learning Cangjie

so i somehow managed to commit myself to digitizing all the fanqie spellings from the 廣韻 (a Sung-dynasty rhyme book) as part of my masters degree. That has since been downgraded to inputting only the ones that are easily typeable, but it’s still a massive sort of undertaking. So I decided to learn 倉頡 (Cangjie, aka Chongkit) to input the characters, since on the computer i’m working on that’s the one that supports the most characters. The input method I’d learned many years ago is called 大易 Dayi, but it’s not very popular. meaning, i’m the only person i know that actually uses it. plus, it’s not very well supported in general. Cangjie, on the other hand, lots of people use, and the HK government even provides a file listing all the characters in the HKSCS along with their Cangjie input codes. So now that I’ve learned both, I can do a little comparison.

I must admit, Cangjie seems a little simpler. First, there are only 24 keys to learn, versus 40 in Dayi. That makes it easier to figure out the correct input keys. Also, the rules (once you’ve learnt them) are more straightforward. It’s a little unintuitive at first, because you have to split some characters in awkward places, but you get the hang of it pretty quickly. it’s very graphically oriented—you eyeball a character and decompose it into small keyboardable parts—whereas Dayi is more writing-oriented (you type in the radicals in the same order they’re written).

But the main reason i’m switching is that it’s just better supported. My PalmPilot actually supports Cangjie with HKSCS, so I can do some work while on the road.