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We have been working with a new character system that differentiates between a dot and a slash in Chinese characters.

The issue I have is being able to instinctively tell which one I should use. When I asked the creators of the system they said it is because it is related to the rules of Chinese calligraphy.

For example, on the character 下 the third stroke looks like a slash down and to the right, but it is actually a dot when handwritten.

Is there a Chinese computer font that shows the difference between the dot and slash more clearly? I had heard that there was one that was considered more standard, but I haven't been able to find it...

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By requesting a font it seems to be that you are requesting something that would be human readable rather than taking this information from a database, why is this the requirement? I haven't been able to track down an open source database which has this information but there are sites like zdic.net/z/14/js/4E0B.htm which show the breakdown of a character under the section 笔顺 but they don't appear to have an API. –  xiaohouzi79 Nov 13 '13 at 5:07
    
If it needs to be human readable then I agree with Stan's answer below. You are going to have a hard time because fonts are just fonts, you are not going to be able to tell the difference in some cases just by looking at a character. –  xiaohouzi79 Nov 13 '13 at 5:08
    
Correct, this is meant to be human readable. The reason is that it is within an app for someone that wants to start learning how to read Chinese. It would be ideal if they learned the right way from the beginning, but maybe it is more important to be flexible. Definitely a difficult question. Once they have gotten practice with the 'correct' way they can start to open up their learning to other fonts and calligraphy styles. –  Chris Butler Nov 13 '13 at 5:25
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@xiaohouzi79: there're opensource databases for 笔顺, but sorry now I'm in mainland and my Internet is restricted so I can't help you find one. But 笔顺 also has different standards between mainland and Taiwan. See this paper with a list: there're 383 characters with the same glyph and different 笔顺 between the two standard! –  Stan Nov 13 '13 at 5:50
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Chris, if you don't mind ... I have some advice for your IME (though this would be irrelevant to the question) ... 1) your website looks nice, but the icon of the app seems a little absonant. The split complementary colors looks not so comfortable here. Maybe you can try some gradient and highlight. 2) I think you might have known a very old stroke-based IME on Nokia phone, 筆畫輸入法, it treats the dot and the slash as the same stroke. It's quite simple, even my grandpa knows how to use it. You might try that :) –  Stan Nov 13 '13 at 12:12
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2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Before simply answering "there is such a font", I would like to seriously suggest you should not differentiate a dot and a slash. The reasons are:

  1. Many Chinese people don't distinguish them when writing, even calligraphers. We care about "fast" and "beautiful".

  2. The standard glyphs among mainland, Taiwan/Hong Kong, Japan and Korea, are usually different, you can't tell which one is the most authoritative.

If anyway you need a computer font to do such analyses, check

  • 標楷體 and 國字標準字體 for traditional Chinese. This font (edukai-3.ttf, title: TW-MOE-Std-Kai) can be downloaded from the website of Ministry Of Education of Taiwan.

  • 微软简楷体 for simplified Chinese. This font (simkai.ttf, title: 楷体. Offered by ZHONGYI Electronic Co., Beijing) is the default Kai font in MS Windows for simplified Chinese. Note that though it is named "simplified Kai", it includes traditional characters.

In the examples of the wiki page 國字標準字體, the first column is "standard" and the second is "conventional" (both should be considered correct):

國字標準字體

Some distinction of a dot and a slash is highlighted (維, 內, 集, 遨, 說, 眾). Yes, I should also mention even in Taiwan many scholars criticize this standard, "sometimes it departs from convention too much". And I've never ever seen any native speaker strictly follows such a standard when they are writing.

Other minor differences can be also found, see the comparison (微, 標):

Kai

I guess you can figure it out :) So, I'm afraid it's better not to differentiate a dot and a slash in a "character system".

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But there is a standard right, even if it differentiates from convention? –  xiaohouzi79 Nov 13 '13 at 5:03
    
@xiaohouzi79: Yes, but there are also different standards. I think dealing with different standards for the same character would be not so wise, as the differences are often too minor. –  Stan Nov 13 '13 at 5:37
    
ahh, yes, I agree. –  xiaohouzi79 Nov 13 '13 at 5:41
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You can pretty much ignore the taiwanese standard. It's made by overpaid bureaucrats who try to push their false ideas of pseudo-ethymologic writing onto the people using their standards. It's horrible as it neither follows the classic Kangxi conventions nor current practice at all. –  商榮沛 Nov 29 '13 at 23:38
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I think you should use a fuzzy system instead of a strict one.
The difference between 點(dot) and 捺(slash) is not always obvious even to native user.

For example, in lower right corner of the character 木, the stroke is a slash, but when we writing the character 林, the slash become a dot in the left 木. Why? because there is no room to put a full slash there. The choice here is base on the aesthetic, and the difference does not matter much when writing with pen instead of brush.

I don't believe a input system based on Chinese calligraphy is a good choice.
Not everyone is familiar with the principles of Chinese calligraphy. And the input method should assist, instead of become a burden to the user. The computer should be smart enough to guess what a user wants based on the input, like auto spelling correction doesn't need user to type every alphabet correctly.

Back to the question about the font, there are different standards of characters. For traditional characters, there is 國字標準字體, and the 標楷體 in windows system should be good enough for your need. For simplified characters, there is 现代汉语通用字表, but it is not based on calligraphy but printing fonts. You can see that if your system is based on calligraphy, it may have issues to handle simplified characters.

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