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My explanatory Kanji dictionary lists 山 and 冂 as radicals used in 出. I see how the first one would be used, but cannot understand the reasoning for the second one.

I see two alternatives:

  • 冂 is used to give the reading of 出

Or, more likely

  • I don't fully understand the idea behind radicals :-)

Could someone please explain?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

This is just the opinion of your dictionary. According to the KRADFILE, 出 has these radicals:

#                           K R A D F I L E
#       Copyright 2001/2005 Michael Raine, James Breen and the Electronic
#       Dictionary Research & Development Group at Monash University.
#       See: http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/groups/edrdg/licence.html
#       for permissions for use and redistribution.
[ ... big snip ... ]
出 : | 山
[ ... bigger snip ... ]

So, "vertical stick" and mountain are the radicals according to this source, which is located here: http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/kradinf.html

Actually, a better terminology is radical plus components. A kanji is understood to have one primary component. This is called the radical. The others are components.

So kradfile says | is the radical, and the kanjidic agrees. The latter states that this character has the No. 2 radical. This No. 2 refers to the Kang-Xi 214 radical index.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Kangxi_radicals . Here you can learn the name of that No. 2 stick in Chinese and Japanese.

Wictionary assigns a different radical from Kanjidic: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E5%87%BA . They cite Radical No. 17, 凵 . This opinion is justifiable. When we draw the kanji, we make that shape first, then the vertical line, and then the bottom box.

Offline source: Jack Halpern's The Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary sides with Wictionary: it assigns Radical 17 also.

Unicode Unihan data: http://www.unicode.org/cgi-bin/GetUnihanData.pl?codepoint=51FA Radical 17, again.

However, 冂 as a radical or component of 出? Nonsensical. Perhaps a typo.

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Thank you for the explanation! You have restored my faith that there exists logic behind kanji :-) – Cristina May 1 '12 at 7:46

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