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, a Chinese character with a high variety of different strokes and which is often used to show some of the strokes. It means "forever" or "permanence".
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CJK strokes (simplified Chinese: 笔画; traditional Chinese: 筆畫; pinyin: Bǐhuà) are the calligraphic strokes needed to write the Chinese characters in regular script used in East Asian calligraphy. CJK strokes are the classified set of line patterns that may be arranged and combined to form Chinese characters (also known as Hanzi) in use in China, Japan, and Korea.


The study and classification of CJK strokes is used for:

  1. understanding Chinese character calligraphy – the correct method of writing, shape formation and stroke order required for character legibility;
  2. understanding stroke changes according to the style that is in use;
  3. defining stroke naming and counting conventions;
  4. identifying fundamental components of Han radicals; and
  5. their use in computing.


When writing Han radicals, a single stroke includes all the motions necessary to produce a given part of a character before lifting the writing instrument from the writing surface; thus, a single stroke may have abrupt changes in direction within the line. For example:


All strokes have direction. They are unidirectional and start from one entry point. As such, they are usually not written in the reverse direction by native users. Here are some examples:


CJK strokes are an attempt to identify and classify all single-stroke components that can be used to write Han radicals. There are some thirty distinct types of strokes recognized in Chinese characters, some of which are compound strokes made from basic strokes. The compound strokes comprise more than one movement of the writing instrument, and many of these have no agreed-upon name.

Basic strokes

A basic stroke is a single calligraphic mark moving in one direction across a writing surface. The following table lists a selection of basic strokes divided into two stroke groups: simple and combining. "Simple strokes" (such as Horizontal / Héng and Dot / Diǎn) can be written alone. "Combining strokes" (such as Bend / Zhé and Hook / Gōu) never occur alone, but must be paired with at least one other stroke forming a compound stroke. Thus, they are not in themselves individual strokes.

Table of basic strokes
English Name Name in PRC
(pinyin and simp.)
Name in ROC
(pinyin and trad.)
Name in Japan Name in Vietnam CJK
Meaning of
Chinese name
(Japanese name,
if different)
Simple strokes
Dot Diǎn, Diǎn, Ten, Chấm 枕 "Dot" Tiny dash, speck.
Horizontal Héng, Héng, Yoko, Sổ ngang 𬃈昂 "Horizontal" Rightward stroke.
Vertical Shù, Shù, Tate, Sổ dọc 𬃈𫆡 "Vertical" Downward stroke.
Upward horizontal , Tiāo, Hane, Hất 迄 "Rise"
Flick up and rightwards.
Press , , (Migi) Harai, (右)払 Mác 莫 "Press down"
("(Right) Sweep")
Falling rightwards (fattening at the bottom).
Throw Piě, Piě, (Hidari) Harai, (左)払 Phẩy 𢵪 "Throw away"
("(Left) Sweep")
Falling leftwards (with slight curve).
Combining strokes
Bend Zhé, Zhé, Ore, Gập 岋 "Bend, fold" Indicates change in stroke direction, usually 90° turn, going down or going right only.
Hook Gōu, Gōu, 鈎(鉤) Kagi, Móc 鈢 "Hook" Appended to other strokes, suddenly sharp turning before crash stopping.
Clockwise curve Wān, Wān, (Hidari) Sori, (左)反 Cong 𢏣 "Curve" Tapering curved line, usually concave left (convex outward right).
Anticlockwise curve Xié, , (Migi) Sori, (右)反 Nghiêng 迎 "Slant" Curved line, usually concave right (convex outward left).

Note, the basic stroke Diǎn "Dot" is rarely a real dot. Instead it usually takes the shape of a very small line pointing in one of several directions, and may be long enough to be confused with other strokes.

Compound strokes

Another classification showing 37 strokes: 8 basic strokes, and 29 complex strokes.[1]

A compound stroke (also called a complex stroke) is produced when two or more basic strokes are combined in a single stroke written without lifting the writing instrument from the writing surface. The character (pinyin: yǒng) "eternity", described in more detail in § Eight Principles of Yong, demonstrates one of these compound strokes. The centre line is a compound stroke that combines three stroke shapes in a single stroke.

Basics for making compound strokes[2]

In most cases, concatenating basic strokes together form a compound stroke. For example, Vertical / Shù combined with Hook / Gōu produce (Vertical–Hook / Shù Gōu). A stroke naming convention sums the names of the basic strokes, in the writing order.

An exception to this applies when a stroke makes a strictly right-angle turn in the Simplified Chinese names. Horizontal (Héng) and Vertical (Shù) strokes are identified only once when they appear as the first stroke of a compound; any single stroke with successive 90° turns down or to the right are indicated by a Bend 折 (pinyin: zhé). For example, an initial Shù followed by an abrupt turn right produces (Shù Zhé). In the same way, an initial Shù followed by an abrupt turn right followed by a second turn down produces (Shù Zhé Zhé). However, their inherited names are "Vertical–Horizontal" and "Vertical–Horizontal–Vertical". We need not to use "Bend" in the inherited names.

Nearly all complex strokes can be named using this simple scheme.


Organization systems used to describe and differentiate strokes may include the use of roman letters, Chinese characters, numbers, or a combination of these devices. Two methods of organizing CJK strokes are by:

  1. Classification schemes that describe strokes by a naming convention or by conformity to a taxonomy; and
  2. Categorization schemes that differentiate strokes by numeric or topical grouping.

In classification schemes, stroke forms are described, assigned a representative character or letterform, and may be arranged in a hierarchy. In categorization schemes, stroke forms are differentiated, sorted and grouped into like categories; categories may be topical, or assigned by a numeric or alpha-numeric nominal number according to a designed numbering scheme.


Organizing strokes into a hierarchy aids a user's understanding by bringing order to an obtuse system of writing that has organically evolved over the period of centuries. In addition, the process of recognizing and describing stroke patterns promotes consistency of stroke formation and usage. When organized by naming convention, classification allows a user to find a stroke quickly in a large stroke collection, makes it easier to detect duplication, and conveys meaning when comparing relationships between strokes. When organized by numbering scheme, categorization aids a user in understanding stroke differences, and makes it easier to make predictions, inferences and decisions about a stroke.


Strokes are described and differentiated using the criteria of visual qualities of a stroke. Because this can require subjective interpretation, CJK strokes cannot be placed into a single definitive classification scheme because stroke types lack a universal consensus on the description and number of basic and compound forms. CJK strokes cannot be placed into a single definitive categorization scheme due to visual ambiguity between strokes, and therefore cannot be segregated into mutually exclusive groups. Other factors inhibiting organization based on visual criteria are the variation of writing styles, and the changes of appearance that a stroke undergoes within various characters.

Roman letter naming convention of Unicode standard

A naming convention is a classification scheme where a controlled vocabulary is used systematically to describe the characteristics of an item. The naming convention for a CJK stroke is derived from the path mark left by the writing instrument. In this instance roman letters are concatenated to form a stroke name as a sequence of one or more roman letters indicating the component strokes used to create the CJK stroke. The first letter of the Han radical’s pinyin pronunciation represents each basic stroke. In a basic stroke example, H represents the stroke named 横 (pinyin: Héng); in a compound example, HZT represents 横折提 (pinyin: Héng Zhé Tí).

While no consensus exists, there are up to 12 distinct basic strokes that are identified by a unique Han radical.

Letters commonly used in CJK stroke naming conventions (12 items)[3]
Letter B D G H N P Q S T W X Z
Stroke direction 90° turn right or down
Simp./Trad. / /() / / /
Pinyin Biǎn Diǎn Gōu Héng Piě Quān Shù Wān Xié Zhé
Meaning "Flat" "Dot" "Hook" "Horizontal" "Right-falling" "Left-falling" "Circle" "Vertical" "Rising" "Curved" "Slant" "Bent"

There are many CJK compound strokes, however there is no consensus for sequence letter naming of compound strokes using the basic strokes. The following table demonstrates the CJK stroke naming convention:

Selected named CJK basic and compound strokes (41 items)
Stroke Name in PRC Abbr[3][4] Full Name Dictionary meaning and Note Example characters Encoding
H Héng , "cardinal number one", "alone" (Radical 1 一). 二 三 丁 丞 丈 世 不 上 十 卅 七 U+31D0 (㇐)
T   冰 淋 病 孑 治 冶 冽 暴 氾 录 地 虫 U+31C0 (㇀)
横钩 HG Héng Gōu wān, ya, zhé (折) turning stroke / to break (Radical: Variant form of 乙 ). 疋 了 危 予 矛 子 字 令 疏 写 冖 U+31D6 (㇖)
横撇 HP Héng Piě   又 水 夕 径 炙 双 叒 今 U+31C7 (㇇)
横折 HZ Héng Zhé   口 囗 己 田 品 吕 申 甲 圆 巪 U+31D5 (㇕)
横折钩 HZG Héng Zhé Gōu (Radical: Variant form of 乙 ). 羽 习 包 勻 葡 用 青 甫 勺 月 也 乜 U+31C6 (㇆)
横折提 HZT Héng Zhé Tí   讠 计 鳩 U+31CA (㇊)
横折折 HZZ Héng Zhé Zhé   U+31C5 (㇅)
横折弯 HZW Héng Zhé Wān   殳 投 朵 U+31CD (㇍)
Héng Zhé Wān Gōu[3]
(Héng Xié Gōu[4])
Unofficial name "HWG" is used by Hugo Lopez.[1] 飞 风 瘋 凬 虱 迅 气 九 几 U+31C8 (㇈)
Héng Xié Wān Gōu[3]
(Héng Zhé Wān Gōu[4])
yǐ, niè, "the second of the ten heavenly stems", "second"; zhé (折) turning stroke / to break (Radical 5 乙). 氹 乞 乤 艺 U+31E0 (㇠)
横折折折 HZZZ Héng Zhé Zhé Zhé   U+31CE (㇎)
横折折撇 HZZP Héng Zhé Zhé Piě   建 及 U+31CB (㇋)
横撇弯钩 HPWG Héng Piě Wān Gōu   队 邮 U+31CC (㇌)
横折折折钩 HZZZG Héng Zhé Zhé Zhé Gōu 𠄎 nǎi, archaic form of "then", "really, indeed", "namely", "you, your". 乃 孕 仍 U+31E1 (㇡)
S Shù , gǔn, "vertical line" (Radical 2 丨). 丩 中 串 讧 乍 上 五 丑 U+31D1 (㇑)
竖钩 SG Shù Gōu jué, "a vertical line with a hook" (Radical 6 亅). 爭 事 求 水 U+31DA (㇚)
竖提 ST Shù Tí   以 比 切 卯 食 良 艮 很 狠 鄉 民 U+31D9 (㇙)
竖折 SZ Shù Zhé   断 陋 继 山 互 彙 牙 乐 东 U+31D7 (㇗)
竖弯 SW Shù Wān   區 亡 妄 四 U+31C4 (㇄)
竖弯左 SWZ Shù Wān Zuǒ   肅 嘯 蕭 簫 U+31D8 (㇘)
竖弯钩 SWG Shù Wān Gōu yǐn, "hidden", "mysterious", "small", usually read as / yǐn (Radical: Variant form of 乙 ). 乱 己 已 巳 U+31DF (㇟)
竖折折 SZZ Shù Zhé Zhé   亞 鼎 卐 吳 专 U+31DE (㇞)
Shù Zhé Wān Gōu[3]
(Shù Zhé Zhé Gōu[4])
  亏 强 弓 丏 丐 与 马 鸟 丂 号 U+31C9 (㇉)
P Piě 丿 usually read as 撇 piě, "line", "slash" (Radical 4 丿). 乂 爻 禾 毛 乏 乖 釆 衣 八 行 U+31D2 (㇒)
竖撇 SP Shù Piě   乃 月 用 齊 几 人 班 大 U+31D3 (㇓)
撇钩 PG Piě Gōu   U+31E2 (㇢)
撇折 PZ Piě Zhé   弘 玄 公 厶 翁 U+31DC (㇜)
撇点 PD Piě Diǎn 𡿨 quǎn, a little drain between fields, usually read as quǎn (Radical 47 巛). 女 巛 巡 獵 災 甾 U+31DB (㇛)
D Diǎn zhǔ, "dot", usually read as 點 / 点 diǎn (Radical 3 丶). 丸 叉 义 永 冰 凡 丹 主 求 火 刃 U+31D4 (㇔)
N ㇏ usually read as 捺 nà. 大 人 天 入 走 边 廷 尺 U+31CF (㇏)
提捺 TN Tí Nà (1) , "stretch". (2) , "to move" (archaic). 尐 之 道 八 入 廻 U+31DD (㇝)
斜钩 XG Xié Gōu   戈 弋 戰 我 U+31C2 (㇂)
扁斜钩 BXG Biǎn Xié Gōu   心 必 沁 惢 蕊 U+31C3 (㇃)
弯钩 WG Wān Gōu   狐 狱 豹 家 啄 嶽 貓 家 逐 U+31C1 (㇁)
Q Quān líng, "zero"; also read as quān, "circle". Rare. 〇 㔔 㪳 㫈 U+31E3 (㇣)

Besides, some strokes have been unified or abandoned in Unicode:

CJK basic and compound strokes which have been unified or abandoned
Stroke Name in PRC Abbr Full Name Note Example characters
横撇弯 HPW[1] Héng Piě Wān It only appears in Regular script, can be merged into stroke HPHP in Song typeface. 辶 过 边
竖折撇 SZP[4] Shù Zhé Piě This stroke has been merged into stroke SZZ in Unicode.[5] 专 𧦮 𤓷 𤦡
竖折折弯钩 SZZWG[1] Shù Zhé Zhé Wān Gōu This stroke has been merged into stroke SZZG in Unicode.[5] 弓 丐
W[1] Wān It never occurs alone, only appears inside compound strokes. 辶 豕 𢀓
弯钩 WG[1] Wān Gōu It never occurs alone, only appears inside compound strokes.
点捺 DN[4] Diǎn Nà This stroke has been merged into stroke TN or N in Unicode.[5] 內 全 廴
平捺 PN[4] Píng Nà This stroke has been merged into stroke N in Unicode.[5] 是 走 廴
提平捺 TPN[4] Tí Píng Nà This stroke has been merged into stroke N in Unicode.[5] 辶 之 辷

Note that some names in the list do not follow the rules of controlled vocabulary. For example, stroke P (Piě) is not found in the compound stroke PN. The name "PN" comes from 平捺 (pinyin: Píng Nà), not 撇捺 (pinyin: Piě Nà). The meaning of 平 (pinyin: Píng) is "flat", and it should be called "BN" 扁捺 (pinyin: Biǎn Nà) if the rules are to be followed closely. The letter "Z" in stroke SWZ means 左 (pinyin: Zuǒ), not 折 (pinyin: Zhé). The meaning of 左 is "left", and it is not defined in the naming convention. Moreover, some 折 (pinyin: Zhé) strokes are far more than or far less than 90°, such as stroke HZZZG, stroke HZZP and stroke PZ.

Some strokes are not included in the Unicode standard, such as , , , , , , etc.

In Simplified Chinese, stroke TN is usually written as (It was called "stroke DN", but Unicode has rejected it[5]).

Abbreviated naming conventions

On the other hand, naming conventions that use abbreviated forms of the CJK strokes also exist. After the names of CJK strokes are translated into English, first letters of the English names are used in the naming system. The controlled vocabulary can be divided into two groups.

The first group is the abbreviated forms of the basic strokes.

Abbreviation form of the basic strokes (10 items)
Abbr form H V T P D U C A J O
Shape of stroke
English name Horizontal Vertical Throw Press Dot Upward
J hook Oval
Chinese name

The second group is the abbreviated forms of deformations.

Abbreviation form of the deformations (10 items)
Abbr form F W S L R E N I M Z
English name Flat Wilted Slanted Left Right Extended Narrowed Inverted Mirrored Zag
Chinese name

“Zig” can be omitted in the naming system. The following table demonstrates the CJK stroke naming convention:

Inherited names of CJK basic and compound strokes (63 items)
Stroke Chinese
Full name Name in
Ming Kai
H Horizontal H 三 言 隹 花
斜橫 SH Slanted Horizontal (H) 七 弋 宅 戈
U Upward horizontal T 刁 求 虫 地
點挑 DU Dot – Upward horizontal (T) 冰 冷 汗 汁
V Vertical S 十 圭 川 仆
斜豎 SV Slanted Vertical (S) 丑 五 亙 貫
右斜豎 RSV Right Slanted Vertical (S) 𠙴
T Throw P 竹 大 乂 勿
扁撇 FT Flat Throw (P) 千 乏 禾 斤
直撇 WT Wilted Throw SP 九 厄 月 几
D Dot D 主 卜 夕 凡
長點 ED Extended Dot (D) 囪 囟 这 凶
左點 LD Left Dot (D) 心 忙 恭 烹
直點 WD Wilted Dot (D)
P Press N 人 木 尺 冬
挑捺 UP Upward horizontal – Press TN
橫捺 HP Horizontal – Press (TN) 入 八 內
扁捺 FP Flat Press (N) 走 足 廴
挑扁捺 UFP Upward horizontal – Flat Press (TN)
C Clockwise curve W
A Anticlockwise curve X
O Oval Q 〇 㔔 㪳 㫈
橫鈎 HJ Horizontal – J hook HG 冧 欠 冝 蛋
挑鈎 UJ Upward horizontal – J hook (HG)
橫撇 HT Horizontal – Throw HP 夕 水 登
橫斜 HSV Horizontal – Slanted Vertical (HP) 彔 互 恆
橫豎 HV Horizontal – Vertical HZ 口 己 臼 典
橫豎鈎 HVJ Horizontal – Vertical – J hook HZG 而 永 印
橫撇鈎 HTJ Horizontal – Throw – J hook (HZG) 勺 方 力 母
挑撇鈎 UTJ Upward horizontal – Throw – J hook (HZG)
橫豎橫 HVH Horizontal – Vertical – Horizontal HZZ 凹 兕 卍 雋
橫豎挑 HVU Horizontal – Vertical – Upward horizontal HZT 说 计
橫曲 HA Horizontal – Anticlockwise curve HZW 沿
橫曲鈎 HAJ Horizontal – Anticlockwise curve – J hook HZWG 九 几 凡 亢
橫捺鈎 HPJ Horizontal – Press – J hook (HZWG) 風 迅 飛 凰
橫撇曲鈎 HTAJ Horizontal – Throw – Anticlockwise curve – J hook HXWG 乙 氹 乞 乭
橫撇彎 HTC Horizontal – Throw – Clockwise curve ---
橫撇橫撇 HTHT Horizontal – Throw – Horizontal – Throw HZZP 延 建
橫撇彎鈎 HTCJ Horizontal – Throw – Clockwise curve – J hook HPWG 陳 陌 那 耶
橫豎橫豎 HVHV Horizontal – Vertical – Horizontal – Vertical HZZZ 凸 𡸭 𠱂 𢫋
橫撇橫撇鈎 HTHTJ Horizontal – Throw – Horizontal – Throw – J hook HZZZG 乃 孕 仍 盈
豎挑 VU Vertical – Upward horizontal ST 卬 氏 衣 比
豎橫 VH Vertical – Horizontal SZ 山 世 匡
豎曲 VA Vertical – Anticlockwise curve SW
豎曲鈎 VAJ Vertical – Anticlockwise curve – J hook SWG 孔 已 亂 也
豎橫豎 VHV Vertical – Horizontal – Vertical SZZ 鼎 亞 吳 卐
豎橫撇 VHT Vertical – Horizontal – Throw (SZZ) 奊 捑 𠱐 𧦮
豎橫撇鈎 VHTJ Vertical – Horizontal – Throw – J hook SZWG 弓 弟 丐 弱
豎鈎 VJ Vertical – J hook SG 小 水 到 寸
豎彎 VC Vertical – Clockwise curve SWZ 肅 嘯 蕭 瀟
豎彎鈎 VCJ Vertical – Clockwise curve – J hook --- 𨙨 𨛜 𨞠 𨞰
撇挑 TU Throw – Upward horizontal PZ 去 公 玄 鄉
撇橫 TH Throw – Horizontal (SZ) 互 母 牙 车
撇點 TD Throw – Dot PD 巡 兪 巢 粼
直撇點 WTD Wilted Throw – Dot (PD) 女 如 姦 㜢
撇橫撇 THT Throw – Horizontal – Throw (SZZ) 夨 𠨮 专 砖
撇橫撇鈎 THTJ Throw – Horizontal – Throw – J hook (SZWG) 污 號
撇鈎 TJ Throw – J hook PG
彎鈎 CJ Clockwise curve – J hook WG 狗 豸 豕 象
扁捺鈎 FPJ Flat Press – J hook BXG 心 必 沁 厯
捺鈎 PJ Press – J hook XG 弋 戈 我 銭
撇橫撇曲鈎 THTAJ Throw – Horizontal – Throw – Anticlockwise curve – J hook --- 𠃉 𦲳 𦴱
撇圈點 TOD Throw – Oval – Dot --- 𡧑 𡆢

Numbering scheme

A numbering scheme is a categorisation method where similar strokes are grouped into categories labeled by nominal numbers. Category numbering may be an index of numbers of types, with sub-types indicated by a decimal point followed by another number or a letter.[4]

The following table is a common numbering scheme that uses similar names as the Roman letter naming convention, but the stroke forms are grouped into major category types (1 to 5), which further break down into 25 sub-types in category 5.

Example of a CJK stroke numbering scheme (33 items)[6]
Type No. Stroke Name
(simplified Chinese and pinyin)
Horizontal (一)
1 1 Héng
Vertical (丨)
2 2 Shù
2.1 竖钩 Shù Gōu
Slash (丿)
3 3 Piě
Dot (丶)
4 4 Diǎn
4.2 提捺 Tí Nà
Type No. Stroke Name
(simplified Chinese and pinyin)
Turning stroke (折 Zhé = right angle turn) or (弯 Wān = curve turn)
5 5.1 横折 Héng Zhé
5.2 横撇 Héng Piě
5.3 横钩 Héng Gōu
5.4 竖折 Shù Zhé
5.5 竖弯 Shù Wān
5.6 竖提 Shù Tí
5.7 撇折 Piě Zhé
5.8 撇点 Piě Diǎn
5.9 撇钩 Piě Gōu
5.10 弯钩 Wān Gōu
5.11 斜钩 Xié Gōu
5.12 横折折 Héng Zhé Zhé
5.13 横折弯 Héng Zhé Wān
5.14 横折提 Héng Zhé Tí
5.15 横折钩 Héng Zhé Gōu
5.16 横斜钩 Héng Xié Gōu
5.17 竖折折 Shù Zhé Zhé
5.18 竖折撇 Shù Zhé Piě
5.19 竖弯钩 Shù Wān Gōu
5.20 横折折折 Héng Zhé Zhé Zhé
5.21 横折折撇 Héng Zhé Zhé Piě
5.22 横折弯钩 Héng Zhé Wān Gōu
5.23 横撇弯钩 Héng Piě Wān Gōu
5.24 竖折折钩 Shù Zhé Zhé Gōu
5.25 横折折折钩 Héng Zhé Zhé Zhé Gōu

Some strokes are not included in the numbering scheme, such as stroke , , , , , , , , etc.

Besides, there are ways of grouping strokes that are different from the Unicode standard. For example, stroke is merged into stroke in Unicode system, while it is merged into in this numbering scheme.

Stroke order

Main article: Stroke order

Stroke order refers to the order in which the strokes of a Chinese character are written. A stroke is a movement of a writing instrument on a writing surface. Certain stroke orders guidelines are recommended to ensure speed, accuracy, and legibility in composition, as most Chinese characters have many strokes. As such, teachers enforce exactly one stroke order for each character, marking every deviation as a mistake, so everyone writes these characters the same way.[citation needed] The stroke order follows a few simple rules, though, which aids in memorizing these. To write CJK characters, one must know how to write CJK strokes, and thus, needs to identify the basic strokes that make up a character.

Stroke-based sorting

Main article: Stroke-based sorting

Chinese characters can be sorted into different orders by their strokes. The important stroke-based sorting methods include:

Stroke-count sorting

This method arranges characters according to their numbers of strokes ascendingly. A character with less strokes is put before those of more strokes. For example, the different characters in "汉字笔画, 漢字筆劃" (Chinese character strokes) are sorted into "汉(5)字(6)画(8)笔(10)[筆(12)畫(12)]漢(14)", where stroke counts are put in brackets. Please note that both 筆 and 畫 are of 12 strokes and their order is not determined by stroke-count sorting.

Stroke-order sorting

The characters are firstly arranged by their first strokes according to an order of stroke groups (such as “heng (横), shu (竖), pie (撇), dian(点), zhe (折)”, or “dian(点), heng (横), shu (竖), pie (撇), zhe (折)”), then the characters with first strokes belonging to the same group, if any, are sorted by their second strokes in a similar way, and so on. This method is usually employed to support stroke-count sorting to deal with characters of the same stroke number. For instance, 筆(12) starts with stroke ㇓of the pie (撇) group, and 畫(12) starts with ㇕ of the zhe (折) group, and pie is before zhe in groups order, so 筆 goes before 畫.

Stroke-count-stroke-order sorting

This is a combination of the previous two methods. Characters are arranged by stroke-count, followed by stroke-order. For example, the different characters in "汉字笔画, 漢字筆劃" (Chinese character strokes) are sorted into "汉(5)字(6)画(8)笔(10)筆(12)畫(12)漢(14)", where each character is put at a unique position.

In China, stroke-based sorting normally refers to stroke-count-stroke-order sorting. The Chinese national standard stroke-based sorting is in fact an enhanced stroke-count-stroke-order method [7]

YES sorting

YES is a simplified stroke-based sorting method free of stroke counting and grouping, without comprise in accuracy. And it has been successfully applied to the indexing of all the characters in Xinhua Zidian (新华字典) and Xiandai Hanyu Cidian (现代汉语词典). In this joint index you can look up the Pinyin and Unicode of a Chinese character, in addition to its page numbers in the two popular dictionaries.[8]

Eight Principles of Yong

Main article: Eight Principles of Yong

The Eight Principles of Yong explain how to write eight common strokes in regular script which are found all in one character, (pinyin: yǒng, "forever", "permanence"). It was traditionally believed that the frequent practice of these principles as a beginning calligrapher could ensure beauty in one's writing.

Eight principle strokes extracted from , "eternity" (five basic strokes: D, T, W, P, N and one compound stroke HZG). Enlarge this image to see the red arrows, showing the way of writing of each.
Eight basic strokes[2]
- the Diǎn 點 / 点, is a dot, filled from the top, to the bottom, traditionally made by "couching" the brush on the page.
- the Héng 横, is horizontal, filled from left to right, the same way the Latin letters A, B, C, D are written.
- the Shù 豎 / 竖, is vertical-falling. The brush begins by a dot on top, then falls downward.
- the Gōu 鈎(鉤) / 钩, ending another stroke, is a sharp change of direction either down (after a Heng) or left (after a Shù).
- the 提 / Tiāo 提, is a flick up and rightwards.
- the Wān 彎 / 弯, follows a concave path on the left or on the right.
- the Piě 撇, is a falling leftwards (with a slight curve).
- the 捺, is falling rightwards (with an emphasis at the end of the stroke).
(+ - the Xié 斜 is sometimes added to the 永's strokes. It's a concave Shù falling right, always ended by a Gōu).

Use in computing

Main article: CJK Strokes (Unicode block)

The stroke count method is based on the order of strokes to input characters on Chinese mobile phones.

As part of Chinese character encoding, there have been several proposals to encode the CJK strokes, most of time with a total around 35~40 entries. Most notable is the current Unicode block “CJK Strokes” (U+31C0..U+31EF), with 36 types of strokes:

CJK Strokes[1][2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
1.^ As of Unicode version 15.1
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Lopez, Hugo (2007). "CJK 37 Strokes (fr:Traits chinois)".
  2. ^ a b The extended CJK(V) set of strokes has 29 strokes. These most common 29 used strokes can be reduced to combinations of 8 basic strokes, for a total of 37 strokes. The subset of 8 is found in the character "eternity" 永, hence the name of this set. But other sets of CJK(V) strokes can be found.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Proposed additions to the CJK Strokes block of the UCS (PDF), Ideographic Rapporteur Group, April 3, 2006; Documentation of CJK Strokes (Version 11.0) (PDF), The Unicode Standard / the Unicode Consortium, June 1, 2018
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Bishop, Tom; Cook, Richard (May 23, 2004), Character Description Language (CDL): The Set of Basic CJK Unified Stroke Types (PDF), Wenlin Institute, p. 8, S2CID 14099922, archived from the original (PDF) on December 27, 2018
  5. ^ a b c d e f IRGN 1174: Summary Report of Strokes Ad Hoc Group, Strokes Ad Hoc Group, December 1, 2005; Documentation of CJK Strokes (Version 11.0) (PDF), The Unicode Standard / the Unicode Consortium, June 1, 2018
  6. ^ "《GB13000.1字符集汉字折笔规范》" (PDF) (in Chinese). 中华人民共和国教育部 国家语言文字工作委员会. December 19, 2001.
  7. ^ "《GB13000.1字符集汉字字序(笔画序)规范》" (PDF) (in Chinese). 中华人民共和国教育部 国家语言文字工作委员会. October 1, 1999.
  8. ^ Zhang, Xiaoheng et. al (张小衡, 李笑通) (2013). 一二三笔顺检字手册 (Handbook of the YES Sorting Method) (in Chinese). Beijing: 语文出版社 (The Language Press). ISBN 978-7-80241-670-3.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)