Colloquial Terms for Character Radicals


Hello Mike,

for Pleco 4.0, have you considered including the common, sometimes colloquial, designations for character radicals under the CHARS tab, such as

金字旁 (jin1 zi4 pang2) for the left part of the 钉 character, or
草字头 (cao3 zi4 tou2) for the top part of the 茶 character,

and so on? I've always found these to be highly useful for describing the structure of a character to other Chinese speakers, and most Chinese seem to be familiar with them. Pleco already breaks all characters down into their constituents very neatly, so it would only take adding about 50-100 terms somewhere near them.

I do see a possible problem with authoritativeness. For its data, I think Pleco relies exclusively on third-party sources, and this would be a self-made mini-dictionary. It looks like this dictionary wouldn't be possible to add as a user dictionary because there might be no Unicode characters for some of the radicals, and the CHARS tab doesn't access any user dictionaries.

I will create a list soon in every case, as the New Practical Chinese Reader, which I own, includes them all in its first volumes.

Thanks and regards,

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Staff member
I don't think we're likely to add a whole lot more built-in data in 4.0 - it's the sort of thing that's very easy to punt to a later release since it's not part of the core design of the app.

But the definition screen is extremely customizable now, so if you prepare your own user dictionary source for this you should be able to add it to the CHARS tab. (this is also how we're going to facilitate, say, a special Outlier dictionary definition screen that breaks up all of its system etc info into different tabs)


Many thanks, I agree that it makes more sense as a user dictionary; I will definitely do that and provide it to interested users.