Archive for the ‘Stroke order’ Category

Japanese kanji handwriting recognition in Windows XP’s IME

2007 March 31

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Kanji mnemonic: plant, fence, and bridge

2007 March 18

We will learn 3 shapes this time!

First is the plant shape. Observe the blue shapes in these kanji:

草 is the kanji for grass (kusa), 花 is the kanji for flower (hana), and 菜 is the kanji for vegetables (na). I call the blue shape the “plant” shape. Here’s an image of two plants:

For decoration, I made the flowers bloom :). Note that you can see the roots underground. The superimposed image should make it clear why it is called the plant shape:

Of course the discussion wouldn’t be complete without the stroke order:

OK, the plant shape… I’ll guarantee that you will meet it often (and many times in a plant-related kanji). The other two shapes are less common but I bring it here because they are similar to the plant shape.

Next is the bridge shape. See the blue shapes in the following kanji:

算 is the kanji for calculation (san), 鼻 is the kanji for nose (hana), and 械 is the kanji for machine (kai). This shape is devilish because it is so similar to the previous one. Having a completely different mnemonic is a must if you don’t want things mixed up. Look at the image below:

It is a nice bridge that allows you to cross the river! The image fits well with the shape:

Hence it is called the “bridge” shape. Remember, the key point is the bend on the left vertical stroke. Plant roots don’t bend sideways because, well… probably because gravity. Or is it because they can “smell” more water below and try to dig downwards as far as they could? Whatever, here’s the stroke order:

Now for the last one, the fence shape. Take a good look at the blue shapes below:

黄 means yellow (ki), 散 means to scatter (chi.ru), and 昔 means olden days (mukashi). It’s the plant shape with an extra stroke! But I use a different mnemonic, not related to plants, so that those two aren’t mixed up. Look at my drawing below:

Why, it’s a nice fence that protects the garden… Focus on the two vertical woods, and superimpose the kanji shape:

It fits perfectly! Therefore I call it the “fence” shape. The stroke order:

I hope with those mnemonics, your kanji quest can be made easier. Happy kanji hunting!