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Another Willie - 2018-02-27

“Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation, and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems. The latest version contains a repertoire of 136,755 characters covering 139 modern and historic scripts, as well as multiple symbol sets. The Unicode Standard is maintained in conjunction with ISO/IEC 10646, and both are code-for-code identical.”

Quoted from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unicode

Writing CJK scripts (i.e., Chinese, Japanese and Korean scripts ) on Western Windows systems still is a somewhat challenging task due to coding technology and script font problems involved. For example, not all script fonts contain the complete character set that has been in use for several thousand years, and the Unicode consortium is adding new characters each time when a new unicode version standard (current version is version 10) is published. When preparing textbooks or lexicons on Chinese characters, you will need to include not only information on their respective CJK pronunciation and meaning definitions in any Western language (their meaning may be in all the CJK languages the same while their pronunciation may differ in each case and be mutually unintelligible) but also instructions on how to write several thousand different characters according to their conventional stroke order.

In the latter case, whenever you want to demonstrate stroke order for a character step by step in a CJK character lexicon, you will need to decompose each character into its composite graphical strokes it consists of and then build sequences of stroke additions from the first to the last stroke of a character till the character in question is graphically complete. More recent versions of Unicode include a subset of individual basic strokes and databases of character stroke composition that enable textbook or lexicon compilers to generate graphical stroke order composition of thousands of CJK characters on a Windows computer. Let’s call this the CJK character stroke order database. Since merely demonstrating stroke order of CJK characters without information on their pronunciation and meaning definitions doesn’t make much sense for Western learners of CJK languages, you would have to include such and perhaps other information (on the radical category a CJK character normally belongs to, for example) in the database. With such additional information included, you will essentially have an enlarged database which then may be called a complete CJK character database to differentiate it from a mere CJK character stroke order database.

Replacing English meaning definitions in such a complete CJK character database by respective meaning definitions from any of the other major Western languages will finally allow you to create textbooks or lexica/lexicons of CJK characters for a linguistically diverse community of Western learners of Chinese with different proficiency levels. (Note that a non-native speaker of Chinese (or any other foreign/second language) can only acquire a “transitional competence” in a foreign language; it means that even a Westener with a high degree of near-native competence in Chinese will always still be a learner!).

One of my forthcoming projects is a CJK character dictionary especially for Chinese covering over 8,000 characters with some characters included that are only rarely used or considered obsolete because they are not used in Modern Chinese and appear in classical literature only. I have access to complete CJK character databases in both English and German, and I am currently developing one for smaller Western language communities such as Finnish and Estonian (in linguistic terms, these latter two languages are closely related).

While creating and maintaining such complete CJK databases is largely a collaborational work by a community of specialists and thus not the original work of a single author alone, an individual “author’s” - or better: “compiler’s” - individual contribution will consist in developing a template to present this database information in a professional layout for publication purposes, critically counter-checking the information on several thousands of CJK character entries covered and to make the necessary amendments if so required. H/she will also be responsible for other introductory information at the beginning of the book.

The making of a CJK character dictionary as described above adheres to common decent academic practice followed by all compilers of lexicographical works. Even the Oxford English Dictioinary or any other famous lexicon is, in its final shape, a work that essentially relies heavily on the work of others. Depending on the special circumstances under which a certain lexicographical project is prepared for publication - whether by teamwork of members not mentioned in the publication or by one or two individuals - in the end, all such work is essentially a compilation of information available, put and brought together in a single book.

Messages In This Thread
The Making of a Chinese Character Dictionary -- Another Willie -- 2018-02-27
Re The Making of a Chinese Character Dictionary -- Alias Taffy -- 2018-02-28
Re The Making of a Chinese Character Dictionary -- Another Willie -- 2018-02-28
Copy&Turnoi -- Alias Taffy -- 2018-02-28
Re Copy&Turnoi -- Ánother Willie -- 2018-03-01
Re Copy&Turnoi -- Another Willie -- 2018-03-03
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