Experience in designing databases for learning Chinese characters

Ho Cheong LAM, W. W. KI, A. L. S. CHUNG, Po Yuk KO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


There is much regularity in Chinese characters. For example, the characters 車(car), 輪(wheel), 軌(rail), 輸(transport), 載(carry), 轉(turn) and 轟(the roar of train) are all in relation to "transportation" and at the same time share the component 車. An interactive database that can retrieve these characters as linked together can enable students to explore and discover the relationship among the characters. This paper reports our many years of works in designing and developing such databases for learning Chinese characters. Several interesting issues on the implementation are raised, including intuitive interaction, demand for high accuracy, codification of components, decomposition of characters, handling multiple acceptable values, irregularity of Chinese characters and application-oriented development. Unlike most technology-centric research, much of our experience has been gained through an iterative development of the databases with actual contents and in collaboration with the Chinese educators. In this paper, we hope to propose a more humanistic and contextual approach into the study of Chinese computing. Copyright © 2000 World Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-375
JournalInternational Journal of Computer Processing of Languages
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2000


Lam, H. C., Ki, W. W., Chung, A. L. S., & Ko, P. Y. (2000). Experience in designing databases for learning Chinese characters. International Journal of Computer Processing of Oriental Languages, 13(4), 351-375. doi: 10.1142/S0219427900000235


  • Learning Chinese characters
  • Character component
  • Computer assisted language learning
  • Knowledge representation
  • Chinese database and information retrieval


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