Jaenre Manual

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Manual


Introduction

Jaenre is short for JApanese-ENglish-REsource. It is a reference tool to help English speakers to work with the Japanese language. To this end, Jaenre consists of several windows.

There are a few panels that have buttons on them. Clicking these buttons will send the text on that button to the topmost selected text field. There is a panel each for the Hiragana and Katakana character sets. There's also a panel with some punctuation used by the Japanese that is not readily available to English speakers.

Two panels provide a means to browse for Kanji characters. One through the traditional Radical system. Another through the more modern SKIP system.

A transliteration window is available that has three text areas corresponding to Romaji, Hiragana and Katakana. Selecting one field and typing into it will convert to the other character sets.

There is a search window that can be used to search through the Jaenre database.

A text window is provided in the form of a scratch pad. Here one can store various text items. They then can be cut and pasted to other applications.

Jaenre is not an application for beginners. Its purpose is to assist, not teach. Knowing the Hiragana and Katakana character sets is a must. A familiarity with using dictionaries is must. A basic working knowledge of written Japanese will help.


Panel Menu

Jaenre is a tool and works through a fixed number of windows. The visibility of these windows can be controlled through the application's Panel menu that can be found on the main application menu.

The window are collected into three groups. The first group are referred to as "Panels". These go by the names Hiragana, Katakana, Punctuation, Radical and SKIP. The second group are referred to as "Windows". These go by the names Search, Transliteration and Scratch Pad. The third group are the windows supporting the application preferences. There is one called Transliteration Preferences.

Besides the preference windows, the reasoning for this separation is simple: a "panel" is a "window" that doesn't have an editable text field.

This separation has an important significance on how the various windows talk to each other. Any "panel" will send text, via the pasteboard, to the selected text field of the frontmost "window". If a "window" is currently being used, then it is the top window and sending text to itself would be confusing - thus a "window" does not send messages to other "windows".


Hiragana, Katakana and Punctuation

The Hiragana, Katakana and Punctuation are the simplest panels to use.

Clicking on any of the buttons in these panels, will send the button's visible text to the frontmost editable text field.


Radical

The Radical panel is uses the radical system to explore Jaenre's Kanji database.

At the top of this panel is a setting called "Use only the traditional Kanji radicals". Most dictionaries follow the traditionally accepted radicals, but switching this option off will include some extra characters and increase the number of matches.

The first step is to select a radical. This is done through the menu and table to the very left of the panel.

Count the number of strokes in a radical and select that number in the first menu. This brings up a list of radicals with that number of strokes. Selecting the radical in the first table will now update the second table on the right to now show all the kanji characters that contain that radical.

Some radicals can have a lot of matches. Subtract the number of strokes in the radical from the total number of strokes in the kanji character to get the left over number of strokes. Selecting the left over number of strokes in the second menu will filter down the number of kanji matched.

Selecting one of the kanji characters in the second column will display some basic data to the right.

Next to some fields is a little icon. Clicking this button will send the corresponding text to the topmost selected text field.

It should be noted that radicals are not always at the top or on the left. Sometimes one has to try out different parts of the kanji before the accepted radical is found.


SKIP

The SKIP panel is uses the SKIP system to explore Jaenre's Kanji database.

The kanji in the skip system are grouped into four categories: left-right, top-bottom, enclosure and solid. There are four toggle buttons along the top that correspond to these four groups. Only one of these buttons can be selected at a time.

For left-right, top-bottom and enclosure there are a further two numbers needed to further categorise kanji. These numbers are the number of strokes in each part. For left-right the first number is the number of strokes to the left and the second number is the number of strokes to the right. For top-bottom, the first number is the number of strokes in the top and the second is the number of strokes in the bottom part. For enclosure the first number is the number of strokes in the outer part and the second is the number of strokes in the inner part. Solid is a bit different, with the first number being the total number of strokes and the second being a further grouping based on shape.

Once the filters along the top are selected, a list of matching kanji characters appear in the table near the left side of the panel.

Selecting one of the kanji characters in the table will display some basic data to the right.

Next to some fields is a little icon. Clicking this button will send the corresponding text to the topmost selected text field.

It should be noted that the SKIP system often divides via what appears like radicals and not necessarily the first visual division. A bit of exploration is recommended.


Search

The Search window allows the text within the Jaenre databases to be scanned.

In the top-right of the Search window is a table that lists all the available areas within the Jaenre database that are accessible. The contents of this list can be dragged around to control the order in which they are searched. Turning the check-boxes on or off will control which areas are searched.

Important note: the Jaenre database will evolve and grow over time. This list currently only has a reference to the kanji database. Other databases will appear over time.

To do a search, enter some text in the large text field at the top and press the Search button.

Once the scanning has completed a number will appear to the right of the Search button showing the number of matches returned.

The scrollable area at the bottom that takes up most of the window area will list all the results of the search.

Multiple search terms are allowed by separating words by spaces. This will have the effect of filtering down on the results. Only results that contain all the search terms will be displayed.

For a bit of fun, a Random button is placed above the Search button. Clicking this will return one entry from the Jaenre database.


Transliteration

Transliteration is the process of using character sets to represent sounds. Jaenre has three character sets where it considers transliteration to be appropriate: Romaji, Hiragana and Katakata.

One can select any of the three fields and start typing. In real time this window will try to transcribe from the text being typed to the other character sets.

It is possible to change what combinations lead to what transcriptions through the Transliteration Preferences window. Select a row, type in the new Romaji text and press the Update button.

Note that only the Romaji characters can be edited as the link between Hiragana and Katakana are rather one to one.

Note that it is a good idea to keep the Romaji unique as having copies within the transliteration database can result in situations where the transliteration is not correct in the mind of the user.


Scratch Pad

The Scratch Pad is a critical window to the usage of Jaenre. This window is used as a temporary store of one's explorations. It is a area to collect bits and pieces that can be re-arranged through standard text editing methods. Text can even be copied from here and pasted to other applications. The text is not saved and will be lost when Jaenre is quit.

The motivation for this Scratch Pad window comes from Jaenre being a sandboxed application. This means that it is unable to talk to other applications. This is a security property of the sandboxed applications available in the Apple store.

Sometimes it can be a bit of work placing items on the Scratch Pad and then copying and pasting to another app. There is a deliberate quirk in Jaenre that can be used to speed this up. Whenever you send text within Jaenre to a text field it's also being placed in the pasteboard. This means that if you switch to another application you can paste the last piece of text selected.


References

KODANSHA'S furigana JAPANESE DICTIONARY; First Edition, 1999; ISBN 7-700-2480-0

The Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary New Edition, 2001; ISBN 978-47700-2855-6


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