. Contact Apropos Customer Service(F- - 1) for more information.

Dictionaries from Other Vendors

Additional dictionaries may become available from other vendors, who will contact you directly. If you wish, we will forward address data from your warranty registration to them for their mailing lists, or mail their promotional material to you without releasing your name.

Reverse Dictionaries are Emulated

In the event that a reverse dictionary(4- 7) or translating dictionary(4- 7) is not installed, the pronunciation (forward) dictionaries are automatically searched, entry by entry, to obtain the equivalent of a reverse or translating dictionary. This process is much slower, but takes up no additional disk space or memory. Additionally, you can force a search of the pronunciation dictionaries by selecting the Translate Search Dictionaries(3- 32) command.

Previous Section Table of Contents Next Section

Need more info? Go to the Customer Service Page. Questions or comments? E-mail to Apropos Customer Service

Apropos Customer Service home page 617-648-2041
Last Modified: March 23, 1996

Copyright © 1996 Apropos, Inc.