Character input methods

In view of the growing popularity of the Chinese language recently, I decided to share my experience and small developments in the principles and methods of entering these very mysterious hieroglyphs. First, a little theory of what it is and what it is.


What is Chinese writing? Words are formed from one or several hieroglyphs, in turn a hieroglyph can be simple or composite of a key (radical) and graphic elements. Example: A respectful greeting 您好(Nín hǎo), the literal translation of which is "You are good." The first compound character consists of 2x - 你(Nǐ) - “You” and 心(Xīn) “Heart”. 你- also consists of 2 parts, key 亻(short for 人(rén) - person) and grapheme 尔((ěr) - in the modern language is not used in an independent form). In parentheses I indicated the pronunciation of the hieroglyph, pinyny, dashes over the vowels are tones, in the northern dialect of China “Putonghua” there are 4 + of them. In Putonghua (also called mandarin), they speak in Beijing and the northeast, and they are trying to spread it as a standard of oral speech throughout the PRC. There are many dialects, and if you manage to learn Peking, Shanghai, you still do not understand. But don’t worry, the written language is the same everywhere, so in QQ, on the forums and reading those. documentation you will not feel any particular discomfort.
That is, as everyone already guessed, the pronunciation of the character with its spelling has little to do with it. It will not work, opening an unfamiliar text just take it and voice it, not even understanding the meaning. So if a crazy thought wanders into our smart minds to learn Chinese, I warn you right away that you have to LEARN the hieroglyphs (read - cram) and learn them with pronunciation and tones.
So, we began to learn, created a new folder on the computer for our materials and try to call it. In Russian or English? Not professional! We open Google Translate and translate the "Chinese language" and get a beautiful "中国 的" . Congratulations, you have mastered the first input method. But I hasten to upset you, or anything like that. Chinese language - 汉语(Hànyǔ). Now open the Translate again, select the translation from Chinese -> Russian and type “hanyu” in the English layout, without forgetting to tick the “Allow phonetic typing” checkbox, a window pops up where you can use the navigation keys to select the option you want.


Yes, entering hieroglyphs using the phonetic letter we just applied is called pinyin. This is the most common input method in China. Pretty fast and simple. It is enough to know the pronunciation of the word and remember its mark.
There are dozens of programs written on Windows that will help us communicate with our brothers in their native language using pinyin. I preferred 2m of them: Google Pinyin, Sogou pinyin. For the average person, the difference is not significant, the interface of both in Chinese. Sogou makes fun of frequent advertising and a bunch of unnecessary services in the kit. Google has no such flaws. Both add a new layout, switching to which when you enter a window pops up, similar to Google Translater.

For example, try to write 我 喜爱 的 哈伯尔阿哈 伯尔(Wǒ xǐ'ài de hā bó ěr ā hā bó ěr). Switch to the Chinese layout and boldly enter woxiaide (my favorite). While we were introducing, the program picked up a suitable variant of the phrase that made sense. It should be noted that the characters with the same pronunciation are dark, and it is better to enter them in portions, depending on the degree of complexity of the phrase. Press the space bar and voila - the cherished 我 喜爱 的 on the screen .

Further more difficult. Proper names cannot be entered just like that. There are no letters. Therefore, the name of the city of Volgograd will look like 伏尔加格勒and read Fú'ěrjiā gé lè. That is, not only do they have no sounds “in”, “p”, but also there is no way to write a combination of several sounds, if there is no such character with a similar sound. That is why the name Misha will consist of 2 hieroglyphs 米沙(Mǐ Shā) - literally translated as “rice” and “sand”. Panic? Nothing is clear? I assure you, the Chinese, too. At my request to check whether I wrote the word 哈伯尔阿哈 伯尔(Habrahabr) correctly, a Chinese girlfriend fell into a stupor. That this proper name is clear only from the context. So we can only reluctantly for the cherished declaration of love for our project to introduce the next batch of pinyin “habo”

and select “哈伯” from the drop-down list with the keys up and down . Further along the knurled “er” - 尔, space, “a” - 阿, space, again “habo” - note that the desired characters are already in the first place, you can immediately press the space and “er” - 尔. All check. 我 喜爱 的 哈伯尔阿哈 伯尔(Wǒ xǐ'ài de hā bó ěr ā hā bó ěr).
What are the advantages of this method - you do not need to draw the character itself, which takes much more time. No need to observe tones. You need to remember what the hieroglyph looks like and how it sounds. By the way, there is a very big difference between: knowing what a hieroglyph looks like and knowing how to write it. And so we will begin to learn to write them.


Here is a little easier. Imagine. We’re going, so we’re down the street, and on the fence instead of the usual records we have something like 出口. And how do we deal with this? Pinyin, we do not know these characters, so the previous method is not an assistant to us. We open a wonderful site and next to the "Search" button we see a pencil, click, a whole field for arts opens, and there we need to redraw our hieroglyphs one by one.

Here is such a recognizer. Here you can see the pronunciation and translation. So next time, if we get lost in one of the shopping centers in Beijing, we can safely ask the question 出口 在 哪儿?Well, or at least look for a sign with such krakasyabry.

The advantages of this method are the search for unfamiliar characters. You can even adapt and write at a reasonable speed. The method is especially practical on modern mobile devices with touchscreens, and it is implemented extremely conveniently.
There is a subset of the handwriting method, or


If there is no drawing ability, or no desire, you can turn to this method. Its essence is that all the hieroglyphs are written with the help of simple squiggles and lines. Each such line has its own name, for example, horizontal “heng”, vertical “shu”, vertical down and then horizontal to the right, as you can easily guess “shu heng”. All kinds of oblique "pie" and "na", dian points, ... here's a table for intimidation.

And, accordingly, there is a rule in which sequence these components of the character should be written (if it is very exaggerated, then from top to bottom, from left to right). Knowing this rule, as well as the correspondence between squiggles and letters (it may differ in different programs, everything is more beautiful on my smartphone), you can just enter it.

Pros - it is not necessary to be a happy owner of a device with a touchscreen, it is possible to assign a key to each element. No need to draw, it is not necessary to enter all the elements. Usually after 3-4x the necessary character comes out.


The method is complex, not all Chinese know how to use it. But not all Chinese people can read and write at all. So if you want to conquer the hearts of millions and have a speed of about 150 characters per minute - you are here. To begin with, you will have to learn the keys (radicals), there are not many of them, about 250. As we learn, we can decompose the character into components (graphemes). Example 输: 车, 人, 一, 月, 刂.
Now you have to learn the location of these components on the keyboard. Here, too, everything is simple: 5 zones marked with different colors, serial numbers of zones and numbers corresponding to the number of lines in the grapheme.

So, to enter our character 输, we will have to find 4 keys on the keyboard that correspond to graphemes: “车” - L, “人” - W, “一” - G, “刂” - J.(if the grapheme is more than 4x, the first 3 and the last are used).
It would seem that everything is simple, but there are many hieroglyphs consisting of 2 or 3 graphemes, the key combinations of which very often coincide. Here we will have to learn in addition 4 groups into which all the hieroglyphs are divided (basic, hieroglyphs with unconnected graphemes, connected and intersecting), and the serial number of the last character hieroglyphs that make up the code for identifying the character you are looking for.

There are several more hybrid input methods that are not so common; speech recognition. But for productive training without special expenses for memorizing unnecessary things, my choice fell on pinyin. It's not just that I'm very lazy. We were taught from childhood to write letters corresponding to the sounds of speech, and pinyin in this regard is very similar to traditional phonetic spelling.

If it seemed to someone that this was not rational, believe me, you are not the first to come to this idea. The mentality is different. Their path is thorny and indirect, but whatever they do, they do it with great tenacity and dedication. Which I wish you too.

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