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100 most common radicals with exmaples and colloquial names

0.01MB. 0 audio & 0 images. Updated 2016-01-26.


This list contains the most commonly used 100 radicals based on the 2500 most commonly used characters, which means that this is actually a list of radicals that learners will benefit from using. I have written an article explaining this list here, where there's also printable PDFs: Kickstart your character learning with the 100 most common radicals For each radical, this deck contains:
  1. Simplified – This shows the simplified version of the radical as it appears in most characters.
  2. Traditional – This shows the traditional character as it appears in most characters.
  3. Variants – This shows other common variants of the same radical or the original character.
  4. Meaning – This is the basic meaning(s) of the radical in English.
  5. Pronunciation -Pinyin. If written in parentheses, it is not among the most common 2000.
  6. Examples -Five examples chosen from the 2000 most common (simplified) characters.
  7. Comment – My notes for the radical with extra clarification and warnings about similar radicals.
  8. Colloquial name – The name Chinese people use to refer to the radical. Beginners can ignore this.
Please note that radicals are just a subset of character components, and that there are many components you need to learn that are not radicals. In particular, don't forget about sound components, which are as important for understanding how characters work. Read more here: Phonetic components, part 1: The key to 80% of all Chinese characters Happy studying! Olle Linge Hacking Chinese

Sample (from 100 notes)

Cards are customizable! When this deck is imported into the desktop program, cards will appear as the deck author has made them. If you'd like to customize what appears on the front and back of a card, you can do so by clicking the Edit button, and then clicking the Cards button.
Meaning door, house
Pronunciation hu4
Examples 所房炉护启
Comment Note similarity with 尸, which means corpse.
Colloquial name 户字旁
Meaning run, walk
Pronunciation zou3
Examples 起超越赶徒
Colloquial name 走字旁
Meaning ice
Pronunciation bing1
Examples 冬冷冻况净
Colloquial name 两点水

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on 1646145830
Very helpful
on 1580126706
Good deck,
Some mistakes are the following
彳 Chi4 (not2)
穴 Xue2 (not4)
舟 Zhou1 (not chuan2)
网 explanation is incorrect
on 1578801311
Super useful, thank you!
on 1517788800
It's okay, but not too good.

There are a few errors that you will need to fix yourself.
Comment from author
Would you mind pointing out the errors so I can fix them? That way, no-one needs to fix the errors themselves.
on 1503705600
Mostly good, but not the best

It's ok but because of serious errors i would not recommend.

This deck includes both hanzi, readings (using the number system for pingying instead of diacritics), English descriptions, and examples.
However, several of the cards have either incorrect readings or incorrect English descriptions. And one of the cards (the one for king and jade) is combined, for whatever reason, which makes no sense to me and complicates learning.

I really think that to learn something, you should be able to learn it right the first time, and with confidence. For this reason, i would recommend using one of the other radical learning decks.
Comment from author
Could you please point out the errors? That would make them easier to fix! The reason for the jade/king merge is that that is indeed how the radicals are treated in simplified Chinese (not in traditional, though). They also look identical in radical form. Ideally, the deck would be remade focusing on meaning components instead of radicals, which would make it reasonable to not merge them.
on 1498089600
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Simple, clear and complete

Thank you! I have just started to learn Chinese online and am overwhelmed with the diff ways that people are suggesting doing so as well as all the resources. I have been looking for a radical list that was clean, clear and easy to use. This is JUST that list. I downloaded Anki and boom, added the deck. I will def be talking about this helpful deck and the website it came from, Hacking Chinese, in my next Chinese language learning YouTube video:

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
on 1494633600
well done

good job, and thank you for all the effort you made, and thanks a lot for sharing all that with others
on 1487548800
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on 1467590400
Very useful

Thanks for putting this together. Getting the common radicals down cold has been very helpful in memorizing some of the more complex Chinese characters. It's easier to memorize new things when you can see them as compositions of things you already know, instead of random monolithic elements.

The only suggestion I have would be to show the "Colloquial name" field on the cards by default. It's important to know these names because that's how native Chinese speakers explain how a character is written, or which homophonic character they mean.
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