Follow us on Facebook to receive important updates Follow us on Twitter to receive important updates Follow us on's microblogging site to receive important updates Follow us on Douban to receive important updates
Chinese Text Project
Discussion -> Linguistic issues -> Structural database of Chinese script?

2010-11-08 17:36:17Structural database of Chinese script?
Posted by: fingerpuppets (JENNIFER)I am looking for a database of Chinese script that is as comprehensive as the Chinese Text project but is sortable through structure or components that are not necessarily radicals. Anyone know of this? If not, this is much needed. Some sites propose that you can draw the structure, and it will show up, but their lexicons are extremely limited. I'm also looking for a tutor in SF. My interest is in Chinese traditional characters—-the relationship of the meanings to the actual shape of the script.

2010-11-10 11:21:30Structural database of Chinese script?
Posted by: justsojazzI have found the 『中文字譜:漢英字源字譜』--"Chinese Characters: A Genealogy and Dictionary" by Rick Harbaugh extremely useful and would heartily recommend it to anyone learning Chinese. The book can be found here:

The author has also provided an online version that is free to use at:

"Following traditional Chinese etymologies, each character is decomposed into smaller composite characters suggesting the character's meaning and/or pronunciation. Successive decomposition traces the over 4000 characters in this dictionary back to less than 200 pictographs and ideographs. This creation of new characters from simpler elements is depicted in a series of genealogical charts (字譜) which form the dictionary's organizing structure. Any character can be found by moving through these unique charts as long as the reader knows any part of the character or knows any character which shares the same part. The 字譜 method generalizes the "radical" (部首) system based loosely on the semantic components of characters, extending it to all components whether semantic or phonetic."

(cited from the preface of the book)

As for explanations of basic pictographs and ideographs, such as "why does the character 子 mean child, why does 馬 show a horse, etc..." I found the following book to be a great help:

Chinese Calligraphy: From Pictograph to Ideogram: The History of 214 Essential Chinese/Japanese Characters

What does the term SF mean? I've never heard of it -- is it a form of Sinological study?

2010-12-17 18:28:07Structural database of Chinese script?
Posted by: fingerpuppets (JENNIFER)Thanks very much for your help. I just bought the first book you mentioned. I may buy the second, but the first is more useful to me right now. I also looked at that database and though it's very basic, I did find a character in the vein I'm looking for that I had not yet found, so that was very useful. Thanks a lot. I have a theory about language. I have a website: I will soon load a chapter about Chinese. I believe that it is easier to learn Chinese than people realize if you use component parts as a guide. One also has to have the mindset of the time period when the language began. For example, in Chinese three trees is a forest, three men is a crowd, three women is adultery. We think differently now. But if we want to learn Chinese more quickly, we have to retain this attitude at least linguistically to help us remember the meanings of characters. SF is San Francisco. I forget that Chinese Text Project could draw people from everywhere. I have only started studying Chinese the last four-five months. Before that hieroglyphs. I'm a writer (you can find my two novels and one book on Digital Typography on under Jennifer Ball. How long have you been studying Chinese or are you a native speaker? Thanks very much for the help,


2012-04-04 06:25:54Structural database of Chinese script?
Posted by: olololo (-)If you use Linux, you can use cjklib. In Ubuntu, you can install it from repository. Or you can download it here:

Maybe it works under Windows too, but Windows command line is extremely limited.

If you install cjklib from Ubuntu repository, you can just type this in a shell:
cjknife -p 口土

And you will get all the characters that include 口土:

To participate in the discussion, please log in to your CTP account using the form below. If you don't yet have an account, click here to set one up.

Log in
Keep me logged in
Forgotten password

Enjoy this site? Please help.Site design and content copyright 2006-2022. When quoting or citing information from this site, please link to the corresponding page or to Please note that the use of automatic download software on this site is strictly prohibited, and that users of such software are automatically banned without warning to save bandwidth. 沪ICP备09015720号-3Comments? Suggestions? Please raise them here.