Page:語言自邇集 - Yǔ yán zì ěr jí. A progressive course designed to assist the student of colloquial Chinese Vol 1.djvu/31

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21
PART II.—THE RADICALS.

and once he knows, as he soon will, the place of any radical in the General Table, he will recall the number of strokes composing it without the trouble of counting them.

Take the third example opposite the 85th Radical, shui, water. The radical itself is the abbreviated form of shui: the phonetic resolves itself into four radicals; the centre of the upper part is the 149th, of seven strokes; this is flanked on both sides by the 120th, of six strokes; and below is the 59th, of three strokes; making in all twenty-two strokes. In the second example of the 29th Radical, the phonetic is simply the 128th Radical; in the second example of the 75th Radical, the phonetic is that same radical repeated. The rule regarding the composition of the phonetic is not strictly universal, but by the beginner it may be accepted as very generally obtaining.

To assist the student in acquiring a working knowledge of the radicals, three test tables are subjoined.

The first contains all the characters chosen to illustrate the use of the radicals in the General Table, arranged in order of the number of their strokes collectively. When the student shall have examined the first 30, or 20, or even 10, of the radicals in the General Table, let him run down the right-hand column of the Test Table, and try to identify the radicals of the characters therein placed, turning to the General Table for assistance whenever his memory fails him. This will speedily acquaint him with the radicals and the part they most commonly play.

The second Test Table contains all the radicals redistributed in categories of subjects, according to the meaning of each. Some are in consequence repeated. At the top of the right-hand column, for instance, we have the 72nd, as the sun, followed by the 73rd, the moon; then the 72nd again, as day, followed by the 36th, as night. It is hoped that this will at the same time aid and exercise the memory; but it will not be of as great service to him as the following table, the third.

The third table exhibits the radicals in three classes, distinguished for brevity's sake as colloquial, classical, and obsolete. The colloquial are those which represent words used, many of them frequently, in conversation; the classical, those not met with in conversation bnt found in books and writing; the obsolete, those which, although the dictionaries allot them a signification, are no longer employed except as radical indices. The colloquial radicals are 142 in number, the classical 25, the obsolete 47.

The student is recommended, when he shall have examined the General Table sufficiently to have formed a definite idea of the nature and functions of the radical characters arranged in it, to betake himself to the Exercises in the Colloquial Radicals which immediately follow this third Test Table. In these he will find a number of short combinations of words, all of them, with the exception of one or two, which are separately explained, radical characters; arranged more or less in categories of subjects. If he will keep to these exercises till he really knows every character in them, he will be master of 138 of the 214 radicals, and he will have easy victory over the remaining 76.

The explanations set opposite the radicals in the General Table might often be expanded or modified, but will be found for the present sufficient.