Guide to Array input

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Introduction to Array input[edit]

The Array input method (行列输入法 háng​liè shū​rù​fǎ) is a Chinese shape based input method. In the following it will just be called Array. This guide is intended for English speakers learning Chinese. It is based on personal experience and instructional material available online in Chinese under a creative commons license.

In shape based input methods, characters are considered to be combinations of basic elements. These elements occur frequently in different characters, and are sometimes characters by themselves. Here are some examples of basic elements occurring in different characters, in this case the characters for "day", "tree", "fire", "mountain" and "bamboo":

  • 日 => 亰 但 會
  • 木 => 傈 喳 崧
  • 火 => 惔 炭 燴
  • 山 => 喘 杣 璀
  • 竹 => 筷 籃 簀

These elements can be bound to keys on the keyboard. When typing, the elements are combined into characters. This is how shape based input methods such as Array are usually constructed. Since there are more elements than letters on the keyboard, most keys are bound to several elements.

Example: The element "亻" is bound to the K key in Array, "田" on the P key and "木" on the V key. These can then be combined into a character: 倮 by pressing the three keys "K P V" in that order and hitting space. The order is based on Chinese stroke order.

Note that the set of shapes called elements are essentially arbitrary and will vary from input method to input method. The term element itself is arbitrary and doesn't have a well defined meaning in regard to Chinese characters outside of shape based input methods (in the Cangjie input method the shapes are commonly called radicals. The term radical is avoided in this book to prevent confusion with Kangxi radicals).

Some of the elements of Array are unbroken (all the strokes are connected) such as 日(P), 木(V) and 土(R). Others are not, such as 言(Y), 心(N), 火(,), and 水(C), and their derived forms: 讠(Y), 忄(N), 灬( , ) and 氵(C). Not all the elements are characters by themselves or Kangxi radicals and some are very rarely used. For example 艹 is an element (R), it is not a character but it is a Kangxi radical, and it is used often. 鼎 minus 目 is an element (G) but neither a character nor Kangxi radical and it is rarely used.

Each elements is associated with a specific key on the keyboard:

Figure 1: Array input method keyboard - Notice that figure 1 only shows the elements needed for traditional characters. For the few extra elements needed for simplified characters, see document 2 under "Practice documents". The purpose of the Arabic numerals are explained in the section on notation.

Just like other shape based input methods such as Cangjie, Wubizixing, Dayi and Zhengma it might seem like it will be very difficult to remember all these elements and which keys they belong to. The purpose of Array input is to make the process of remembering the position of the elements easier, by creating a logical system for ordering them. As long as you can remember weather or not a collection of strokes constitutes an element, it is quite easy to figure out which key they belong to. The focus on the ordering of the elements is something that Array has in common with Wubizixing, but in Array the ordering is done differently.

Note that a few elements, like 疒 at the H key and 山 at the D key, might have to be memorized. In figure 1, such difficult elements are surrounded by square brackets, showing that they are 'shoe horned' onto that key and doesn't follow the normal logic of Array. Such exceptions will be dealt with in more dept later.

What you need to get started[edit]

Array can be used on Windows machines including Windows 7, 8 and 10. The version of Array used by Windows is version 6, which is also the version used in this guide. You can activate Array the same way you would activate the typing functions in other languages. In order to use Array and use this guide, it is necessary that the reader is familiar with the stroke order of Chinese characters.

  • To use the method on Windows 7 you can follow this guide:

http://www.wikihow.com/Change-the-Language-in-Windows-7

  • To use the method on Windows 8 you can follow this guide:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/add-language-keyboard

  • To use the method on Windows 10 you can follow this guide:

https://www.pinyinjoe.com/windows-10/windows-10-pinyin-setup.htm (The title says "Chinese Pinyin Setup in Windows 10" but dont worry. Array is one of the language options too)

Practice documents[edit]

Below are listed three documents that can be used to learn how to write using Array. The first one deals with traditional characters and the second one deals with the extra shapes you have to be familiar with to write simplified characters. The third document contain the Array codes for all the characters you are likely to run into in everyday life. You can use this document to find the codes of characters you have trouble writing.

If the link to document three doesn't work, you can find the original .rar files at: http://www.array.com.tw/BOX/BOX5.htm (look for array30...rar) (creative commons license)

Why the method is called Array[edit]

Array input has to be leaned in steps, but each step is very easy to understand and memorize. You use 30 keys of the Chinese QWERTY keyboard:

Q W E R T Y U I O P
A S D F G H J K L ;
Z X C V B N M , . /

These keys are divided into 3 rows: Top row (Q-P), middle row (A-;) and bottom row (Z-/).

And 10 columns: There is one column below each of the numbers 1-0. The number 1 column consists of the keys Q A and Z, the number 2 column consists of the keys W S and X and so on. The number 0 column consists of the keys P ; and /

These 30 keys are therefore organized in a grid that you could call an array. Why it is important to think of these 30 keys as an array of 3 rows and 10 columns will become apparent in the next few sections.

11 primitives[edit]

The way Array input tries to solve the problems of memorization, is to break up the elements (see figure 1) into a number of even more basic stroke patterns. What key an element belongs to depends on which stroke patterns are used to write it. From now on I will call these strokes patterns ”primitives”.

You need to know 11 basic primitives. They are each associated with a number from 1 to 0 and each primitive is written using the normal Chinese stroke order:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
八\ 丿

(the number 8 column have 2 primitives associated with it: 八 and \ )

The first thing you have to do to learn array is to memorize this list of 11 primitives.

In addition to these 11 basic primitives, you also need to be aware of a number of auxiliary primitives that are associated with each number. You can find them on the keys in the middle row in figure 1 (that have a number and a ”-” next to them). There are quite a lot of them but most of them look a lot like the main primitives of each column, and therefore shouldn't be that hard to remember. You probably don't have to memorize them.

In the same way that each primitive is associated with a specific column, they are also associated with a specific row: The top row (Q-P) is associated with the primitives from the numbers 0,1,2,3,4 The middle row (A-;) is associated with the primitive from the number 5 and the bottom row (Z-/) is associated with the primitives from the numbers 6,7,8,9

Using the primitives to find the element keys[edit]

You find out which key an element belongs to by looking at the first and the last primitive of each element.

The first primitive shows you which column the element belong to. For example: The element 木 belong to the number 4 column because the first primitive of 木 is 十, associated with the number 4.

The last primitive tells you which row they belong to: Within the number 4 column, the element 木 belongs to the bottom row (the V key) because the last primitive of 木 is 八, associated with the number 8.

Another example: The element 女 belong to the number 2 column because the first primitive of 女 is └, associated with the number 2. Within the number 2 column, the element 女 belongs to the top row (the W key) because the last primitive of 女 is 一, associated with the number 1.

If the element only consists of one primitive, either a basic primitive or auxiliary primitive, the element always belongs to the middle row. For example: The element 口 consists of only one primitive (itself, which belongs to the number 0 column), and therefore it belongs to the middle row of the number 0 column (the ; key).

Writing simple characters[edit]

When writing characters like 木 that are themselves elements, you only have to press the key that the element belong to and a drop down list will turn up that will show the character 木. 木 will be shown together with a number of other character that are either elements of the same key or use an element from that key. To write one of the characters you now have to press the number next to the character, just like you would in a pinyin based system. If, like 木, the character is at the top of the list, you just have to press space to write it.

Once the character appear in you text, a followup drop down list will show up (At least in the Microsoft 7 and 8 implementations). If you don't need any of the characters shown, you can either press backspace to get rid of the list, or you can ignore it and keep typing. Sometimes the drop down list will show up on top of the character you have just written. Even though it is distracting not being able to see the character, just try to ignore it. The list is supposed to be helpful once you become proficient in the system.

Note that if you are only trying to write a single character, you might have to press space twice. Otherwise hitting backspace will delete the character you have just written.

Unlike some versions of Cangjie, you wont be able to write characters without using drop down list sometimes. This is a drawback of Array input as it makes typing a bit slower. On the other hand, you probably never have to search through the list in order to find the character you want. It will show up among the 10 first choices on the list.

For more complex characters you have to rely on experience, or the element chart in figure 1, to tell you which parts of a character are elements. If you often see a specific shape in Chinese characters, it will often be an element. If not, then you might have to break it down further to find the elements.

Here are some simple examples of how to write simple characters that are not themselves elements:

Example 1: The character 干 consists of two elements. One above the other: 一 and 十. To write the character 干, you type the keys the two elements are associated with, in the order you would normally write the character: you write the element 一 first and 十 second.

Since the first shape of the element 一 is 一, the element belong to the number 1 column. Since there is only one primitive in the element, it belong to the middle row. Therefore this element specifically belongs to the A key. Following the same logic, the element 十 belongs to the number 4 column and the middle row, that is it belongs to the F key. So, if you type A and F in Array you get: 干 in the drop down list.

Example 2: The character 粒 consists of two elements. One on the left: 米 and one on the right: 立 Since you follow stroke order, you write the element 米 first and 立 second. The first primitive of the element 米 is the stroke \ (number 8). The last primitive is 八 (also number 8). This means that the element belongs to the 8th column and the 3rd row, which means it belongs on the , key. The first primitive of the second element is 、(number 6) and the last primitive is 一 (number 1). This means that the element 立 belong on the ”Y” key. So if you type ”,” and ”Y”, the character 粒 will be one of the characters that will show up in the drop down list.

Notation[edit]

When showing how to write a character, this guide uses an alphabetic notation system. It simply shows the keys you need to press to write the character. here are two other notation systems used for Array:

array.com.tw system[edit]

Examples of this system can be found here. The basic principle is to show which elements are used to write a character as precisely as possible. Even though it is possible to show how to write a character just by showing which keys to press, it is not very informative, since the key doesn't tell you which elements is used. You can say that 粒 is written with the keys ”,” and ”Y”, but that wont tell you which elements were used to write 粒. You might say that it doesn't matter since all you really have to know is which keys to press, but sometimes it is nice to know which elements were used. For example it might come in handy when you are making lists of characters that are difficult to decode. If you have a more exact system of notation, then characters with the elements 米 and 立, wont be mixed up with characters containing the elements 火 (',') and 言 ('Y') for example.

As in example 1: 干, you can sometimes write the elements directly: 一 and 十, to show which elements was used, but you cant always. This is shown in the following example:

Example: The character 叵 consists of two elements. An outer element (at the Q key) and an inner element (at the ; key).

Of the two elements in 叵, only the second element: 口(;) can be written using the appropriate key. Therefore, Array input uses a notation where each element is represented with two numbers. The first number shows the first primitive of the element, and the second shows the last primitive.

In the case of 叵, the notation is ”12” for the first element (一(1) and └(2)), and ”0-” for the second element ( 口(0) ). The horizontal stroke in ”0-” shows that the element is itself a primitive, either a basic primitive or an auxiliary primitive. So the code looks like this:

叵 [12 0-]

This means that all elements in array input can be expressed as a two digit number or a one digit number and a - sign. Many of the elements share the same number, for example the elements 立 and 亠 are both written as 61 (、(6) and 一 (1) ) but the system is more precise than simply writing the letters of the keys. Also it fits the whole concept of thinking in terms of rows and columns that forms the basis for Array input.

Here are a few examples showing both the keys used to write the character, the elements and the numbered notation: 鐘 IYPR (金立曰土 [81 61 01 41]) 麴 FKK, 十人人米[4- 8- 8- 88] or VKK, 木人人米 [48 8- 8- 88] 辯 YFYF 立十言十 [61 4- 60 4-] 檻 VQDU 木匚〡皿 [48 12 3- 71] 鑾 YXXI 言糸糸金 [60 28 28 81]

I will use these examples in the section "Deconstruction of complex characters - general principles".

The system found on Wikipedia[edit]

Figure 2: Notation found on Wikipedia. This image shows how to write the characters for "array input method"

The system shown on the Chinese Wikipedia page on Array uses a system that refer to the keys you have to press to write a character, just like the alphabetic notation system used in this guide. The difference is that the system shown on the Wikipedia page is focused on where on the keyboard each key is located on the array grid. The column is shown with a number from 1 to 0, the top row is indicated with a ^, the middle row with a - and the bottom row with a v. The code for 叵 would be 1^0- because the first part 匚 is on the q key (the first column and the top row) and 口 is on the ; key (the 0 column and the middle row).

Deconstruction of complex characters - general principles[edit]

If you look at the examples in the section on notation, you can probably guess the basic rules for writing complex character in Array. Take the character 鐘 IYPR (金立曰土 [81 61 01 41]). The elements shows that for the purpose of deconstructing a character, it doesn't matter what the character looks like. It is the stokes and the stroke order that matter. This means that the notation for last part: 里 is written 日(01 at P) and 土(41 at R) and not 田 (04 at P) and 土(41 at R) as it would be written in the Cangjie input method for example. This is because when you write 里 by hand, the first 4 strokes you write form the shape 日 which is an element. When you then continue writing the fifth stroke you get the shape 日 + 一 which is not an element, and neither is the collection of strokes you get after the sixth stroke (田 on top of 十) or after the seventh stroke (里). 日is the most complex element you get when you start writing 里 by hand. Therefore 日 should be the first element in 里. After that, the next element of 里 will be the most complex element you get when ignoring the strokes of the first element 日. These are the strokes 一 丨 and 一. 十 is an elements in Array, but since 土 is also an element, and it is more complex than 十, 土 should be the next element written.

Rule 1: When writing a character, the first element is the most complex collection of strokes that is defined as an element in the Array input system (Figure 1).

Rule 2: The following element is the most complex collection of strokes that is defined as an element, when ignoring the strokes that have already been identified as element(s).

As you can see from the following characters:

  • 麴 FKK, 十人人米[4- 8- 8- 88] or VKK, 木人人米 [48 8- 8- 88]
  • 辯 YFYF 立十言十 [61 4- 60 4-]
  • 檻 VQDU 木匚〡皿 [48 12 3- 71]
  • 鑾 YXXI 言糸糸金 [60 28 28 81]

The decomposition of complex characters is very simple as long as you know the stroke order and can identify the elements. You simply write the 3 first and the last element.

Rule 3: If a character contain more than 4 elements, it is written with the first 3 and the last element.

Deconstruction of complex characters - Official exceptions to the rules[edit]

Some of the exceptions to the rules of deconstruction are shown in figure 3, 4 and 5.

As stated in rule 1, you follow the stroke order when deciding which parts of a character constitutes an element. There are some shapes that are exceptions to this rule. These shapes are seen in figure 3:

Figure 3: Array input method - clarification chart 1

For example: If you write the characters 困, 回 or 因 by hand, you wold write it in this order: 丨 ┐ 木 一 丨 ┐ 口 一 丨 ┐ 大 一 But in Array you write the outer part of the character (囗 P ) first and then the elements inside. The codes are: 困 PV 回 P; 因 PZ


the same goes for the other elements in figure 2:

  • 匹 is written ”QS“ or “QK” 匚 儿 not “AKS“ or "ASS"
  • 巴 TDS
  • 叟 ODB
  • 甘 RA
  • 夾 ZKK
  • 來 VKK
  • 東 VP
  • 柬 V/
  • 刺 VJE
  • 巫 QKK
  • 垂 OF
  • 重 OP

To memorize figure 3, it might be helpful to invent a mnemonic story. Here is one about a worker who builds a city wall which gets bombarded by a besieging enemy:

Attempt at a story for figure 3:

A worker (工) has made a city wall (囗) out off big (大) heavy (重 minus 田) trees (木). It has 2 gaps (匚 and 彐 minus the 2nd stroke) when the mortar (臼) fires 20 times (廿).

Here is an explanation for the story. I use the Wenlin electronic dictionary for reference:

  • 工: I take 工 to mean a worker in the story (worker is 工人) even though 工 supposedly is a "Picture of a carpenter's square" –Karlgren (Wenlin).
  • 囗: I take the element 囗 from the traditional character 國. “The old character 或 depicted 口 territory defended by 一 a wall and 戈 weapons. Then 或 got surrounded by 囗, representing the borders of a nation, producing the full form 國. (或 was then borrowed for the similar sounding word huò 'or'.)” (Wenlin). Even though 囗 represented the border of a nation, I borrow it to stand for a city wall in the story.
  • 大 "big" 重 "heavy" 木 "tree" and 廿 "twenty" are self explanatory.
  • 匚 and 彐 minus the 2nd stroke have nothing to do with 囗, but pretending that they are 囗 missing a part fits the story.
  • 臼: 臼 actually means a mortar in the sense of an instrument for grinding things to powder. "This character represents a mortar; 象形。The first ones, says the Glose (说文), were holes made in the earth; hence the meanings, pit, large hole, in the compounds. Later on, the mortar was made first of wood, then later of metal" -Wieger (Wenlin).

Figure 4: Some shapes that are derived from some common element are sometimes assigned to the same key as that element, even though the strokes are not the same. Here is a chart showing those shapes and their keys:

Figure 4: Array input method - clarification chart 2

Here is an attempt at a mnemonic story for the derived shapes in figure 4:

The water-and-fire hand(1) is destroying grass(2) and fields(3). Four(4) roughian(5) come from the mid-west (西 minus 一)(6), with bent arms(7) and square spoons(8) to fight him.

This story turned out a bit silly, but when you write mnemonic stories that is usually a good thing because it makes them more memorable. Here is the explanation:

  1. Imagine a wizard who can control water and fire by waving his hand.
  2. 艹 “radical 140, component: same as 艸 and 草 cǎo 'grass'; 草字头” (Wenlin)
  3. 田 “field; 田野 tiányě open country” "Picture of a cultivated field." (Wenlin)
  4. 四 four
  5. 攵 "radical 66, component: same as 攴 pū 'beat, strike'; 反文旁 fǎnwénpáng" "Karlgren says 卜 bǔ is phonetic, and 攴=攵 is etymologically the same word as 扑 pū. The shape攵 is popularly known as 反文旁 fǎnwénpáng "reversed- 文 wén side", because of its coincidental similarity to 文 wén." (Wenlin) 夂 "radical 34, component: 'walk slowly'; 冬字头" "A foot pointing downward, originally written like 止 zhǐ upside-down." (Wenlin) Since 攵 is the same as 攴 according to Wenlin, I take it to mean someone who is fond of fist fighting, like a roughian.
  6. 西 minus 一: 西 means west, but to make the image as vivid as possible I imagine mid-west cowboys.
  7. 厶 “This graphical shape has arisen in various ways. It is related sometimes to 私 sī 'private', sometimes to 厷 (old form of 肱 gōng) and 弘.” (wenlin) As in the dictionary entry for 厷, I will take 厶 to mean a bent arm. “Originally written 厶: a bent arm. Enlarged by  (now 𠂇), picture of a right hand, giving 厷. The modern form is 肱 gōng 'upper arm', which is enlarged again by 月(肉 ròu) 'flesh'” (wenlin).
  8. 一 + └ (like 匕 spoon but square shaped, and therefore starting with a 一 stroke and not a sliding stroke like 丿).

Figure 5: Useful shapes that are assigned to keys you wouldn't necessarily have guessed.

Figure 5: Array input method - clarification chart 3

Here is a story that might help you remember figure 5:

A person is taking his first step(1) onto a mountain(2) (going on a journey). The journey passes uneventfully (skip column 4). When he reaches his destination, a house, his horse(3) trips on a stone(4) as they are about to enter a door(5). They both get sick(6) and die, and their eyes(7) how have horns poking out(8) (they fell and had their eyes pierced by some horns, maybe from a hunting trophy). Time passes (skip column 8) and now their bodies have gone and all that remains is bamboo(9), that have grown up where the dead traveler and his horse used to be. And then there is the treasure of 78 coins(10) that he came to find.

Explanation:

  1. 跟 minus 艮: 足 foot
  2. 山: Mountain
  3. 馬 minus 灬: Horse
  4. 石 Stone
  5. 戶 Door
  6. 疒 "radical 104, component: 'sick'; 病字头 bìngzìtóu" "Picture of a person lying on a bed, written sideways. The bed is on the left side." (Wenlin)
  7. 目 Eye
  8. 角 "[jiǎo] horn; corner; dime [jué] actor, role" "picture of a horn." (Wenlin)
  9. 竹 Bamboo
  10. 貝 "shellfish; cowrie; (money); 貝殻 bèiké shell" "Picture of a cowrie shell. As a component, 贝(貝) usually means 'money', because in ancient China, shells were used for money." (Wenlin) (the "treasure of 78 coins" part of the story is used because it might be hard to remember that 貝 is on the M key, while the other shapes in figure 5 is on the middle row and the story otherwise goes from left to right along the middle row).


Problems not covered by the official exceptions[edit]

Aside from the official exceptions to the rules, there are some other complications.

Complication 1: Not all computer fonts will render the characters the way that is intended in Array.

For example in the character 藹 卄言日∟ [4- 60 01 2-] , you might see some fonts where the last part look like this: 勾 勹+厶 whereas in Array the last part of 藹 should be seen as 匃 勹+人+└. To help with this problem, document 1 and 2 in the "Practice documents" section has 3 columns with characters. You can then change the fonts of the characters to whatever font you think is most appropriate. The suggested fonts are MSPMincho MingLiu and SimSun but there might be better fonts available to show how different the Chinese graphemes might look like depending on the font.

Complication 2: Note that some elements look alike, but should be considered separate.

An example is difference between 口 (an element under the ; key) and the larger element 囗 (on the P key). They are some characters where they are seen together:

個 [8- 04 4- 0-] KPF; 回 [04 0-] P; If you are familiar with Chinese characters you should be able to tell them apart.

Complication 3: For some of the elements it can be hard to tell which key to press. Even when you have memorized Figure 3 to 5.

  • Some characters can be written in different ways. For example the left side af the character 那 can be written either GZ ( 那 GZT) or GF (那 GFT). You might remember this example from the section on Notation: 麴 FKK, 十人人米[4- 8- 8- 88] or VKK, 木人人米 [48 8- 8- 88]. The interesting thing about this character is the the first code: FKK, ignores the official stroke order exception from figure 3, while the second code: VKK, follows it.
  • The bottom part of 五 seems to rightfully belong to the E key and not the T key where it is allocated.
  • Some of the shapes of column 7, like ⺈ and 刀 seems to belong to other keys based on stroke order.
  • The element 儿 seems to belong to bot the K key and the S key. When you compare 兄 ;S with 只 ;K It appears that even though figure 1 has the 儿 shape on both the S key and the K key, the K key is supposed to be for shapes that look more like 八 K
  • The element 刀 J looks like it should be on the B key like 力. Presumably it is because 刀 looks a bit like 冂.

Complication 4: Some characters doesn't show up on the drop down list

When you write a character, it will show up on a list on the screen. Sometimes there will only be one character and sometimes many. Sometimes though, the character wont show up, and instead you will see a large number of empty squares. These squares usually represent characters that your computer cant recognize, but this can also happen when writing characters that are very common. It happens to me for example when writing the character for nine 九 SL In those cases you just have to trust that you haven't made a mistake press space space to see if you have typed the correct key sequence.


The I key and simplified characters[edit]

Array input was designed for traditional Chinese characters, but has been changed so it can be used to write simplified characters as well. This change meant that more character conflicts was introduced (more characters will need the same combination of keys, leading to more characters on the drop down list which is always a nuisance). For some reason the design choice that was adopted to solve the problem was the introduction of an extra function for the I key. To write some characters, you can't just write the code normally. You have to press the I key at the end. For characters that would normally be written with 4 keys, this will mean that 5 keys has to be pressed. The 4 normal ones plus the extra I key at the end, breaking the rule that any characters can be written with no more than 4 key strokes.

Here some examples:

  • The traditional character 鏡 is written IYPS The simplified equivalent 镜 is written IYPSI
  • The character 个 should be written KD but is written KDI
  • The character 风 should be written S. but is written S.I so if a code doesn't work for a simplified character, try typing an extra i at the end.

Though the I key is mostly used for simplified characters it is not just simplified characters that are written with an extra I at the end. The traditional character 䥝 is written IYQQI This is probably to separate it from the more common character 鏕 IYQQ Since 䥝 is a very rare character, the fact that it has to be written with the I key probably wont be a problem for most people.

Some simplified characters can be written both with and without the I at the end. For example the character 温 can be written both as CPU and as CPUI (the traditional counterpart 溫 is written CPU).

Other simplified character must be written without the I at the end, for example the character 绿 XTC which is the same code as the traditional version 緑 XTC

Radicals and special shapes[edit]

You can write a number of chinese radicals and unusual shapes using Array input by pressing the relevant key 4 times. It might not be verry useful for every day typing, but it shows some of the versatility you get with graphic input systems like array, that you doesnt get with phonetic input systems like pinyin. Here is a list of the shapes you can write by pressing the associated key 4 times:

  • a 亖
  • b 尸
  • c 氵氺㣺㵘
  • d 凵屮茻
  • e 虍
  • f 廾丰卅卌
  • g 户乛戸
  • h 丶疒
  • I 钅亼亽釒䒑
  • j 冂冖卩
  • k 亻冫丷乀乁
  • l 丿勹
  • m 禸
  • n 产宀广忄辶㣺
  • o 气
  • p 囗
  • q 匕匚
  • r 㙓
  • s 几儿
  • t 彐阝
  • u 朤
  • v 朩
  • w 丱
  • x 糸爿絫
  • y 亠讠吂訁
  • z 厂
  •  ; 㗊
  • , 燚
  • . 乂 彳 豸
  • / 罒


Tips for studying[edit]

  1. Memorize the 11 primitives (so that you know how to find most elements in figure 1).
  2. Memorize the official exceptions (the 3 diagrams in figure 3, 4 and 5, perhaps by memorizing the stories).
  3. Read through the unofficial exceptions and try to keep them in mind when you type. You don't have to memorize them.
  4. Go through the spreadsheet with the traditional characters (document 1 in the "Practice documents" section) in the given order (sorted by the numbers in column A). You can print out figure 1, 3, 4, and 5 to help you if you cant deduce the elements, but try to write without looking at the answers. If you have done step 1,2 and 3, you should be able to figure out most of the codes.
  5. Once you have gone through step 4, try to go through the list again but this time you can order them randomly (sort them by the random numbers in column B).
  6. You should now be able to use the system for traditional characters without much trouble. If you primarily use simplified characters, go through step 4 and 5 again with the simplified spreadsheet (document 2 in the "Practice documents" section).
  7. To test your ability, first open the Array code document (document 3 in the "Practice documents" section). Use the document when you find a character you have trouble with: Write the character with pinyin in the search function, and the character with the correct Array code will show up. You can now either write some new text of you own or you can find a text to copy.

Good luck and have fun.

"Cheat sheet" Primitives, rules, figures and stories[edit]

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
八\ 丿
  • Rule 1: When writing a character, the first element is the most complex collection of strokes that is defined as an element in Array (Figure 1).
  • Rule 2: The following element is the most complex collection of strokes that is defined as an element, when ignoring the strokes that have already been identified as element(s).
  • Rule 3: If a character contain more than 4 elements, it is written with the first 3 and the last element.
Figure 1: Array input method - keyboard (the purpose of the Arabic numerals are explained in the section on notation)
Figure 3: Array input method - clarification chart 1

A worker (工) has made a city wall (囗) out off big (大) heavy (重 minus 田) trees (木). It has 2 gaps (匚 and 彐 minus the 2nd stroke) when the mortar (臼) fires 20 times (廿).

Figure 4: Array input method - clarification chart 2

The water-and-fire hand(1) is destroying grass(2) and fields(3). Four(4) roughian(5) come from the mid-west (西 minus 一)(6), with bent arms(7) and square spoons(8) to fight him.

Figure 5: Array input method - clarification chart 3

A person is taking his first step(1) onto a mountain(2) (going on a journey). The journey passes uneventfully (skip column 4). When he reaches his destination, a house, his horse(3) trips on a stone(4) as they are about to enter a door(5). They both get sick(6) and die, and their eyes(7) how have horns poking out(8) (they fell and had their eyes pierced by some horns, maybe from a hunting trophy). Time passes (skip column 8) and now their bodies have gone and all that remains is bamboo(9), that have grown up where the dead traveler and his horse used to be. And then there is the treasure of 78 coins(10) that he came to find.