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Cantonese Input

There aren't really any good Cantonese input methods out there. As a partial remedy, here's one I made for Mac OS, based on the LSHK Jyutping tables. The latest version is 1.1.2, which is fixed to work with OS X 10.5 and includes instructions for installing it all the way to OS X 10.9! Both the Jyutping and Yale downloads include the source data files, so you can fiddle with them and build your own, if you so desire.

Download Jyutping for Mac version 1.1.2 (for OS X 10.2 or later - 10.9 compatible!) - note: use version 1.1 for OS 9 or OS X 10.1

Also available is a Yale-romanized Cantonese input method, which some people might be more used to. The latest version works in OS X 10.5 and adds some HKSCS characters, to match the Jyutping plugin.

Download Yale Cantonese for Mac 1.0 (for OS X 10.2 or later)

If you want other romanizations, you are welcome to play with the source files I've provided. Hint: a little perl goes a long way.

Despite providing a Jyuting input method here, I'm not sure it's a very good system for input. For one thing, it takes so many keystrokes! It's also a pain to always remember when to use "oe" and when to use "eo", which are so similar to each other, and the vowels they represent are phonologically in complementary distribution, that it's really just an extra burden.

Also, I'm not sure it's the best system for people learning Cantonese, mainly because it uses numbers for tones. I mean, the numbers are practically hard-wired into my brain, and I still prefer drawing tone marks (acute accent for rising tone, etc.), not just because it's prettier but because it vaguely reminds you of of the pitch contour, whereas with numbers you get nothing. On that note, the Yale system of distinguishing lower register with an "h" certainly reduces the number of diacritics you need, but it's rather confusing.

OK, rant over.

Chinese on Mobile Devices

I highly recommend PlecoDict, with the ABC Dictionary. The app is free, with paid add-ons, including specialized dictionaries, OCR with the camera, super handwriting recognition, even Cantonese voices (coming soon as of this writing). You can download on the app store via this convenient link:

Pleco Chinese Dictionary

Chinese on Mac OS

The comprehensive source for information on Chinese on the Mac is The Chinese Mac FAQ.

For looking up characters in every which way possible, I highly recommend Wenlin. It's pricey, but there's really no other reasonable way to, say, find characters by their phonetic components (e.g., which characters contain 翟 dik6 as the phonetic? A: 躍 joek6 ‘leap’ 耀 jiu6 ‘shine’, 戳 coek3 ‘jab, poke’, 擢 zok6 ‘pull out’, etc.). (I wrote a blog post about it!)

CJK Tables for Eudora - for anyone who's still using Eudora (I've switched to OS X Mail). Eudora has trouble sending out emails with Chinese in them. These tables help a little.

by Dominic Yu | contact me! | Back to Main Page | last modified 2013.10.12