I am trying to make a strict index of individual words for a large work of literature, using Chinese word segmentation, such as are found at the back of reference books. . e.g. "大星............ found on pages 55,65,109,2202", etc.

A few sections left unsegmented by the programme were:

  1. Numbers, e.g. 一千三百三十五. In English, in words this would be indexed as: "One" "thousand" "three" "hundred" "thirty" "five". Are large numbers considered a separate 'word', or should these be separated into characters?

  2. Words with repeated characters. I have read a few good posts about repeated characters. Are these considered separate words, or a variant of the original? So, would 孤孤單單 be listed as a separate word to 孤單, and 子子孫孫 separately to 子孫?


2 Answers 2


I think it is up to you that how you wish the index to lead the reader to find a word, or a phrase quickly. Usually, I don't think you need to index a number or its parts. But if you feel it is necessary, you can break 一千三百三十五 down to:

"一千", "三百", "三十五", or

"一", "千", "三", "百", "十", "五".

For phrase with a repeated word:

"孤孤單單", "孤單", "孤", "單".


Since your goal is to index individual words, I would not break up the numbers. If it says 150 in numerals and 一百五十 I would put them together since they are the same vocabulary wise. However you could keep them separated if you wanted. I would not break them down into 一 or 五 etc., just as I wouldn't break 150 into 1,5,0: they are completely different vocabulary.

I think similarly for reduplicated characters, I would put them together as the same term, unless you are planning to note the subtle differences, in which case you can separate them. However I would not break 孤孤單單 or 孤單 into just 孤 etc.: the vocabulary and meaning are not the same.

If your goal was to index characters my answer would be the opposite. Since you said you want a strict index of vocab I would err on condensing things together based on vocabulary meaning more than risk splitting up things that should be together as one term. Aka don't accidently turn something like 下結論 into more than one entry.

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