Chinese Input Methods

The Traditional Chinese editions of Windows NT 3.5 and Windows 95 ship with several different input methods.

Phonetic Symbol

The phonetic-symbol input method is based on the Chinese standard phonetic script called bopomofo. Bopomofo consists of 37 symbols and 5 audible tones, which are assigned to the letters A through Z, the numbers 0 through 9, and some special keys. The user generates Chinese characters by combining consonants, semi-vowels, and tones. The user can choose from among four different keyboard layouts, including layouts defined by IBM and E-Ten Information Systems.

Chang Jei

The Chang Jei input method builds Chinese characters based on radicals. Twentyfive radicals are assigned to the letters A through Y. The letter X is used to generate more complex radicals. Up to five keystrokes are required to generate a single Chinese character using the following sequence of patterns: top-down, left-right, and outside-inside. Each pattern style consists of a character heading and a character body. Building a character heading requires a maximum of two keystrokes (the first and last radicals). Building a character body requires a maximum of three keystrokes (the first, second, and last radicals). This input method adheres to the Chang Jei tables published by E-Ten Information Systems. A "quick," or "simplified," variation of the Chang Jei input method also ships with Chinese Windows.

Da Yi, Array, and Internal Code

Two other input methods that build characters using radicals are the Da Yi input method and the Array input method. The Da Yi method defines 40 basic radicals, arranged on a standard 101-key keyboard and corresponding to the stroke order in which characters are handwritten. A maximum of four basic radicals make up a Chinese character. The Array input method defines 10 basic keystrokes, numbered 0 through 9, that represent basic radicals. The columns of keys beneath each number—for example, on a US keyboard the letters QAZ beneath 1 and the letters WSX beneath 2—are used to select specific characters.

Another method is the Internal Code input method, which allows the user to select a character by typing in its Big-5 code-point index.

Activating the IME

You can activate the IME on the Traditional Chinese edition of Windows NT 3.5 by pressing either the Ctrl+Spacebar key combination on the right or the Ctrl+Spacebar key combination on the left, depending on the option you have selected for the IME in Control Panel. To deactivate the IME, you must switch it to half-width mode by clicking the toolbar and then press the same key combination you used to activate the IME.

The IME toolbar remains at the bottom of the screen as you type. (See Figure 7-13.) The first toolbar section (on the far left) displays the name of the active input method. You can switch among input methods currently installed in the system by clicking the mouse in this section. The second toolbar section tells you whether the IME is in full-width mode or half-width mode. The third section, which is considerably wider than the others, contains the candidate list.

Figure 7-13 The IME user interface for the Traditional Chinese edition of Windows NT 3.5.

The user can select characters from the candidate list by clicking them. Each input method, except for the Array method, also has its own on-screen keyboard layout. To enter characters, click the rightmost section of the toolbar. To enter punctuation, click the toolbar section labeled with a comma (,), just left of the right most section.

The IME toolbar for Traditional Chinese Windows 95, called the status window, is similar to the toolbar on Chinese Windows NT 3.5. (See Figure 7-14.) The two leftmost sections of the Windows 95 status window correspond exactly to the Windows NT toolbar. The third and fourth sections on the Windows 95 status window display the name of an alternative input method and the current character's representation in that input method. Click the comma bitmap to enter punctuation (as you would on Windows NT), and click the keyboard icon to activate the on-screen keyboard.

Figure 7-14 The Traditional Chinese Windows 95 default IME status window.

Entering Chinese Characters

If you are running Traditional Chinese Windows NT 3.5, try the following: start Microsoft Write or another application that accepts text input. Activate the Chinese IME by pressing Ctrl+Spacebar. The IME will be in half-width mode. Change the mode to full-width by clicking the full-width/half-width section of the toolbar. Type the Chinese name for the USA, which literally means The Beautiful Country, using the Phonetic Symbol input method, which is a popular Chinese input method.

Press the following keys: A, O, 3. Or, if you are using the on-screen keyboard, click the following keys instead:

Choose the first character in the candidate list.

Press the following keys: E, J, I, 6. If you are using the on-screen keyboard, click the following keys instead:

Choose the first character in the candidate list. The Chinese word for the USA appears.

To type Taiwan using the Phonetic Symbol input method, perform these steps:

Press the following keys: W, 9, 6. If you are using the on-screen keyboard, click the following keys instead:

Choose the second character from the candidate list.

Press the following keys: J, 0 (zero). If you are using the on-screen keyboard, click the following keys instead:

Press the Spacebar to indicate that the character you want is in first tone.

Choose the first character from the candidate list. The Chinese word for Taiwan appears.

If you are running Traditional Chinese Windows 95, try entering Taipei City. Start Notepad and perform the following steps:

Click the following using the on-screen keyboard:

Choose the numeral 2 from the list of characters shown in Figure 7-15.

Figure 7-15 The Traditional Chinese IME on Windows 95.

The IME lists commonly used phrases that begin with the character you selected. (See Figure 7-16.)

Figure 7-16 Spelling Taipei City with the Traditional Chinese IME on Windows 95. The numbered entries represent commonly used phrases that begin with the character the user selected.

Choose the second phrase on the candidate list. The Chinese characters for Taipei City appear.

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