The Easy Lookup System for Traditional Chinese Characters

The Easy Lookup system is designed to make Traditional Chinese character lookup easy, even if you aren't familiar with Chinese characters. You don't need to know (or figure out) the radical, stroke count or even know it's pronunciation. The Easy Lookup system is based on the shape of the Chinese character or symbol that you are looking up.

Easy Lookup System Top Level

The Top level of the Easy Lookup system uses 12 character shapes (or "Keys").

These character shapes have names to make them easier remember. They are also divided into three groups, again, to make learning them easier.

The first group of character shapes starts with a Box shape. The remaining four character shapes in this group; Cover, Bottom, Right and Left are all derived from that box shape.

Another group of character shapes is called the Symmetrical group. Even though the character shapes are symmetrical, the characters listed under this grouping may be asymmetrical.

Those shapes are called Hat, Cross, Vertical and Horizontal.

Another group of character shapes in the Easy Lookup system could be thought of as Asymmetrical shapes. This group includes the Slant, Dot and Hook shape.

Easy Lookup System Next Level

Each of the above 12 character shapes has below it a series of character shapes derivatives, which in turn may include further variations. The important thing to note about these derivatives is that they are all variations of the Top Level shape beneath which they are classified.

This could be considered the second level or the Next level. Except where the number of characters within a Next Level group are large, you should be able to find your targeted character here. If not you may require further navigation.

Here are 12 derivates of the box shape:

Note how they all include a four side enclosure, either forming the border of the character or the top most, or left most or top-left most part of the character.

Characters include under each of these derivatives will include that derivative as either their top most or left most or top-left most element.

As an example, here are the characters included under the 足 derivative:

And here are the Chinese Characters or Symbols listed under the 日 shape:

Advantages of the Easy Lookup System

While the easy lookup system isn't perfect, it does make Chinese character lookup a little less ambiguous. You don't have to guess at a characters radical. For the most part, figuring out the radical of a character is easy, but then you come across one character that sucks up all of your time because you can't figure out which radical it is listed under.

The easy lookup system gets around that by classifying characters purely by shape. And with the easy lookup dictionaries, navigation is designed so that it is as easy as possible to move around between indexes and entries (and between entries.) The design of the dictionaries themselves make the Easy Lookup System easier to learn.

With the easy lookup system characters aren't organized according to radical, or sound or stroke count. They are sorted by shape. And that means that characters that begin with the same shape are grouped together. The easy lookup dictionaries also include a variation of the easy lookup system that sorts characters via their final elements. So with both indexes, and the navigation built into the dictionary, you can easily navigate between characters with the same initial element or between characters with the same final element.

Dictionary entries include Cangjie lookup codes (which make ti possible to input Chinese characters purely based on their shape) and so having characters organized by shape makes the Cangjie input system easier to learn also.

The Easy Lookup Chinese Dictionaries both include over 6000 character entries. The Chinese Character Dictionary with Easy Lookup includes character entries but no Chinese Words. The Chinese English Dictionary includes both character entries and words. Chinese Words are made up of two or more Chinese characters.

The online Easy Lookup Chinese Character Dictionary includes entries for 1600 Chinese symbols. While the easy lookup index includes only Traditional Chinese characters, the entries themselves include both the Traditional and Simplified characters as well as Mandarin pronounciation using pinyin, Meaning and related words. Each entry also includes the Cangjie input codes (both letter and symbol form) for the Traditional form of the Chinese character.

A PDF version of the Easy Lookup Dictionary with over 6000 Chinese symbols is also available.

If you know the initial part of a character's Cangjie input code, you can lookup that characters cangjie input code using this Cangjie Code dictionary. Click on the desired character to be taken to its entry in the Easy Lookup dictionary.