This book consists of two sections, Three Sinogram Verses Using Free Radicals and Three Sinogram Verses Using Bound Radicals. The first part of Three Sinogram Verses Using Free Radicals presents 56 verses, which collects the most frequently-used radicals that are characters by themselves, like “人”, “日” and “月”. Each verse is composed of three characters, two single characters and a combined character thereby formed. The two single characters are respectively two radicals; therefore, one hundred and twelve radicals are introduced in this primer. Every four verses form a stanza, metrically precise and beautiful so as to greatly facilitate recital and memorization. For each radical, details are provided, including its form, pronunciation, meaning, drawing strokes, the order of strokes as well as the example characters formed by it. For the combined characters, in addition to the introduction to forms, pronunciation and meanings, their structures and methods of formation are also explained, together with a simple illustration to their etymology.
The second part, Three Sinogram Verses Using Bound Radicals includes 20 verses, which mainly deal with those radicals that are not characters by themselves, but the variations of the radicals through derivation or simplification, for example, “danrenpang” and “lidaopang”, which are respectively the variation of “人” and “刀”, and a few radicals with one stroke, such as “pie” and “shu”, and the bound radicals that have been revolved into very basic symbols like “”. Each verse has three characters, and each character contains a radical, thereby sixty bound radicals are introduced. Every four verses form a stanza, not only melodious, but also meaningful.
Apart from the above two sections, the stroke index of the one hundred and seventy-one radicals specified in this book is provided in the last part. In addition, the tracing exercises are designed for students to practice after class, whereas the exercise of identifying radicals could be used either in the classroom or as an assignment. The Radical Indexing System for Chinese Characters, though presented the last, is also an important component of this book.