I run Fedora and was wondering if it's possible to write character components with keyboard? E.g. only the left part of "说"? If yes, how would one do that?

  • You would need to know the actual structure. 说 is composed of 讠 (yán) and 兑 (duì), both of which are available in adequate input systems. – user4452 Oct 17 '15 at 20:44
  • Oh yes, you are right! Thank you! Some of them needs a lot of scrolling in the input system, or maybe I use it the wrong way. I will try to find some resources on input tricks. – Jonathan Mondaut Oct 17 '15 at 20:57
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    They are indeed usually far down the list, as it's not really something one needs to type to write the average Chinese sentence. – vermillon Oct 17 '15 at 23:58
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    Google Pinyin and Sougou Pinyin both support special input when typing a leading "u" before the character. This can be helpful for parts of characters or rare characters "uyan" and "udui" doesn't require as much scrolling as "yan" and "dui" alone. I haven't much experience with it myself, therefore refrain from making an actual answer, but it might help a little. However, it requires you to know the name of the parts you are dealing with. – langdi Oct 20 '15 at 17:50
  • @JonathanMondaut I think langdi's solution is more suitable for a non-native learner. Learning Pinyin helps you remember the correct pronunciation, which would be more important than the correct stroke orders. Indeed, 五笔 is a successful input method for typists, but the input speed won't be a bottleneck for most of us. – Stan Oct 21 '15 at 6:37

Like @user25500062 said, 五笔输入法 can do this.

I think you mean strokes or particles, not keys, though.

Wubi Shurufa, or the Wubi Input Method, is used mainly by older Chinese people who never properly learned pinyin in school. Most of the younger generation use only pinyin. However, if you put the time and effort into using wubi, you'll type at an amazing speed, and will be able to do what you're looking for.

It's very useful for learning the stroke order of the characters. If you don't understand pinyin yet, you should learn pinyin too.

However... I think you should also look for a drawing pad IME that converts drawn characters to their correct character, but you may need to try it a few times, and will most likely need the correct stroke order. I tried several, and sometimes it doesn't completely recognize the character.

If you're too lazy to find a proper application (like I am right now), you can head on over to Google Translate and select the following:

  1. Chinese
  2. Down-arrow icon at the bottom-left corner.
  3. Select the option, "Chinese (Simplified, China) - Handwrite

Then you can draw characters and try to get them converted. Make sure you're translating "FROM" Chinese "TO" any other language before attempting this, or it won't show up.

  • I think I will give it a try. It may reveal useful while learning Chinese vocabulary. – Jonathan Mondaut Oct 20 '15 at 19:18
  • I've added more information that may help you. – 神经病 Oct 20 '15 at 19:25
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    I used to find characters by handwriting using MDGB when I am on my PC, it use the CC-CEDICT which is pretty complete. Otherwise on my (Android) phone I use Pleco which is free (with some paid additional functions). Pleco is very useful it give you some example sentences and words, I use it at university a lot. It also use CC-CEDICT. – Jonathan Mondaut Oct 20 '15 at 20:36

You need 五笔输入法, but I think it would be very difficult to learn, even to native Chinese speakers.

I think the best way to do it is draw it with mouse, some input method support the feature.

  • I think like @神经病 said it may be worth the effort if you can master it. It may also be interesting to help memorization of characters in a learning perspective. But drawing method is also pretty useful to find pronunciation of a new character! – Jonathan Mondaut Oct 20 '15 at 19:16
  • It is indeed useful for learning to memorize stroke order. You'll likely have a far better command of written Chinese by learning Wubi over pinyin, but I think it's important to learn pinyin too. I wish I put more effort into Wubi, but I'm a five-time pinyin champion. :( – 神经病 Oct 20 '15 at 19:18
  • Or just copy/paste it from somewhere, e.g. here. – Becky 李蓓 Jul 3 '20 at 0:24

You just need an input method with a dictionary of bushou(部首) characters. While you are running Fedora Linux, I recommend you to try an open source input method engine called Rime. There are two front-ends available for Linux distros: ibus-rime and fcitx-rime. And it is cross-platfom, which means you can use your own configuration on Windows, Mac OS X and Android. You can customize your own dictionary. For example, you can just input 'shuo' and get a candidate list containing "讠" and "訁". It's up to you and you don't have to learn an extra way to input Chinese characters like 五笔(Wubi).

  • Just tried it, indeed Rime is a very powerful input method engine! It is very nice to be able to customize it! Even more when you are used to *NIX things! – Jonathan Mondaut Oct 21 '15 at 17:13

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