Version 1.1 Update!

Good news! We’ve finished all the data for the v1.1 update!

We need to go through it and check to make sure everything is in order, and then we’ll send it to Pleco. Once they send us a build to test, we’ll spend some time making sure everything works the way it should, and then we’ll release it. Not sure about the specific date for the release, but 2 weeks should be enough time. I’ll make an announcement here when we release it.

What does it look like?

This is going to be a pretty big update. It took much longer than we expected, but it will be much, much more useful and will answer a lot of questions.

  • All missing characters in the most common 500 have been added.
    你, 國, etc. were missing from v1.0 because we needed to do some more research. Now they are there.
  • Original meanings, and the connection between that meaning and the semantic components, have been filled out for the most common 500 characters.
    Ex.:  In 地, 土 “earth; ground” is a meaning component, pointing to the original meaning “place.”
  • For all semantic component entries, an ancient form has been added to the form explanation to make it easier to understand.
    Ex.: The entry for 為 says “為 originally depicted a hand guiding an elephant doing labor.” Now, you’ll see this:
  • In those 500 characters, for any characters which contain more than one semantic component, we’ve added a brief form explanation to explain the relationship between components.
  • Stroke order diagrams have been added for all semantic component entries.
  • References have been added for the most common 500 characters.
  • For empty components within the first 500, we’ve added a simple explanation as to what they were originally.
    Ex.:  In 青 qīng, ⺝ is an empty component. It was originally 井 jǐng, the sound component.
  • For simplified characters that come from calligraphic shorthand, an image has been added to show how the simplified form relates to the traditional form:
  • Pronunciations have been filled in for the vast majority of sound components, so you don’t have to click around.Ex.:  In 到 dào,刂 dāo is a sound component.
  • And if the connection isn’t obvious, we make a note of that fact.
    Ex.: In 题 tí, 是 shì is a sound component, though this is not obvious in modern Mandarin.

Putting it all together

So let’s look at a sample entry to give you an idea of how v1.1 will differ from v1.0.

The current entry for 出 says this:


In 出, 屮 is an empty component.

In 出, 凵 is a semantic component.

You need to do some tapping around to make use of this information. You can tap on 凵 to find out that it “depicts a sunken-in pit or cave,” but it’s not clear how that relates to the meaning “to go out.” And you know that 屮 is an empty component, but nothing beyond that. It just tells you that it’s not a semantic or sound component.

So let’s take a look at the new entry for 出:

出 depicts a foot 屮 (originally 止) walking out of a cave opening 凵, meaning “to go out.” [Reference, p. 148]

In 出 “to go out,” 屮 is an empty component. It was originally a picture of a foot.

In 出 “to go out”, 凵 is a form component. It was originally a picture of a cave opening.

Aha! Now it all makes sense, right?

So that was our goal with this update: to clarify a lot of unanswered questions, and to set the tone for what the rest of the Mini Edition will look like.

What’s next?

Going forward with the next few updates, we’ll be adding similar information to the rest of the 2000 characters in the Mini Edition. We’ll progress in order of frequency so that the most common characters get done first.


For those of you who sponsored an entry in the dictionary, we’ll be including sponsorship notes in this version. If your chosen character is in the current version of the Mini Edition, or in the top 500 most common characters, then your sponsorship will be noted in v1.1 and all subsequent version. If your chosen character is not in the current version, and it’s not in the 500 most common characters, we’ll include it within the next few updates.

Some of you haven’t selected a character, or selected one that someone else also selected. In those cases, the person who selected first will get priority. I’ll send a private message to you within the next 24 hours if there’s an issue with your selection.

As always, get in touch ( if you have any questions!