Dylan W.H. Sung 2002
The Cangjie input method 倉 頡 輸 入 法 was invented by Chu BangFu [ 朱 邦 復 Zhu BangFu ] in 1979 designed first for input of Chinese characters in Taiwan. It is based on the traditional form of Chinese characters [ 繁 體 字 fantizi ], moreover, for certain characters where more than one traditional character exists, that is there are variants [ yitizi 異 體 字 ], only one particular form is taken as the standard traditional characters. Subsequently, these are known as "computer characters" [ 電 腦 字 diannaozi ]. Its popularity has since grown, since he has placed it into the public domain. It is used for inputting of Traditional Chinese character text via a qwerty keyboard. For consistency, the method is abbreviated and called Cangjie throughout.
Cangjie KeyBoard Layout
Chinese Name Mnemonics Associated Key Other Names 哲 理 類 The Philosophical Set 日 月 金 木 水 火 土 A B C D E F G 筆 劃 類 The Penstroke Set 竹 戈 十 大 中 一 弓 H I J K L M N 斜 點 交 叉 縱 橫 勾 人 體 類 The Body-Parts Set 人 心 手 口 O P Q R 字 形 類 The Character Form Set 尸 廿 山 女 田 卜 S T U V Y
Summary of the bases for each Mnemonic
The following is a non-exhaustive list of character 'descriptors' with examples.
Left and Right
Top and Bottom
Outer and Inner
因 間 同 凶
亞 馬 事Linked characters are those where there is one or more linear link running through a character in such a way that they do not fall into the first three categories. This linear link may not necessarily be a straight line though.
There are also portions of characters which wrap other portions as follows, rather like the Outer to Inner characters
Extraction of Mnemonics
Some definitions first:
|hanzi, Chinese character, logogram
|outermost, leftmost, or topmost part
|言 is the lead of 語
|everything other than the lead
|吾 is the body of 語
|連 體 字
|no space exists between portions
|正 白 禾 卓 業 並 貝 犬
|分 體 字
|space exists between portions
|草 男 明 語 間 因
|連 體 字 身
|body where no space exists between portions
|止 is the linked body of 正
|分 體 字 身
|body where space exists between portions
|早 is the partitionable body of 草
|次 字 首
|五 is the secondary lead of 語 from the body 吾
|次 字 身
|口 is the secondary body of 語 from the body 吾
|由 左 至 右
|from left to right
|由 上 至 下
|from top to bottom
|十 田 十
|由 外 至 內
|from exterior to interior
|田 戈 口 一
Mnemonic Extraction Rules
In order to limit the number of keys or mnemonics used to enter a Chinese character, Cangjie has a maximum of five mnemonics. Not every single character has this many keys though. The limiting of keys ensures that there is good speed of typing for experienced users.
Cangjie defines that mnemonics should be extracted from the character by splitting the character into portions, and then considering the total number of mnemonics that can be extracted first from each portion, before finaly extracting them.
|First, Second, Last
|中 中 弓
When there is more than one mnemonic for the body, Cangjie requires us to split the body into a secondary lead and a secondary body. The character body depends upon whether it is linked or partitionable.
|Two or More Mnemonics
|first and last
|卜 口 are the first and last mnemonics of 言
|If One Lead Mnemonic
|If Two or More Lead Mnemonic
(Lead was 心 )
| Secondary Body
|First and Last
(Lead 目 was 月 山 )
|First and Last
(Lead 木 was 木 )
|First and Last
|戈 十 水
|戈 十 水
|戈 大 山
Further, the secondary lead in the same character 五 can yield three mnemonics, but only the first and last are taken, in this case, 一 一 . The intervening mnemonic 木 is omitted in accordance with the rules.
Other characters [ 列 外 字 liewaizi]
|木 一 手
|日 弓 大
|月 日 金
|一 十 大
|日 女 火
|一 尸 人
|竹 水 弓
|女 戈 戈
|月 廿 弓
|月 月 弓
|卜 口 弓
These are the Chinese characters for wood 木 , fire 火 , and big 大 . When there are other character strokes which cut across these charactetrs, or overlap them, making them non-partionable, one first extracts those mnemonics which come before it, then these special characters are considered as the higher portion in the overlapping.
Note that the mnemonic sharing the same area overlapped by the special character 木 keeps part of the vertical, so 東 is 木 田 rather than 木 日 .
There are some characters which do not fit into the above rules easily, in the fact that they have very a complicated structure, or simply that there isn't a defined base right for it. The special key X comes into play for these characters. The key X is known as 難 [nan2] or difficult.
Difficult characters of the type :
Note that when (some of) these characters act as leads, the two mnemonic rule for character leads takes precedence.
Now that you've understood the main points of Cangjie, it is possible to cut out the bulk of the work using the method called Speed Cangjie. In Chinese characters, the input method is known as 簡 易 [jianyi] or 速 成 [sucheng].
The method is simple, you take the [first mnemonic][last mnemonic] or 首 尾 and if there is more than one character, the input editor will give a list from which to select from.
This page was created on Wednesday 10th April 2002, and last revised on Sunday 28th April 2002