Online Index to
"A Chinese-English Dictionary"
"Das neue Chinesisch-Deutsche Wörterbuch"
with links to
the "Mandarintools" Chinese-English dictionary,
"LEO" Chinese-German dictionary,
and other online resources.

Copyright (c) Hartmut Bohn 1991-2010 - Last updated: January 2010


Why CHinDEX?
The Radical Index
The Pinyin Index
The Four Corner Index
The Stroke Index
CHinDEX History
Known issues


Why CHinDEX?

Due to the non-alphabetic character of the Chinese script the use of Chinese dictionaries and encyclopedias proves to be rather complicated. This holds true especially for non-native speakers of Chinese who are highly dependent on monolingual and bilingual dictionaries with Chinese as source language.

The use of printed dictionaries is a hard to learn, time intensive and error-prone process. In many cases the desired entry can be found only after several minutes of leafing through indexes of heavy weight volumes in microscopic print. A faster, more efficient and more reliable access to Chinese charcters would be desirable, not only for Chinese language students, but for all those who have to work with the Chinese language professionally, such as scholars of Chinese studies and professional translators.

CHinDEX was designed as a tool to help facilitate the lookup of Chinese characters with the help of the computer. It is intended to make the use of Chinese referential works easier and faster. CHinDEX offers several methods to look up unknown Chinese characters:



The CHinDEX Radical Index

The radical index is based on the popular 189 radical table used in many modern Simplified Chinese dictionaries. It has, however, been statistically optimised, making use of radical and character frequency information. If a character has more than one "plausible" radical, it is listed in both categories.

Just click on a radical in the table. A list with all characters containing this radical will appear. The characters are ordered - as usually - according to the remaining stroke count. Find the desired character and click on it.


The CHinDEX Pinyin Index

Just type in a valid pinyin syllable. Don't type in any tone marks! All characters with the indicated pronunciation will appear, ordered according to their tone and frequency. If you happen to know the tone, look in the respective row. If not, look column-wise from left to right. Find the desired character and click on it.


The CHinDEX Four Corner Index

Type in a valid four corner number. Use four digits only. All characters matching the four corner code will be displayed. Find the desired character and click on it.

For an introduction to the four corner method (in Chinese) see Xiandai Hanyu Cidian (Beijing Shangwu Yinshuguan, 1986). It is worth the minimal learning effort!


The CHinDEX Stroke Index

This is simply a list of hard-to-find characters which have dubious radicals or no radical at all.


CHinDEX History

CHinDEX was originally developed for my Master's thesis at Trier University in 1991/92. It was designed as an efficient way to look up unknown Chinese characters in dictionaries. CHinDEX was first implemented in the Modula-2 programming language as a "desk accessory" on the ATARI ST. Later, during research on my Ph.D. thesis, lack of time kept me from porting the program to my Apple Macintosh. After starting to work and having even less spare time, I thought I might give it a try with an HTML based version.

From the beginning, CHinDEX did not include an actual dictionary - I could not have typed one in myself, not to mention the legal aspects of doing so. Rather than giving any translations, CHinDEX offeres to the user all possible pronunciations of the selected character, plus the exact page number(s) in Han-Ying Cidian (Wu Jingrong, Ed. Han-ying cidian - A Chinese-English Dictionary. Beijing: Shangwu yinshuguan, 1985) and Xin Han-De Cidian (Beijing Foreign Language Institute, Ed. Xin han-de cidian - Das neue Chinesisch-Deutsche Wörterbuch. Beijing: Shangwu yinshuguan, 1985, reprinted 1999). Anyway, I estimate it was at least ten times faster to find a new or forgotten character with CHinDEX than leafing through the dictionaries manually.

In the original CHinDEX all character tables were implemented in a way that frequently used characters moved towards the beginning of the respective row. As this is not possible in plain HTML, the web based version is more static.

In 2000, someone from Australia, I think, contacted me about a Unicode version of CHinDEX, and eventually volunteered to convert the data to Unicode. Unfortunately, I lost his name and e-mail and therefore can't give credits.

In 2010 I cam up with the idea to create a direct link from each character to the entry in the Mandarintools dictionary and LEO Chinese-German dictionary.

Known Issues


Copyright (c) Hartmut Bohn 1991-2010 - Last updated: January 2010