We’ve created a new resource for your bag of Chinese study tools – a one-page printable reference of the Simplified Chinese radicals list. We couldn’t find a decent list of simplified radicals organised like this, so we made it ourselves.
When studying Chinese, most students, at sometime or other, encounter or become interested in learning the the various Chinese radicals (部首) that make up, or are contained within, Chinese characters (漢字).
In my opinion, learning the radicals is by no means essential, however, at times they can prove to be useful aids in creating mnemonics so as to better remember the definitions of characters. They also help you to remember how to write characters by hand. It can also be quite fun exercise to see what elements exist in a character and whether or not they can be linked to the actual modern meaning. Chinese dictionaries also usually offer a radical index, so by knowing the radicals you’ll have another way to look characters up.
The problem is that the most commonly referenced set of radicals – the Kangxi list (from the so named 康熙字典), is old and more useful for learners of Traditional Chinese.
For Simplified Chinese we have the CASS (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences) list, which is found within a lot of simplified dictionaries, give or take a few entries. Though it’s difficult to find information about the CASS list and most information on radicals is geared toward the aforementioned Kanxi list. Here we’ve made an attempt to make a simple and clear radical reference list that is useful for simplified learners. This list is based on the CASS list, though has been altered in a few ways:
While the CASS contains all of the radicals and their variants, each variant is a seprarate entry. In our new list the variants have been grouped together to save space, which is more along the lines of the way the Kanxi list is organised – with different ways of writing a radical being a variant and not a distinct entry in the list. We have also ordered the radicals by the simplified stroke order of the most common variant. For example 讠 was deemed more common than 言 and so you will find this entry along with other 2 stroke radicals. In addition, a few less-frequently seen variants have also been excluded because we felt they weren’t as useful.
The reference is organised as so:
Finally, the pronunciation is not included because that is not the point of this list. Think of it more as a mnemonic guide/template to help you remember and get a better feel for certain characters. If you wish to know the know the pronunciation then you can check out our other free self printable radical poster, or check online.
We will be editing the list over time so suggestions are more than welcome.
Download the Simplified Chinese Radicals List – Free Printable Reference (hosted on MandarinPoster.com)