On 1/19/06, Mark J. Reed <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I was hoping that the stems, at least, might be consecutive in
> Unicode, given their alphabet-like uses in Chinese culture

That wasn't the ordering principle used, though :) And if it were, it
wouldn't have helped order the others, since few sets of characters
have a "natural" ordering.

AFAIK, all existing CJK character sets and Unicode use one of two
systems: shape-based (radical-stroke, for example; not sure whether
other methods are in use in character sets) or pronunciation-based.
(Sometimes the two are combined; for example, IIRC the Japanese JIS
encoding uses pronunciation for one block of relatively more common
characters, followed by a block of less-common characters ordered by

FWIW, in Japanese I remember them as "kou, otsu, hei, tei, bo, ki,
kou, shin, jin, ki" (jikkan = ten stems) and "ne, ushi, tora, u,
tatsu, mi, uma, hitsuji, saru, tori, inu, i" (juunishi = twelve

The first set of names bears some resemblance to the Chinese names
since it uses the Chinese-derived "on" readings, but the second set
uses Japanese "kun" readings.

Also FWIW, I usually "translate" the twelve animals into the following
characters: 鼠 (nezumi - rat), 牛 (ushi - cow), 虎 (tora - tiger), 兎
(usagi - rabbit), 竜 (tatsu/ryuu - dragon), 蛇 (hebi - snake), 馬 (uma -
horse), 羊 (hitsuji - sheep), 猿 (saru - monkey), 鶏 (niwatori - cock), 犬
(inu - dog), 猪 (inoshishi/i - boar/pig). Some of these are
traditionally different in Chinese, I know, especially 狗 for dog
instead of 犬.

Note that most of the names are similar to the names used in the
juunishi, but some of the juunishi names are slightly different
(usually shorter).
Philip Newton <[log in to unmask]>
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