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The 214 Kangxi radicals (), also known as the Zihui radicals, form a system of radicals () of
Chinese characters Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language by means of a writing system. Written language is an invention in that it ...
. The radicals are numbered in
stroke A stroke is a medical condition A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function (biology), function of all or part of an organism, and that is not due to any immediate external injury. Di ...
count order. They are the most popular system of radicals for dictionaries that order
Traditional Chinese characters Traditional Chinese characters are one type of standard Chinese character Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural la ...
(''hanzi'', ''hanja'', ''kanji'', ''chữ hán'') by radical and stroke count. They are officially part of the Unicode encoding system for CJKV characters, in their standard order, under the coding block "Kangxi radicals", while their graphic variants are contained in the "CJK Radicals Supplement". Thus, a reference to "
radical 61 Radical 61 or radical heart () meaning "heart" is one of 34 of the 214 Kangxi radicals that are composed of 4 Stroke (CJK character), strokes. When appearing at the left side of a Chinese character, the radical transforms into , which consists o ...
", for example, without additional context, refers to the 61st radical of the ''Kangxi Dictionary'', ;
''xīn''
''xīn''
"heart". Originally introduced in the 1615 ''
Zihui The 1615 ''Zìhuì'' is a Chinese dictionary Chinese dictionaries date back over two millennia to the Han Dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 ...
'' (字彙), they are more commonly named in relation to the ''
Kangxi Dictionary #REDIRECT Kangxi Dictionary#REDIRECT Kangxi Dictionary The ''Kangxi Dictionary'' () is the standard Chinese dictionary during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Kangxi Emperor of Qing Dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), ...
'' of 1716 (''
Kāngxī
Kāngxī
'' being the
era name A regnal year is a year of the reign of a sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French ''souverain'', which is ultimately derived from the Latin word ''super ...
for 1662–1723). The 1915 encyclopedic word dictionary ''Ciyuan'' (辭源) also uses this system. In modern times, many dictionaries that list Traditional Chinese head characters continue to use this system. For example, the '' Wang Li Character Dictionary of Ancient Chinese'' (王力古漢語字典, 2000) adopted the Kangxi radicals system. The system of 214 Kangxi radicals is based on the older system of 540 radicals used in the Han-era ''
Shuowen Jiezi ''Shuowen Jiezi'' () is an ancient Chinese dictionary Chinese dictionaries date back over two millennia to the Han Dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), esta ...
''. Since 2009, the PRC government has promoted a 201-radical system (''Table of Han Character Radicals'', 汉字部首表) as a national standard for
Simplified Chinese Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language by ...
(''see
list of Xinhua Zidian radicals''The Table of Indexing Chinese Character Components'' () is a lexicographic Lexicography is divided into two separate but equally important groups: * Practical lexicography is the art or craft of compiling, writing and editing dictionary, dic ...
'').


Statistics

The Kangxi dictionary lists a total of 47,035 characters divided among the 214 radicals, for an average of 220 characters per radical, but distribution is unequal, the
median In statistics Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a m ...

median
number of characters per radical being 64, with a maximum number of 1,902 characters (for
radical 140 Radical 140, meaning "grass Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous family of monocotyledonous flowering plants known as grasses. It includes the cereal grasses, bamboo Bamboos are a diverse group of evergreen pere ...
) and a minimum number of five (
radical 138 Radical 138, a Chinese character meaning "wikt:stopping, stopping" or "wikt:stillness, stillness" is 1 of 29 List of Kangxi radicals, Kangxi radicals (214 radicals total) composed of 6 strokes. In Taoism, Taoist Ba gua cosmology, 艮 is the seventh ...
). The radicals have between one and seventeen strokes, the median number of strokes being 5 while the average number of strokes is slightly below 5.7. The ten radicals with the largest number of characters account for 10,665 characters (or 23% of the dictionary). The same ten radicals account for 7,141 out of 20,992 characters (34%) in the Unicode
CJK Unified Ideographs The Chinese, Japanese and Korean (CJK) scripts share a common background, collectively known as CJK characters In internationalization, CJK characters is a collective term for the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Korean may refer to: People ...
block as introduced in 1992, as follows:


Modern dictionaries

Modern Chinese dictionaries continue to use the Kangxi radical-stroke order, both in traditional ''zìdiǎn'' (, lit. "character/logograph dictionary") for written
Chinese character Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, ...

Chinese character
s and modern ''cídiǎn'' ( "word/phrase dictionary") for spoken expressions. The 214 Kangxi radicals act as a de facto standard, which may not be duplicated exactly in every Chinese dictionary, but which few dictionary compilers can afford to completely ignore. They also serve as the basis for many computer encoding systems, including
Unihan Han unification is an effort by the authors of Unicode and the Universal Character Set to map multiple character sets of the Han characters of the so-called CJK characters, CJK languages into a single set of unified grapheme, characters. Han c ...
. The number of radicals may be reduced in modern practical dictionaries, as some of the more obscure Kangxi radicals do not form any characters that remain in frequent use. Thus, the ''Oxford Concise English–Chinese Dictionary'' (), for example, has 188 radicals. The ''
Xinhua Zidian The ''Xinhua Zidian'' (), or ''Xinhua Dictionary'', is a Chinese language dictionary published by the Commercial Press. It is the best-selling Chinese dictionary and the world's most popular reference work. In 2016, Guinness World Records offic ...
'', a pocket-sized character dictionary containing about 13,000 characters, uses 189 radicals, later (10th ed.) increased to 201 to conform to a national standard (see List of ''Xinhua Zidian'' radicals). A few dictionaries also introduce new radicals, treating groups of radicals that are used together in many different characters as a kind of radical. For example, ''
Hanyu Da Cidian The ''Hanyu Da Cidian'' () is the most inclusive available Chinese dictionary Chinese dictionaries date back over two millennia to the Han Dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China ...
'', the most inclusive available
Chinese dictionary Chinese dictionaries date back over two millennia to the Han Dynasty, which is a significantly longer lexicographical history than any other language. There are hundreds of dictionaries for the Chinese language, and this article discusses some of t ...
(published in 1993) has 23,000 head character entries organised by a novel system of 200 radicals.


Table of radicals


Unicode

The
Unicode Unicode, formally the Unicode Standard, is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed in most of the world's wri ...

Unicode
standard encoded 20,992 characters in version 1.0.1 (1992) in the
CJK Unified Ideographs The Chinese, Japanese and Korean (CJK) scripts share a common background, collectively known as CJK characters In internationalization, CJK characters is a collective term for the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Korean may refer to: People ...
block (U+4E00–9FFF). This standard followed the Kangxi order of radicals (
radical 1 Radical 1 or radical one () meaning "1, one" is one of the 6 Kangxi radicals (214 radicals in total) composed of 1 stroke (CJK character), stroke. In the ''Kangxi Dictionary'', there are 42 characters (out of 49,030) to be found under this Radical ...
at U+4E00, radical 214 at U+9FA0) but did not encode all characters found in the Kangxi dictionary. Individual characters were listed based on their Kangxi radical and number of additional strokes, e.g. U+5382 厂, the unaugmented radical 27 meaning "cliff" is listed under "27.0", while U+5383 to U+5386 are listed under "27.2" as they all consist of radical 27 plus two additional strokes. More characters were added in later versions, adding "CJK Unified Ideographs Extensions" A, B, C, D, E and F as of Unicode 12.1 (2019) with further additions planned for Unicode 13.0. Within each "Extension", characters are also ordered by Kangxi radical and additional strokes. The Unicode Consortium maintains the "
Unihan Database Han unification is an effort by the authors of Unicode Unicode is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed ...
", with a
Radical-Stroke-Index
The Unicode
Common Locale Data Repository The Common Locale Data Repository Project, often abbreviated as CLDR, is a project of the Unicode Consortium The Unicode Consortium (legally Unicode, Inc.) is a 501(c)(3) A 501(c)(3) organization is a corporation, trust, unincorporated asso ...
provides no official
collation Collation is the assembly of written information into a standard order. Many systems of collation are based on numerical order or alphabetical order Alphabetical order is a system whereby character string In computer programming Comp ...
(sort order) rule for Unicode CJK characters (short of sorting characters by code point);Ken Whistler, Markus Scherer
Unicode Collation Algorithm, Unicode Technical Standard #10, version 7.0.0
(2014).
such collation rules as there are language-specific (such as
JIS X 0208 JIS X 0208 is a 2-byte character set specified as a Japanese Industrial Standards, Japanese Industrial Standard, containing 6879 graphic characters suitable for writing text, place names, personal names, and so forth in the Japanese language. Th ...
for Japanese kanji) and do not include any of the CJK Unified Ideographs Extension characters.


Kangxi Radicals block

In Unicode version 3.0 (1999), a separate Kangxi Radicals block was introduced which encodes the 214 radicals in sequence, at U+2F00–2FD5. These are specific code points intended to represent the radical ''qua'' radical, as opposed to the character consisting of the unaugmented radical; thus, U+2F00 represents
radical 1 Radical 1 or radical one () meaning "1, one" is one of the 6 Kangxi radicals (214 radicals in total) composed of 1 stroke (CJK character), stroke. In the ''Kangxi Dictionary'', there are 42 characters (out of 49,030) to be found under this Radical ...
while U+4E00 represents the character ''yī'' meaning "one". In addition, the
CJK Radicals Supplement CJK Radicals Supplement is a Unicode blockA Unicode block is one of several contiguous ranges of numeric character codes ( code points) of the Unicode Unicode is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent charact ...
block (2E80–2EFF) was introduced, encoding alternative (often positional) forms taken by Kangxi radicals as they appear within specific characters. For example, ⺁ "CJK RADICAL CLIFF" (U+2E81) is a variant of ⼚ radical 27 (U+2F1A), itself identical in shape to the character consisting of unaugmented radical 27, 厂 "cliff" (U+5382).


History

The following Unicode-related documents record the purpose and process of defining specific characters in the Kangxi Radicals block:


See also

*
List of Shuowen Jiezi radicals A list of the 540 radicals of the ''Shuowen Jiezi'' in the original seal script The list of ''Shuowen Jiezi'' radicals consists of the 540 radical (Chinese characters), radicals used to structure the ''Shuowen Jiezi'', created by lexicographer Xu ...
*
List of radicals in UnicodeThe List of Unicode radicals comprises those Unicode Unicode is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed in most ...
** Unicode chart – Kangxi Radicals (above) ** Unicode chart – CJK Radicals Supplement *
Table of Indexing Chinese Character Components ''The Table of Indexing Chinese Character Components'' () is a lexicography, lexicographic tool used to order the Chinese characters in mainland China. The specification is also known as GF 0011-2009. In China's normative documents, "radical" is d ...
(aka ''List of Xinhua Zidian radicals'') – 189 radicals * List of Japanese radicals *
Section headers of a Chinese dictionary A Chinese radical () or indexing component is a graphical component of a Chinese character Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoke ...
*
CJK Unified Ideographs The Chinese, Japanese and Korean (CJK) scripts share a common background, collectively known as CJK characters In internationalization, CJK characters is a collective term for the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Korean may refer to: People ...


References

* An Analysis of the Two Chinese Radical Systems, Journal of the Chinese Language Teachers Association, 13, 2, 95–109, May 78


External links


Simplified Chinese characters with English definitions, grouped by radicals

Table of the 214 radicals in the unicode project

List of radicals in home-printable A4 layout

List of 214 Japanese radicals and exceptions to Kangxi
searchable and grouped by stroke number
Tangorin
search Japanese kanji using the 214 Kangxi radicals (link broken
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