Thursday, June 09, 2005

Cangjie Input

Someone once suggested that there might be up to 100 different input methods for Chinese but that sounds like an understatement. And there is no liklihood of a standard method evolving.

I have written about Q9 input because I have been convinced, first by the persuasion of several passionate and compassionate educators; second, because I have read the rave reviews; and third, because I just saw a 12 year old figure it out in a few minutes even with the distraction of me saying "No, no, click that one!"

Above all else Q9 is not yet defined in answers.com and it deserves to be.

Canjie is the preserve of the dedicated and the skilled. Look at Dylan Sung's Canjie pages with his illustration of the four philosophical sets, and enjoy the mystic. Visit the pages of the Cang-Jie Input. It is the domain of the initiated, not the dilletante. Here is a little article that sums it up for me. One word - hardship.

Cangjie was invented in 1979 and allowed Chinese to be input from the QWERTY keyboard so it must have been revolutionary at the time. Once learned, it is supposed to be fast and accurate, and extremely efficient. Pinyin was always ambiguous, you had to stop, pick and choose. However, Pinyin has evolved.

The only statistic that I have seen on input methods in China indicates that 97% use Pinyin input. For Hong Kong 78% use keyboarding of some sort and 21% use handwriting input. Since these are fragmented results at best I asked around last summer.

In Beijing, professors and professionals used Pinyin input. Secretaries used Cangjie or Wubi because it was much faster and more accurate and that was their specific technical training.

In one case I observed a teenager using Pinyin in MSN and asked if I could watch for a bit since this was a particular interest of mine. No problem. I then asked his mother what method she used to keyboard. I got the distinct impression that she did not keyboard.

I have been told that not everyone knows how to use Pinyin well enough for keyboard input and Cangjie takes a considerable amount of time to learn.

In Hong Kong I heard from educators that they were using Q9 for everyone from grade 2 to university level and I have even seen the abstract for this session at a conference at the HKIEd.
The study of learning the "Q9 Chinese input method" by mildly mentally handicapped children . That sounds good to me.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Michael Kaplan said...

People in Hong Kong and Macau have expressed interests in various input method features that I will be posting about soon. It is a fascinating area, and the strategies for typing in any fraction of over 70,000 characters are practically the study of a lifetime!

5:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will keep an eye out for your post. I don't understand the math but I have seen Q9 work. Suzanne

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Tim May said...

Above all else Q9 is not yet defined in answers.com and it deserves to be.

Ah, I guess you don't know, but answers.com is just a mirror of Wikipedia. The original of that page is here. You could add an entry for Q9 yourself, if you like.

6:02 PM  
Blogger Suzanne E. McCarthy said...

I knew ... I forgot...

I should email someone in HK to write an entry for Q9.

Suz

9:22 PM  
Blogger Jeil Jung said...

Hi I found your page while browsing for cangjie code dictionary. I have started learning to use it yesterday and have typed in so far 200 words as exercise.
I think that one big advantage of the method is that it is more helpful as an exercise to memorize Chinese characters. Thanks for the links.

12:39 AM  
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