I am translating character 习 using https://www.yellowbridge.com/chinese/charsearch.php and it gives 冫 as the only radical for this character although my impression is that it contains the alternative form of hook radical https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_6 as well. Actually I checked wikipedia and some other lists of Kangxi radicals (including the lists which provide some alternatives for some radicals) and noone of these lists contain this alternative form of hook radical (with extended top line), but my character drilling set lists this alternative form (this drilling set is available in print pdf format and there is no example on the interet that is why I am not providing link here).

So, does hook character has alternative form, where to get more information about it and does 习 contain this alternative form of hook character and why online dictionaries are so silent about this important fact?

  • 4
    Radicals are dictionary header sections which are used to organise characters in dictionaries, functioning exactly like the first letter of English words. Since Chinese characters aren't strictly arranged from left-to-right, and may contain complicated stroke elements, the choice of what is a radical or not may not be obvious and importantly is completely arbitrary. If you're attempting to infer anything more about radicals than just sometimes looking like strokes as part of characters, like why online dictionaries are so silent about this important fact?, you're asking the wrong questions.
    – dROOOze
    Oct 26, 2021 at 21:21
  • Practically there are well established lists of radicals and - as I understand - well established lists of radical-wise explanations of individual characters. In my dictionary there are 2 alternatives for the hook radical and I wanted to know more about the alternative form. I guess - native language users perceive this as simple question.
    – TomR
    Oct 26, 2021 at 21:26
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    native language users perceive this as simple question not at all! The average Chinese native speaker doesn't know anything more about characters than the average English speaker knows about Victorian-era literature or middle English etymology. Hopefully, most of us at Chinese SE will attempt to guide people out of mistaken notions such as this, well established lists of radical-wise explanations of individual characters, which are unfortunately widespread (radicals have nothing to do with the function of characters). If you wish to start exploring here, check out glyph-origin.
    – dROOOze
    Oct 26, 2021 at 21:30
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    I think you might want to read an article like this one: outlier-linguistics.com/blogs/chinese/…
    – Olle Linge
    Oct 27, 2021 at 8:31
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    There are plenty of resources that explain the components of characters and their functions with varying degrees of historical accuracy, which is what you seem to be after. One example is Outlier linked to above. @dROOOze is not saying that character components and their functions are not important, but rather that "radical" is wrong word for what you're asking for.
    – Olle Linge
    Oct 27, 2021 at 8:34

1 Answer 1


There is no standard radical-alternative for the hook character, but there are special set of additional strokes - CJK-strokes which are listed in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stroke_(CJK_character) and whose technical details (especially the unicode presentation) is available from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CJK_Strokes_(Unicode_block) and https://www.key-shortcut.com/en/writing-systems/%E6%96%87%E5%AD%97-chinese-cjk/cjk-characters-1 .

Regarding the original question - yes - there is CJK-stroke that is connected with the hook radical and this stroke is represented as Ming of Kai Horizontal – Vertical – J hook - HVJ stroke with unicode repesentation of ㇆.

So - the correct answer to my question is that each character may (should) be expressed as a set of Kangxi radicals and additional CJK-strokes which themselves are associated with the radicals and sometimes are even classified as the alternatives to some radicals.

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