We said in STEP 1 that the 111 shapes (the CJ signs) that can reproduce all character shapes are regrouped into 24 groups under the banner of 24 Main-sign represented each by 24 letters of the alphabet (letters A to W plus Y ).
In this page we will first present the Main-Signs. The remaining 87 "secondary signs" will be present in STEP 3..
As you can see in the table below, the 24 main-signs are the shapes of 24 full fledge characters. Each one is shown associated with their respective code-letter:
In the table above, the signs are presented in alphabetical order. This allows us to deduct why such characters (their shape) were chosen as main-signs: it is because they are important characters in Chinese culture: in the first category, Cosmology, the seven 'shapes" stand for the Ying-Yang polarity and the Five Elements symbols; the second category represents calligraphy strokes. The third, four human abilities; and the fourth, six states of transformation. Further explanations on these categories are to be found in the CJ Book. It's useful to read them because it helps to remember them and to associate them with their position with their corresponding letters on the keyboard.
The two pictures below shows the same main-signs as they are distributed in the usual American keyboard:
It is very important to associate precisely each Main signs shapes to its corresponding letter. So, when that shape has to be included as part of the code of a character, you rapidly know which key to type.
Because we think it is important to start on a good foot, we have made available all the chapter to download: FIRST CHAPTER. (a zipped PDF file). You can print this chapter and read it at ease. (In this Chapter you will also find useful graphic explanations on a) the process of inputting and b) on how to remember the position of the main signs on the keyboard; c) the typing mechanism).
To help make this association fast -without forcing the learner to memorize the Main signs/letters relations, we have devised many exercises, extremely simple, on dozens and dozens of characters and "character phrases" in Chapter One of the CJ Method book.
However, before you start doing the exercises presented in that chapter one, we recommend you first look into STEP 3 of the learning process. Indeed, even the code of simple characters requires the respect of some basic rules: the rules of order of input.