We have seen that not all the signs-shapes forming a character had to be
chosen and inputted to get a character. Only a maximum of FIVE signs are needed to get a character. Therefore, several
(many, most of the time for complex characters) of the signs-shapes forming a character
are "SKIPPED", not included in the code.
I/ Rules of Selection of Signs
The Signs to be chosen for input are determined according
to two factors:
First criteria: the structure of the character: Cang-Jie has
defined three structural types which are defined by the number
of intervals they contain.
JC VI S
Unit characters do not contain separating intervals. In principle,
all Signs composing a One Unit character, join or cross each
other, making one “block”, i.e.: a single Unit.
Two-Unit characters contain
separating interval that divides their Signs into two
“blocks” of signs, i.e.: two units.
each “block”, Signs are, in principle, linked or connected to each
characters contain 2 separating intervals that divide their Signs into
“blocks” of signs, i.e.: three units.
the first and second Unit (block), Signs are, in principle, linked or
connected to each other. (The Third Unit is composed of any signs
left after the second interval).
unit characters are allocated a maximum of 4
unit characters are allocated a maximum of 5
unit characters are allocated a maximum of 5
Basic definition of units: From the
examples above, it derives that a Unit can be defined so far as: a group of signs linked together
by crossing or joining of their shapes, and separated from contiguous unit(s).
by an interval.
In a character, there cannot be
less than one unit, and no more than three units. When a character is
composed of more than one unit, units are separated by a "separating
interval" (red lines shown in the illustrations above).
Second Criteria: signs position within the pattern of the character:
characters are traced according to a certain sequence: from top to bottom;
left to right; outside to inside. So we can speak of a stroke order, and say
that each stroke occupies a position in the sequence of all the strokes of a
The situation is
very similar with the CJ signs: when we look at a character to decompose it
into signs, we have to follow the order of its strokes and each sign will
occupy a specific position in this sequence. To determine the position
of a sign, we must look at it in its own unit, and follow the
direction: from top to bottom; left to right; outside to inside.
The complete explanation and illustration of the sequence of signs is
presented on the page: Order of Signs.
For now, in order to understand the rules of selection of signs, we just
need to keep in mind that each sign has a positions inside its unit,
and that this position is determined along rules similar to that governing
the stroke writing order.
spelling out the rules we must make a preliminary note regarding the position
of the units themselves within a
character: in multi-unit characters arises the question of the order of
the units it contains:
which unit is first, second or third? Determining such order is essential
for finding the proper code. This will be re-examined later in this page,
but for the time being let us state that the order of the units is very much like the order of the signs: the top
unit, or the left one is the first unit; then below or on the right are the
second and or third units (illustrated later below)
We can now enunciate the famous 3 rules!
Rules of sign selection:
Type of character structure
Position of the signs
for the 1st, 2nd,
3rd & last sign.
unit gets 2 codes: for 1st & last sign;
unit gets 3
codes: for 1st, 2nd & last sign;
First unit gets 2 codes: for 1st & last sign;
Second unit gets 2 codes: for 1st & last sign;
Third Unit gets 1 code for the last sign.
if the second unit
had only 1 sign, then the third units gets 2 codes for its 1st & last
IMPORTANT: All signs
that are not in the positions named
on above table are
not included in the code.
Application of above rules::
(Skipped signs are in black: they do not make part of the
for this step, the rules have already been condensed above, by graphic and
tables (for a global table of the rules and graphics together, click
Summary of Step 6:
In the previous steps you learned to how to detect main and secondary
signs inside characters in a certain sequence, and this already allowed
you to input a great number of characters chosen carefully in the
Now you just have learned
and determine their position. In this step 6, you just learned how
to recognize the all the 3 basic types of units and how the CJ method
allocate codes between them: their number and their position. You have of
course, realized that only a few of all the signs shapes fof a character
form its code: those in between of pre-defined positions are skipped.
Armed with so much knowledge,
you can now sail for the action recommended below.
Action: do the
, a zip file containing 3 pdf files,
extracted from the CangJie Method book on a) simple single unit
characters; b) simple two unit characters; c) simple three
The above rules for the
selection of signs --number of units, number and position of the signs shapes to
choose--apply to all characters (except for the four exceptions
that we will review at
the last step of this trip).
However, the definition
of the units given in the first table here-above saying, I recall, that
units are differentiated by intervals between signs or group of signs, is
enlarged for more complex characters that comprise too many intervals. In
such cases, strokes or blocks of strokes are integrated and deemed to form
a "united unit", even if it contains "physical" intervals.
This virtual integration of
sub-part of characters is very useful as it keeps to three the maximum
number of units for any character, even very complex with many
strokes. We will now study in what type of character pattern this virtual
So we must go through the 7th
step to know these rules.
Next: Step 7: