How to use the Kanji dictionaries
By using Kanji dictionaries, you can learn the meaning
and reading of any Kanji and Kanji compound word. In a「漢和辞典 (Kanji-Japanese
dictionary)」, Kanji are organized according to radicals. Radicals are
further organized according to the number of strokes. Some of the ways of using
漢和/漢英辞典 are introduced here.
Example: How to find the meaning of 読
- Using 「部首索引[ぶしゅさくいん]」(Radical index): If you know the radical of a Kanji
but don't know the reading of it, it is most convenient to use this index.
- Identify and count the number of strokes of the
radical of the Kanji 読.
The radical of 読 is 言(ごんべん) and has seven strokes.
- In the "radical index" (部首索引), look up the radicals
with seven strokes. There are many radicals
with seven strokes,
you find the
radical 言 as
well as 「見」,「足」, and such. Go to the page number
given for the radical 言.
- Count the strokes of the rest of 読. 「売」has seven
- Kanji with the same radical are arranged
by the number of strokes for the remaining part of that
can find 読、「語」、and「説」among
Kanji with the radical 言 plus seven strokes..
(With some of the electronic dictionaries, you might be
asked to count
of 読 after
the 言 section.)
index): If you can't identify the radical or if you
don't know the reading
of a Kanji at all, you must use this index.
Count all the strokes of the Kanji 読 which
is 14 strokes; and then look for it in the "stroke
index" (総画索引) among
strokes. In the section
for Kanji with 14 strokes. Kanji are
arranged by the number of strokes for the
radicals of those Kanji. Thus, the Kanji 読 is
found in the Kanji section of 14 strokes under the radical 言 (7
number is given
under the Kanji
- Using 「音訓索引[おんくんさくいん]」( "On-kun" index): If you
know the "on" or "kun" reading of a Kanji, this is
a convenient index to use, you can
find the Kanji in "the index of
'on-kun' " (音訓索引)
arranged in the
order of the
あ、い、う、え、お. The on-reading of 読 is
「どく」, so you look it up under「どく」in "on-kun" index.
In the section of the 「どく」, Kanji are
arranged by the
number of strokes.
Under the reading「どく」with 14 strokes,
you can find the page number for the Kanji 読.
For each Kanji listed in a dictionary,
you will find the on-reading and kun-reading,
meaning, and etymological
each Kanji. Some of 漢和辞典 and
漢英辞典 have the stroke order included.
You will also find compound words with the same
as the first or head Kanji (and in some
dictionaries, compound words with the
same Kanji in any
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