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Sharp WP-9700 Tutorial

Created with: Sharp PW-9700
Applies to: Sharp PW-9700 and some other PW and PWA models

This tutorial will describe how to look up English and Japanese words and understand the dictionary's display. This tutorial uses romaji. However, you will need to know how to read katakana and hiragana to use the dictionary since romanize Japanese is not used.

Look Up an English Word

Figure 1
Figure 1 - Search for the English word "seal"

Select the Eng->Jap dictionary. Enter the English word "seal". There are 4 different entries. Figure 1 shows the list of the closest matching entries in older of relevance. Check the first by moving the cursor down to "seal 1" and pressing the enter key.

Figure 2
Figure 2 - Entry "seal 1"

Some definitions have no examples, like definition 1. However, not just the examples are helpful. In the entry "seal 1", on the line below the title entry is the symbol "-n" meaning noun. So this tells us this definition is a noun and not a verb, for example, as in "to seal an envelope". After this at the left we see a kanji word in parenthesis. This reads "doubutsu" or animal so this is the definition we are looking for. The next text is katakana for "azarashi". Select this text and jump to the Jap->Eng dictionary. Do this by pressing the [S-Jump] key and moving the cursor to the first katakana character "a". Now press the enter key to turn selection on and move the cursor to the last katakana character "shi". Press the enter key again and to display a list of entries in various dictionaries. Move the cursor down to the Jap->Eng dictionary and press the enter key to jump to that dictionary.

Figure 4
Figure 4 - Japanese Entry 'azarashi'

After jumping to the Jap->Eng dictionary, we see examples like "harbor seal", and "elephant seal" indicating various types of seals. This confirms that the word "azarashi" means the animal seal. If this was not the correct word, then we would return and try jumping on the next Japanese word until the correct word is found. This may sound incredible tedious but I gets to be quite second nature once you become accustom to the entry layouts and some of the more common kanji abbreviations.

Look Up a Japanese Word

Figure 1  Figure 1
Figure 1 - Entering 'deru'

First, you might ask how the Japanese word deru is entered on the keyboard, and this would be a good question. There are two input methods that are configurable on the Sharp models, romaji and kana. I find the kana input method quite unnatural to use as a foreigner. The keyboard is a standard "querty" keyboard so using romaji is very simple. Just enter d-e-r-u on the keyboard and the dictionary converts it to kana real time character by character. In figure 1 (left) I have entered "d"-"e"-"r". You can see that the "de" was already converted to hiragana. Figure 1 (right) I have continued and entered the last "u" so the "ru" was also converted to hiragana.

Figure 2
Figure 2 - Entry 'deru'

The top line shows the searched word in kana and kanji. The next line starts with a "1". This is the definition number. deru has many meanings in Japanese which is why I choose it as an example. Next to the definition number in braces are meanings of this definition in Japanese. For example, The first reads "soto e iku" meaning "to go outside". It is often helpful to jump on these kanji in order to get a basic understanding of the definition.

Figure 3  Figure 3
Figure 3 - 'deru', definition 1 'leave'

Now we continue to scroll down the display to the meaning "leave". Just below this is black square containing a kanji indicated in yellow. This is the abbreviation for intransitive verb. On this line you will see "(hito ga)". This means that deru is used to mean "someone leaves" with the particle "ga" as in "hito ga deru". On the next line is "(resshya ga)(ho-mu kara)". This means that deru is used when "a train leaves (departs) from somewhere", in this case from the platform (ho-mu), as in "resshya ga ho-mu kara deru".

Now let's look at the next line. There is black square containing another kanji also indicated in yellow. This is the abbreviation for transitive verb. As you know transitive verbs take a direct object. On this line you will see "(hito, norimono ga)(basho)o". This means that when deru is used to mean "someone/some transportation leaves somewhere" the subject takes "ga" and the place takes the particle "o". This can be see in the example. To view an example, press the [Rei] (Example) key. The first example icon is highlighted. Move the cursor to the second icon and press the enter key to expand the example. We see "leave for work" followed by "tsutomeni iku tame ie o deru". The important part here is "ie o deru" which means "leave the house" and uses the particle "o", the direct object in this case, to designate the place from which the leaving is being done.

Figure 4
Figure 4 - 'deru', definition 3 'come out'

Now let's look an a different definition all together. First press the [Modoru] (Back) key twice to close the example and end example selection. Press the page down key and page down to definition 3. Definition 3 has the meaning to "come out". As before, we want to learn how to use deru to mean "come out" correctly and with the correct particles. Firstly, if we jump on the kanji in parenthesis next to the definition number 3, to the Jap->Eng dictionary we will get the definitions "appear" and "emerge" among others. Now we need to see how it is used for this meaning. We see the word "rise" and below it we see the kanji abbreviation for intransitive verb again so there will be no direct object. Next to that is displayed "(taiyou, tsuki, hoshi nado ga)" which means definition 3 of deru is used for "things like the sun, the moon, and stars" and takes the particle "ga".

Figure 5
Figure 5 - 'deru', definition 4 'appear'

Page down to definition 4, meaning to "appear". As before, if we jump on the kanji in parenthesis next to the definition number, we will get the definitions "appearance", "presence", and "attendance" among others. We see the word "appear" and below it we see the kanji abbreviation for intransitive verb again. This means there will be no direct object associated with this use. Next to that is displayed "(butai, eiga nado ni)" which means definition 4 of deru is used for "things like stage, movies" and takes the particle "ni" to mean "in" or "at", as in "appear in a movie". If we expand the first example we see the example "appear on television..." as "terebi ni deru".

Kanji Dictionary

ON/KUN Reading and Stroke Count Search

Figure 1  Figure 1
Figure 1 - Kanji search display

This is the kanji search display. There are 4 groups to enter the search criteria. The first group on the left is for components. The next three groups are on the right. The group at top is for ON and KUN reading and multiple entries are allowed. Using multiple readings can really help narrow down the kanji you are searching for since there are many readings that are common to many kanji. For example, searching for "sen" results in 163 characters on 17 screens, where as a search for "sen" and "zen" results in only 5 screens. The next group in the middle is for radical and the last group at the button is for stroke count searches. All students are familiar with the tedious process of counting strokes, since this method can be used with little prior knowledge of kanji. However, by itself this is probably the least effective method. Entering a stroke count of "11" results in 577 matching kanji as seen in Figure 1. Searching through all 58 screens of kanji just to discover that the kanji you are searching for was actually 12 strokes, not 11, is really annoying.

Radical Search

Figure 2  Figure 2
Figure 2 - Radical list display

To include a radical in you search, enter the stroke count of the radical and then select the radical from the radical list as seen in Figure 2. Each screen displays 10 radicals, and like the kanji display there can be multiple screens. The screen number and total number of screens are displayed in the upper right of the radical list.

Component Search

Kanji for 'tsuyu' (crane)
Kanji for 'tsuyu' (crane)

Figure 3  Figure 3
Figure 3 - Component search

Suppose you have never seen the above kanji before and you want to look it up. Since you have never seen this kanji before you do not know the ON or KUN reading. If you are not studying kanji the radical search will be of little help. This leaves the stroke and components searches. Counting strokes, as we have seen, is time consuming on kanji with many strokes and is error prone with smaller and more decorative fonts. Looking at this kanji I can recognize two "components" that I already know as separate kanji. ame (rain) at the top and kuchi (mouth) at the lower right. I enter one or more ON or KUN readings for the known components and the search is reduced to only 19 kanji characters in this example. I simply choose the kanji I am searching for from these 19. Of'course the more simple kanji you know, the more successful component searching you can do.

The key to searching the Kanjigen dictionary is to use all the search criteria you know to narrow down the matching kanji. I usually start with any known ON or KUN readings and know components. For simple kanji, I will then enter a stroke count if needed. For complicated kanji I may guess at a radical. If I still cannot find my kanji I will usually vary my stroke count by +/- 1 to allow for errors in counting. With a little practice, you will be a pro in no time.

Kanji Entry Text

Figure 4
Figure 4 - Kanji entry text

This is the kanji entry display with some of the key elements indicated. Starting from left to right is the stroke count (21), and the kanji's radical ("ame"). Below this is a list of ON readings written in katakana ("ro", "rou"). Below this is a list of KUN reading written in hiragana ("ru"). It is not seen in this figure, but the kanji portion and the hiragana portion of the okurigana is separated by a dot in the KUN readings.

Kanji Compounds

Kanji for 'tozan' (mountaineering)
Kanji for 'tozan' (mountaineering)

Figure 5  Figure 5
Figure 5 - Search for a compound

This is where the power of the Sharp comes into play. Suppose you have never seen the above compound before and want to search for this word. The first step is to search for one of the kanji characters in the compound. I find searching for the kanji in the second position easier. But you might want to choose the kanji that contains the most components you know. We all know this kanji, "yama", so we enter "yama" in the ON/KUN group and the press enter key. There are two kanji and the first is the one we are searching for. Now we press the enter key to display the entry for yama. Now to jump directly to the compound list press the [Switch] key.

Figure 6
Figure 6 - Kanji compound list

There are 18 screens of compounds. We scan through the screens until we find the compound we are searching for. Scanning through column 1 for the other kanji is pretty simple and this is why I search for the kanji in the second position if possible. Having said that, if we had known that the first kanji reading was "noboru" or if we search for it, we could have started with that kanji and had only 3 screens to search through. We might have even guessed this since "yama" is likely to be in many compounds. This becomes natural after searching for many kanji. Now we have found the entry in the list on screen 8 and the reading "tozan". So we select the compound which jumps to the Japanese dictionary definition by default.

Figure 7  Figure 7
Figure 7 - Kanji compound list and compound entry

Now to get the English definition, we select the compound and jump to the Jap->Eng dictionary. We find out the meaning is "mountain climbing". This process seems complicated, but it really is not that bad. It becomes second nature. Also it is much easier than using the Canon Wordtank series to search for kanji compounds.

Using the Japanese Dictionary

Figure 1  Figure 1
Figure 1 - ichidan and godan verbs

Use the Japanese dictionary to determine if a verb is an ichidan (Group II) verb or a godan (Group I) verb. For example, if you looked up the word "shaberu" (to talk), in the Jap->Eng dictionary you would see that it does not display the verb classification so you do not no how to conjugate this verb. If there are enough examples for the entry using different conjugations like shaberimasu and shaberanai you can figure this out. However, if you look up "shaberu" in the Japanese dictionary, the verb classifications are displayed as shown in Figure 1. In our example shaberu shown in Figure 1 (left) the kanji on the left is the abbreviation for intransitive verb and the kanji next to it on the right is the kanji for the number 5. This means it is a godan intransitive verb. The kanji ichi (1) indicates an ichidan verb as seen in Figure 1 (right). There may also be the kanji for upper ("ue") or lower ("shita") before the kanji ichi as in the entry for "nobiru" (to grow) seen in Figure 1 (right). This is part of a more detailed classification scheme. However for conjugation purposes we only need to know if a verb is ichidan or godan.

If you are not familiar with the terms ichidan and godan, ichidan is the same as Group II and godan is the same as Group I. I prefer the terms ichidan and godan because unlike Group I and II these terms are not arbitrary. ichidan means "one row" verbs. These verb conjugations occupy one row of the hiragana chart. For example taberu -> tabenai, tabemasu, taberu, teberou, tabeyou. godan means "five row" verbs because these verb conjugations occupy all five rows of the hiragana chart. For example nomu -> nomanai, nomimasu, nomu, nome, nomou. (1)

(1) Explanation taken from