Cantonese input method for Chinese characters

There’s a new Unicode-based phonetic input method for inputting Chinese characters … using Cantonese: Canto Input.

Here’s the author’s description:

What is it?
CantoInput is a freely available, Unicode-based Chinese input method (IME) which allows you to type both traditional and simplified characters using Cantonese romanization. Both the Yale and Jyutping methods are supported. A Mandarin Pinyin mode is also available.

Why does the world need another Chinese input method?
While there already exist excellent phonetic input methods based on Mandarin Pinyin pronunciation, there is a general lack of support for Cantonese. As a Cantonese learner, I was frustrated by the difficulty of typing Chinese, especially Cantonese-specific colloquial characters. Most existing Cantonese input methods require a Chinese version of Windows and operate using non-Unicode encodings such as BIG5 or GB, while non-phonetic methods such as Cangjie have a very steep learning curve. I originally wrote this program for my own personal use but decided to make it freely available since I felt that other Cantonese speakers and learners might also find it useful. It’s still really basic at this time, but hopefully I’ll have time to impove the interface and add more features in the future.

Those interested in trying this out might find the comments on Chinese Forums useful.

6 thoughts on “Cantonese input method for Chinese characters

  1. Good stuff for Cantonese speakers (including myself). But I’ve been forcing myself to type using hanyu pinyin because it augments my learning of Mandarin. The danger is that HKers are now going to flock to this and totally ignore Mandarin at their own peril.

  2. I haven’t tried it myself but I’m a believer in “the more IME, the better”, even if it’s a Java application that can be slow to fire up (again, I haven’t given it a run).

    My impression is that Cantonese romanization skills are not common knowledge among speakers, so I imagine Cantonese speakers would not embrace phonetic input methods en masse.

  3. a-giau is correct. Most people I know resort to the scribe-on-tablet methods or the annoyingly difficult cangjie method. They just don’t realise that spelling things out is easier.

  4. im a 16 yr old girl british born chinese..
    thought i’d just say…that using pinyin is also really hard as well as chinese characters itself!
    because my keyboard cannot type chinese, when i speak to my older relatives in hk it is really hard..because my pinyin is all wrong even tho my speaking is fine. However, with my cousins around my age, they know more english than me…so it is good =)

  5. I am an EnglishChinese translator and I need to type in a great deal of Chinese characters (for either Mandarin or Cantonese) as you can imagine. The most common tool for me to do the input is ZiGuang PinYin, which is based in Mandarin PinYin system. Great for mandarin speakers, fast with feature of words-assocation. But when doing the Cantonese, it’s not as efficient as with Mandarin. I know many Cantonese writers, at least here in Mainland China, are using the Five-Stroke to do the input as it’s phonetic-independent, popular and efficient. But yes, a very steep learning-curve. Will try with this new tool and see how it goes. Thanks for sharing.

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