Smart Characters Radical and Stroke Dictionary


The RadStrok.dic traditional radical and stroke dictionary enables quick lookup of unfamiliar Chinese characters via the 214 traditional Chinese character radicals.

The dictionary is implemented as a Smart Characters hypertext document. A hypertext document contains hyperlinks (hot buttons) to jump from one section of a document to another. The dictionary can be accessed in one of two ways: manually using File | Open, or automatically by selecting Translate | Reference Dictionary (press Shift+F2).

You can switch between the dictionary and other document windows clicking with the mouse, or by selecting from the Window menu. You can edit RadStrok.dic like any Smart Characters hypertext document: see Editing Hypertext in the User's Guide. See also Installing RadStrok.dic.

Instructions for Smart Characters for Windows

(Click for instructions for Smart Characters for Students)

  1. Select Translate | Reference Dictionary (press Shift+F2) to open the current reference dictionary (i.e., RadStrok.dic), into a new document window, or, if already open, bring its window to the top. When you first open RadStrok.dic, you will see brief directions. Select the Radical Index hot button to display the radical index.
  2. If the window not displaying the radical index, press Ctrl+F5 (Return to Anchor) to return to the radical index, or press Ctrl+PageUp to go to the beginning of the dictionary, then select Radical Index.
  3. You can use RadStrok for both Chinese and Japanese lookups according to the open dictionaries. Use Translate | Select Dictionaries to make sure that the desired dictionaries are open.

Radicals in the radical index are arranged by the number of strokes in their traditional radical form. Many radicals are simplified, and will be found in their simplified form along with their original forms, which generally have more strokes. The RadStrok dictionary is supplied with radicals grouped under their traditional forms as an aid to learning and association with traditional forms (you can add entries under the simplified forms if you wish, but see Compile the Hypertext). To look up a character:

  1. Examine the character. What component parts is it composed of? Identify which components are traditional radicals, and select the most likely one as the radical for this character. Consult a printed radical dictionary (e.g., the Nelson Character Dictionary) for an explanation of radicals.
  2. Count the number of strokes in component you have selected as the most likely radical. Search the radical index for the radical beginning with entries containing the counted number of strokes.
  3. If you cannot find a radical, search for it under its traditional form, which generally has more strokes. An apparent three stroke radical could correspond to a traditional 6 stroke radical.
  4. After you have found what may be the correct radical, click on it, or highlight it using the arrow keys and press Enter. Smart Characters jumps to the character entries under that radical to display a list of characters containing that radical in stroke order.
  5. Count the number of strokes in the character left over when the radical is removed. Look under that number (plus or minus, depending on your accuracy) for the compete character. (Some characters are marked with flags to indicate their status: 'j' indicates Japanese-only characters, 'c' indicates rare Chinese characters, and 'u' indicates formerly separate characters that have been unified.)
  6. If you cannot find the character, select another component as the next most likely radical, and try again. If you have run out of possibilities, see Can't Find the Character.
  7. If you find the character, click the Hypertext button on the toolbar (or set View | Display Mode | Hypertext to Hide) to turn off hypertext, and display an insertion point (flashing text cursor). Click the mouse or use the arrow keys to position the insertion point just after the character so that it and its character number displays in the hidden characters window.
  8. Select Translate | Lookup Word or Phrase, use the Right Mouse button speed menu Query command, or press F2 to display a list of pronunciations, words, and phrases that use that character derived from the reverse and user dictionaries. Alternately, instead of using the reverse dictionary, select Translate | Search Dictionaries or press Alt+F2 to search the all the open dictionaries.
  9. Examine the entries to see whether you have found part of a compound word, or just one syllable. Highlight the closest or most useful entry and press Enter or Click with the mouse to copy the entry to the internal clipboard. If there are no entries, see Not Found in the Reverse Dictionary.
  10. Switch to your working document window, and press Ctrl+V to paste the entry into your text.

You can further examine or use the additional entries at any time by selecting them from the list window. Besides using hypertext to navigate, you can also scroll through the dictionary using PageUp and PageDn as in any Smart Characters hypertext document. To go back to a previous position before a jump, select Edit | Return to Anchor or press Crtl+F5. To remember a position to go back to, select Edit | Drop Anchor or press Shift+F5. Both of these commands also appear on the Right Mouse button speed menu.

Not Found in the Reverse Dictionary

If the character you looked up is not in the reverse dictionary, or in your word and phrase dictionary, you may wish to add it to your User dictionary. When working in Japanese, remember that most of the characters in the 0:Combined symbol set are either not in Japanese use at all, or are very rare. Switch to the Chinese dictionaries (Translate | Select Dictionaries | Chinese) if you are curious.

Can't Find the Character

If you cannot find the character under the first radical you chose, look for it under another. Some Chinese characters are grouped under radicals that would be the second or third choice for a non-native speaker. A couple are under radicals that seem to make no sense at all. You may wish to add such entries to the dictionary under their more plausible first choice entries, like the Nelson dictionary "mercy entries."

The last possibility is that a very rare character is not in the 0:Combined symbol set levels I and II. You can browse the level II characters in a native symbol set to find rare characters that are not in the 0:Combined symbol set. To browse native level II characters, install the corresponding native font. Native bitmap fonts (24 points) are available at no charge from Customer Service and elsewhere on the internet. Open the font, navigate to the level II section (all level 1 characters are in the Combined code space). JIS level II characters are arranged in radical and stroke order. Big Five level II characters are arranged in stroke and radical order.

You can add user characters to the dictionary using standard text entry techniques. You should remove the pronunciation and gloss data. See Compile the Hypertext.

Compile the Hypertext

Whenever you add to the dictionary, you should save it, then re-compile it using Translate | Compile Hypertext, otherwise, the hypertext links will be imprecise and unreliable (although still usable).

Instructions for using Smart Characters for Students

Read the instructions for using Smart Characters for Windows for general tips.

To remember a position to go back to, press Shift+F4.


Installing RadStrok.dic

To install, run the installation program Inst-rs.bat (if you do not have a copy of Inst-rs.bat, see Extracting the Install Program):

  1. At a DOS prompt, change to the directory which contains the dictionary archive RadStr??.zip.
  2. Type Inst-rs c and press Enter (substitute for 'c' the drive letter that contains the \Sc directory containing Smart Characters).
  3. If Smart Characters for Students launches, optionally read the documentation, then quit the program and close the DOS box. (The install program also installs the dictionary into the Student version.)
  4. Launch Smart Characters for Windows. Select Translate | Select Dictionaries, and enter RadStrok.dic into the Reference dictionary edit control.

Extracting the Install Program

If you did not receive a disk containing the install program along with the dictionary archive, you can extract the install program from the dictionary archive, where it is included in encrypted form. To extract the install program:

  1. Call Customer Service or e-mail /contact for the decryption key. It is case sensitive, so write it down carefully.
  2. Determine which version of the dictionary you have. At a DOS prompt, change directory to the directory containing the dictionary archive file (RadStr??.zip), and type dir radstr*.zip and press Enter. Write down the file name and version number.
  3. Extract the install program Inst-rs.bat by entering c:\sc\unzip RadStr?? -sDecryptionKey *.bat where c:\sc is your Smart Characters directory containing the UnZip program, ?? is the version number found above, and DecryptionKey is the decryption key obtained from Customer Service.

Unfamiliar with the Chinese or Japanese languages? See background information for a discussion of the terms and concepts used in Far East languages.

Need more info? Try the Customer Service Page or E-mail to Apropos Customer Service

Apropos Customer Service home page 617-648-2041
Last Modified: August 28, 1996

Copyright © 1996 Apropos, Inc.