Friday, November 25, 2005

Chinese Input Method Popularity

Here is an interesting post on Chinese input Methods from Lee Sau Dan in Sci.Lang.

Jer writes:

Hi - Has anyone read statistics about input methods used in China? I assume the Pinyin systems would be the most popular, followed by Wubi. (Wubizixing).

Lee Sau Dan writes:

In the sphere of traditional characters, Cangjie is quite popular,because it's ubiquitous and it's what professional typists are trained to use. Zhuyin (based on the bopomofo phonetic transcription system) may come next, but there are many people using various other methods. e.g. People in Hong Kong like to use Jian3yi4, which is a sort of broken Cangjie. Many use Cantonese-based input methods. In Taiwan, some Minnan-based methods are popular, too.

Jer writes:

Anyone care to predict the future? Will it stay as it is now where most people prefer to type the pinyin pronunciation then choose the correct character, but more serious people put in the time to learn Wubi?

Lee Sau Dan writes:

Even those how don't bother to learn Wubi are using something other than plain Pinyin, because the latter is too slow to be used intensively. e.g. there is Jian3pin4, which substitutes some digraphs in Pinyin (e.g. "zh", "sh") with single keystrokes. And phrase-based input methods are gaining ground because of the increased inputting speed.

Jer writes:

I can't really picture a system faster than Wubi taking over.

Lee Sau Dan writes:

Go beyond the "type character by character" mindset and you'll be able to imagine faster methods. Is it too hard to imagine typing "i18n"and have the input method turn it into "internationalization" for you automagically? I don't think so.

Lee Sau Dan 李守敦

These last couple of lines hint at what is ahead in input methods.


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