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Radical (部首, ぶしゅ, bushu)

The basic component of Chinese a character, usually bearing a semantic meaning. Today, there are 214 radicals in total and 14 variants of their positioning within a given character (top, bottom, left, right, surrounding, etc). The 7 most common radicals that are incorporated into over 1000 kanji each are: 艸 (くさ, kusa, i.e. “grass”), 水 (みず, mizu, i.e. “water”), 手 (て, te, i.e. “hand”), 木 (き, ki, i.e. “tree”), 口 (くち, kuchi, i.e. “mouth”), 心 (こころ, kokoro, i.e. “heart”), and 虫 (むし, mushi, i.e. “insect”). It is important to distinguish radicals from kanji components. All radicals can be classified as kanji components (be it semantic, phonetic, or both), but not vice versa.

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Page last modified on November 04, 2011, at 07:40 AM