PRIMITIVE ELEMENTS

Index » RtK Volume 1

 
KANJI Member
Registered: 2006-08-10 Posts: 122

Has anyone seen a digitalized list of the Primitive Elements? Or a digitalized list of kanji radicals? Is there an actual font that includes either of those?

Do post-third edtion RTK book versions have the Primitive Elements printed--not hand drawn?

CharleyGarrett Member
From: Cusseta Georgia USA Registered: 2006-05-25 Posts: 303

In my copy of the book, the primatives all appear to be printed---not hand drawn.  I'd love to know of a font that would allow me to print radicals....Have you ever heard of such a thing?

ファブリス Administrator
From: Belgium Registered: 2006-06-14 Posts: 4021 Website

Here's a list of radicals : http://www.yellowbridge.com/language/radicals.html

It looks like they are part of the font, perhaps only the chinese fonts; because in JWPce (freeware japanese text editor) I can not see them, I see ? instead when I copy/paste.

Perhaps you could type them into a chinese word processor like NJStar.

Another idea would be to consult the UNICODE lists to see if/where is a range for the chinese radicals, should be in there somewhere. I don't have time for that now, but if you guys have a look and find something please let me know!

Also as for the primitives, some of them are stand-alone kanji in the RTK building-block method, others may not be available in chinese or japanese fonts since the combinations are made up by Heisig. Most of Heisig's primitives correspond directly to radicals though.

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KANJI Member
Registered: 2006-08-10 Posts: 122

Thank you for the replies and for Denis' link for the Yellow Bridge radical list. That by the way has a particularly useful second list, which lists the radicals by graphic similarity.

Check out also this other site for a  list of radicals, each of which links to a separate page of related information how the radical is used with example kanji:

http://www.nuthatch.com/kanji/demo/strokes.html

Japanese has 214 radicals. My RTK (3rd ed.) lists 216+ primitive elements. How many more I don't know because Heisig did not intend to include in the list, those primitive elements that are also kanji. I have not compared the two to see how many radicals I can use in my own list making of primitive elements.

In my own study of RTK, I made primitive elements the central core. And so returning to my study again after a long absence, I want to do the same but incorporate use of the computer. I hope to digitalize the primitive elements so I can easily insert them into notes I make about kanji.

In my RTK book, the primitive elements are hand drawn even in the list in the appendix. If in later editions, they are typed, then somewhere in the world is a font of those symbols!!

Any of you who share my intuition about the importance of primitive elements, I hope you will help search for the "missing font," the "X-font."

CharleyGarrett Member
From: Cusseta Georgia USA Registered: 2006-05-25 Posts: 303

ファブリス wrote:

....consult the UNICODE lists to see if/where is a range for the chinese radicals, should be in there somewhere.

Great suggestion!  There are unicode values for the radicals and their variants.  Thanks!  I used the link you gave to a chart of the 214 chinese radicals, and then I could look up the unicode value for each character in the chart.  Rikaichan actually looked them up for me....big_smile

Pangolin Member
From: UK Registered: 2006-07-23 Posts: 137

KANJI wrote:

somewhere in the world is a font of those symbols!!

Do you mean a font containing the radicals on the yellowbridge.com site? I have been experimenting with the Asian unicode fonts installed with Microsoft Asian Language support and I've found that although the fonts normally used for Japanese (e.g. MS Mincho, MS Gothic) have some of the radicals, only the the Chinese fonts (e.g. MingLiu, SimHei) and Arial Unicode MS have them all.

Of course, the trick is finding the characters! I've produced a pdf of the radicals along with the unicode NCR (used with HTML, which contain the decimal unicode character codes) and the hex equivalents (you can use this to look them up in Windows Character Map amongst other things). The font is embedded in the pdf (I used MS MingLiu) and the text can be copied.

I notice they don't display in JWPce for some reason, but they do display in Word, Excel, Notepad, etc. if you have Asian language support in Windows, which I presume all Windows users here do.

http://www.transient.eclipse.co.uk/chinese_radicals.pdf

I hope others find this handy, please let me know if you find any errors.

(edit: I changed the XLS file to a PDF so as not to require Excel or compatible spreadsheet program to view.)

Last edited by Pangolin (2006 August 17, 2:13 pm)

KANJI Member
Registered: 2006-08-10 Posts: 122

Pangolin asked me,
"Do you mean a font containing the radicals on the yellowbridge.com site?"
No, I don't. RTK primitive elements are not the same as radicals although some correspondence may be found.

Someone I believe earlier replied to my inquiry about later RTK editions, saying that the Primitive Elements are printed as opposed to hand drawn as in the earlier RTK. This means that there must be a font; otherwise they could not be printed. It could be the case that the publisher created one just for RTK; or the PEs are essentially radicals and found in Asian fonts.

Pangolin Member
From: UK Registered: 2006-07-23 Posts: 137

KANJI wrote:

Pangolin asked me,
"Do you mean a font containing the radicals on the yellowbridge.com site?"
No, I don't. RTK primitive elements are not the same as radicals although some correspondence may be found.

Someone I believe earlier replied to my inquiry about later RTK editions, saying that the Primitive Elements are printed as opposed to hand drawn as in the earlier RTK. This means that there must be a font; otherwise they could not be printed. It could be the case that the publisher created one just for RTK; or the PEs are essentially radicals and found in Asian fonts.

No doubt Japanese publishers have many resources that are not generally available, being able to manipulate fonts with a font editor such as Fontographer springs to mind.

Shvegait Member
From: Pennsylvania - USA Registered: 2006-07-25 Posts: 12

If you notice, some of the primitive elements are not typed in a full square. For example, the primitive for "kazoo" (page 189 in RTK 4th ed) looks like it was just cut from "discriminating" 識. And it's pretty clear that this is one of the primitives Heisig invented... Other primitives that look like they were just stripped from other kanji include "float" (p. 158), (which it seems is a simplification of double-fiesta), "apron" (p. 171), "piglets" (p. 208), "Pegasus" (p. 215), and "fledgling" (p. 242). All of these are clearly not "full-size", which makes it seem as though they were simply cut from other characters (and they appear in that exact form in another kanji on the same or next page). So it seems these characters are not actually part of any (available) font, and were manipulated as Pangolin suggested.

The primitives that are typed in a full square are either Chinese radicals or kanji in their own right (mostly rare I'd imagine, or Heisig would have just assigned them a number), so it makes sense that these characters would be in a font. But as to the ones Heisig created, it is logical that those characters were custom-made.

Last edited by Shvegait (2006 August 12, 10:18 pm)

Reply #10 - 2006 August 12, 10:52 pm
CharleyGarrett Member
From: Cusseta Georgia USA Registered: 2006-05-25 Posts: 303

Actually, my interest was in setting up Supermemo to learn the Japanese names (and numbers) of the 214 traditional radicals.  Therefore, the fact that a unicode font may have those radicals in the font (which apparently they do since they show up on the website, and rikaichan tells me the unicode value of them), then I can do that, if I want to.  I want to finish RTK1 and possibly up to 3007 kanji before I bother with that.

Last edited by CharleyGarrett (2006 August 12, 10:53 pm)

Reply #11 - 2006 August 13, 1:29 am
astridtops Member
From: Netherlands Registered: 2006-06-07 Posts: 110

Shvegait wrote:

The primitives that are typed in a full square are either Chinese radicals or kanji in their own right (mostly rare I'd imagine, or Heisig would have just assigned them a number), so it makes sense that these characters would be in a font. But as to the ones Heisig created, it is logical that those characters were custom-made.

Actually, there are some primitives that are kanji, but for some reasons weren't included in RTKI. However, Heisig lists a few of those in RTKIII, the primitives mandala, rabbit, scorpion, strawman, mosaic, dogtag, zoo, cabbage, towel, rising cloud, wand, angel and graveyard are actually kanji of their own. Some of the meanings differ from the primitive meaning, some are the same. Also, there are some kanji for combinations of primitives that haven't been given combined meaning before, but get one in RTKIII (the footprint-spoon combo, the tophat-villain-elbow-belt combo, the vulture-up-a-tree combo, the one-mouth-fiesta combo, the car-axe combo).

Reply #12 - 2006 August 13, 7:30 am
Shvegait Member
From: Pennsylvania - USA Registered: 2006-07-25 Posts: 12

Yes, I understand that smile That's why I said "the primitives that are typed in a full square are either Chinese radicals or kanji in their own right." My point was that you can easily tell which primitives are NOT going to be found as a radical, as a kanji, or in any generally available font.

Last edited by Shvegait (2006 August 13, 7:30 am)

Reply #13 - 2006 August 13, 8:59 am
ファブリス Administrator
From: Belgium Registered: 2006-06-14 Posts: 4021 Website

CharleyGarrett wrote:

I'd love to know of a font that would allow me to print radical

To find the characters for all the radicals :

Unihan Database over at unicode.org

examples :

Radical #64 (hand) (4 strokes)

And it's compressed form : 扌.

So all the chinese radicals have their unicode character, for example does not exist as a stand-alone kanji.

I guess all the standard japanese fonts include all the radicals.

Reply #14 - 2006 August 14, 1:32 pm
krusher Member
From: New Zealand Registered: 2006-03-08 Posts: 39

CharleyGarrett wrote:

Actually, my interest was in setting up Supermemo to learn the Japanese names (and numbers) of the 214 traditional radicals.

That's a really good idea - you'd be able to use any dictionary (even Chinese ones) and be able to do it really fast. I'd like to do that aswell, but my palm pilot's making me lazy wink

KANJI Member
Registered: 2006-08-10 Posts: 122

Thanks for info given here about fonts. I have since found an easier solution for me in wanting digitalized Primitives, which may help others as well. Check out the archive at Remembering_The_Kanji, a Yahoo group, for the digital file, Heisig_complete_v3.doc kindly posted by penthisilea2005. The file lists the elements for each RTK1 kanji, including primitives. (Thank you, penthisilea2005, wherever you are.)

So all you need do is copy and past the desired Primitive into your own study notes. So far this file has had the ones I have needed. I am assuming that will be the case for the rest of the Primitives that I want.

KANJI Member
Registered: 2006-08-10 Posts: 122

Nix that. It's a nice file but what I got were probably radicals and even then the file lists many elements with just the keywords, not the graphics. In regard to Primitives, it's back to the drawing board ...

Reply #17 - 2006 October 16, 3:13 am
chamcham Member
Registered: 2005-11-11 Posts: 1444

To avoid problems with copyright infringement,
maybe someone can just submit handwritten
images of the Heisig primitives.

You probably wont' ever need to be able to
copy-and-paste the primitives anyway. So
I think custom images would work.

Reply #18 - 2006 October 16, 9:51 am
KANJI Member
Registered: 2006-08-10 Posts: 122

Each to their own. Copy and paste primitives would suit me just fine. It would give great pleasure in making complete study notes, at the very least.

I can't see any copyright infringement. First, there is such a thing called "fair use" which would apply. But even if it didn't, the graphics we are talking about are in the public domain--most of them being radicals. The others may have other Japanese sources as RTK indicates.

Actually I have resigned myself that a digitalized list of RTK primitives is not to be found. Those that are radicals--I already have. But an incomplete list does not move me.

Thank you for your post anyway.

Reply #19 - 2006 October 17, 7:14 am
ファブリス Administrator
From: Belgium Registered: 2006-06-14 Posts: 4021 Website

Kanji, you can probably stack different radicals in photoshop or illustrator or maybe that can be done in Word, to get the "radical combos" primitives.

Reply #20 - 2006 October 17, 7:28 am
colonel32 Member
From: Oxford UK Registered: 2006-09-03 Posts: 60

Regarding copy-and-paste solutions, these would either involve bitmaps (as Fabrice says) or characters in fonts.

Regarding the latter, official radicals and kanji are defined as unicode code points, and each individual font implements a particular set of code points. Probably the biggest reason why this hasn't already been done is that Heisig primitives haven't been allocated code points by the unicode standards body.

I think it's technically possible to assign code points for the primitives in one of the "private use" code point ranges, then use a font editor to create your own true type primitives, perhaps basing them in part on existing characters that contain those primitives. You could then create your own "Kanji Plus Primitives" font.

This would work as long as everyone installed this font and used it instead of their standard kanji font. There'd also have to be general agreement on the code points used for each primitive. And you'd have to base your work on an opensource kanji font (if such a thing exists), because I'm sure you wouldn't be able to redistribute any font containing data derived from a copyrighted font. Finally, I'm sure it would be a hell of a lot of work.

Reply #21 - 2006 October 17, 7:33 am
KANJI Member
Registered: 2006-08-10 Posts: 122

?????, you're very right and kind to mention it. I put that off though because I imagine it would be a big task. I had hoped it might have been done already; or it could be collectively done through this site. Of course, we have the radicals, so that reduces the number of primitives to about a hundred or so. If I didn't have a day job, I might have had it done already, ha, ha.

Reply #22 - 2006 October 17, 7:39 am
KANJI Member
Registered: 2006-08-10 Posts: 122

Fabrice, sorry but when I copy-pasted your name in katana, it was transposed in transit! I don't know why that happened when it looked fine in my own window.

Pangolin Member
From: UK Registered: 2006-07-23 Posts: 137

I began such a project inspired by your request, KANJI. I am interested in font design and have an ancient copy of Fontographer from about 1998 (which is still the current version for Windows! It only works properly on Windows 9x, so I had to create a Virtual Machine on my XP system to run it!).

I made bit-mapped images from a generic Japanese "text book" font (the type used in the stroke order diagrams in RTK1) and, unless the primitive was already a character in it's own right, I erased the unwanted portions of the character. The resulting bitmaps are imported into Fontographer and "autotraced" into the vector graphics form used for scalable fonts.

As for coding, does it really matter? I started by putting them in the order they appear in the index of RTK1, starting with code 21 ("!" in ASCII), avoiding any code clusters usually reserved for control codes. Fontographer doesn't handle double-byte Unicode schemes, by the way.

Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself, because I'm not sure if I can find the time to complete it. As everyone has guessed, it IS a lot of work! I think I have several dozen so far. I may be encouraged to finish it, if people think it is worthwhile, but I don't think I would have a use for it myself.

(By the way, the displayed and printed result is superb, I impressed myself!)

CharleyGarrett Member
From: Cusseta Georgia USA Registered: 2006-05-25 Posts: 303

Good work!  I've got a spreadsheet that I'm working on, but it is just the 214 traditional radicals, which have a pretty good representation in the MS Gothic font.  There are even a few of the "variations" of the radicals, but not all of them, at least not that I know of. 

If anybody wants to look at what I've done, and maybe help out with more variations of radicals that I haven't found yet, let me know.  I welcome the assistance, and naturally am willing to donate the work.

Reply #25 - 2006 October 18, 6:58 am
ファブリス Administrator
From: Belgium Registered: 2006-06-14 Posts: 4021 Website

Bitmaps are resolution dependent. I would suggest to use the radicals found in chinese fonts, using the unicode website to find the radicals, and then stack them in a vector program like Illustrator. Then they can be resized, parts can be masked/clipped and if necessary missing bits can be added, all in vector mode. Then you can output bitmaps from that in any resolution.