I can easily find a lot of lists with the most frequently used hanzi. But I think the frequency is linked to the use in sentences, independently of words.

I need the frequency of used hanzi linked to the construction of Chinese words. I mean the frequency for 的 will be very different. If someone has an idea for the frequency of use of radicals in the construction of hanzi, I am also interested. Thank you.

  • 2
    It's not quite clear what you would like to see. Please elaborate your question more precisely or give a detailed example.
    – imrek
    Commented Apr 9, 2016 at 15:26
  • i mean 的 often appears in a full text, but not so often in meaningful words, like 的话. so a list of frequently found characters in a text should be quite different than a list of frequently found characters in a dictionary ! about radicals : 的 has 白 as radical, how many words have 白 as radical ? which are the radicals used for the biggest number of words ? is it cleared now ?
    – faure
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 7:36
  • So you are looking for character frequency based on text corpora? Take a look at this list: lingua.mtsu.edu/chinese-computing/statistics/char/… (But the data is based on corpora that are more than 10 years old).
    – imrek
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 10:08
  • thank you, if i can consider " the current Modern Chinese Corpus, including both informative and imaginative texts " as a dictionary or a list of meaningful words, this is exactly what i was looking for ! what about radicals and hanzis ? the most frequently used radicals in hanzis ?
    – faure
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 10:28
  • You need to look for a list that assigns the radical to characters and combine that list with the one linked above. Wikipedia has one such list at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/… , but you will also find another one at cjkdecomp.codeplex.com .
    – imrek
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 7:12

2 Answers 2


You would need to do some database manipulation. First extract a bigram frequency list (http://lingua.mtsu.edu/chinese-computing/) or a more general word frequency list (as provided by Wenlin, for example), and then decompose the individual morphemes to obtain the most used characters for words.

  • have you any link for a more general word frequency list ? it can help. i am not interested by bigram which may be a nonsense combination of characters. only bigram or trigram ( or 4 like 自动取款 ) which are words ( defined as words, verbs, adjectives, adverbs...) which can be used in crosswords puzzles :-)
    – faure
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 7:19
  • The answer given contains both bigram and character frequency list, in Ancient and Modern Chinese, and in various types of texts. It seems sufficient for your answer. Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 8:46
  • it is written " Note: A bigram may be a nonsense combination of characters. " i am not interested by these bigrams without meaning. english is not my mother language, i do not understand the purpose of this table. can 一个 be found in a dictionary ? this is not a word for me, perapera does not consider this bigram as a meaningful word :-)
    – faure
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 9:14
  • but i admit i can remove nonsense words ( they seem to be not so numerous ) and search alone hanzis and get my informations :-) perapera is a fantastic tool !
    – faure
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 9:19
  • 1
    i do not like this template, because do not find where or how thank to the answer ! this is far from ergonomic :-(
    – faure
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 16:37

I didn't find any existing statistics online so I wrote a simple program to do the job. Source data was downloaded from SouGou web dictionary 2006(see here), a vocabulary consists of a totality of 468,949 words.

Since you don't need this for research purposes I will only list partial results below. If you need the whole list of 6,143 characters just leave a comment, I'll see if I can find a site to host the file...

note that repetitive characters are counted separately in a word(e.g. for the word '一心一意', '一' is counted twice)

In the form of

  • characters frequencies
    1. 不 4268
    2. 人 3176
    3. 一 2961
    4. 大 2808
    5. 中 2108
    6. 之 1811
    7. 国 1809
    8. 机 1800
    9. 学 1773
    10. 心 1759
    11. 无 1678
    12. 子 1675
    13. 生 1664
    14. 天 1630
    15. 网 1549
    16. 小 1497
    17. 有 1486
    18. 电 1444
    19. 上 1421
    20. 水 1396
    21. 地 1309
    22. 三 1306
    23. 下 1301
    24. 风 1291
    25. 文 1270
    26. 行 1266
    27. 业 1262
    28. 会 1260
    29. 工 1237
    30. 发 1231
    31. 新 1228
    32. 家 1225
    33. 高 1194
    34. 金 1183
    35. 性 1134
    36. 了 1126
    37. 出 1124
    38. 理 1072
    39. 动 1058
    40. 公 1044
    41. 自 1034
    42. 手 1032
    43. 山 1029
    44. 头 1008
    45. 成 1002
    46. 日 1001
    47. 化 986
    48. 道 985
    49. 车 983
    50. 十 933

    As for the radicals, you'll first have to specify the writing system for the characters, as traditional characters usually have much more radicals than their simplified counterparts.(for instance, '一' and '壹', former one being simplified and latter traditional)

    • thank you so much ! that's exactly what i was looking for. with wenlin ( a wonderful tool for these stats ) i could verify that 不 is used in 4829 words, and 中 in 1221 words. it will help me a lot. so i was right concerning 的 which is used in only 1249 words. however, the same list reduced to a list of more frequents words ( even chinese people do not use 400000 words ) should be very interesting for any chinese learner :-)
      – faure
      Commented May 1, 2016 at 15:44
    • hello ! i would like to know if it is possible for you to run your " simple program " on the vocabulary required to get HSK level 6, and the result for the most frequently used characters ( almost 300 first ) HSK list is available here : chinwa.fr/hsk/liste-du-vocabulaire-hsk-6-5000-mots/… :-) maybe another list would be more convenient to your program ?
      – faure
      Commented May 9, 2016 at 9:47
    • @faure Sorry for the late reply. Since I used an unregistered account I wasn't able to recieve any notification of your comments, nor am I allowed to add comment below my previous answer... Anyway, yes it is possible to run the program on your given input. The result in HTML format is hosted and downloadable via this page. Hopefully it would still prove useful to you despite long overdue(again sorry for that).
      – MasterYoda
      Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 9:03
    • @MasterYoda Are you user13324? If so, you can merge your two accounts, go to this page.
      – Alenanno
      Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 12:05
    • @MasterYoda thank you, but you gave the link for a program ! how can i use it ?
      – faure
      Commented Jun 19, 2016 at 12:56

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