This is a part of the Introduction to Wubi Input Method series. Previous chapter was about isolation rules.

If you have spent enough time practicing, now you should be able to input any single character with Wubi as long as you remember how to write it.

However, modern Wubi implementations are usually not limited to single character input. In fact, you can input common words and phrases with Wubi as easily as the single characters, and you don’t have to relearn anything.

Just like in Chinese language the rules governing phrase and sentence structure are homomorphous to the rules governing the word structure, when you input phrases and sentences you still use similar Wubi rules. They are quite straightforward:

  • For two-character combinations, input the first two letters of each character code. For example 谢谢 is ytyt and 再见 is gmmq;
  • For three-character combinations, input the first letters of the first to characters’ codes and two letters from the third character. For example, 不客气 is gprn and 外国人 is qlww (remember that for we use full code wwww as reference here);
  • For four-character words combinations, you guessed it, input the first letter of each character’s code. 欢迎光临 is cqij and 各抒己见 is trnm;
  • Finally, if a combination is more than four characters long, you input the the first letters of the first three characters’ codes and then the first letter of the last characters. As I mentioned in the beginning of this series, this allows 中华人民共和国 to be input conveniently as kwwl.

The dictionary of the Wubi input method you use determines which words and phrases are included, most modern input methods will include common words and expressions. Some also allow the user to define codes. In the latter case you can even violate Wubi rules and make up your own code, but I strongly persuade you not to do this. If you assign the expression to its correct Wubi code, you’ll have the advantage of not needing to remember the code, as you can always deduct it using the standard rules.

Now you can keep practicing with whole words and phrases, and thus harness the full power of Wubi input. If you are a bit tired of practicing by now, please bear with it for a while. The learning curve is a bit steep. Also, Wubi requires you generally to be more concentrated. For instance, you should always be sure how to write a character. I once spent five minutes trying to input 静国 by typing gelg to no avail before I realised that the correct code is uggl for 靖国. (And then I further realised that I have to add it to my user dictionary first, it’s not a very common word…) But this concentration will not be a waste of your energy. For once, it will greatly improve your ability to remember how to write characters in case if you ever need to. Besides, it will attune your mind better to the Chinese way of seeing things as you won’t have to often return to ‘linear’ phonetic thinking. Also, once you’ve got used to it, you’ll be able to relax while staying concentrated, which is a useful trait even when you are not typing Chinese.

Good luck with Wubi! Hope you grow to like it just as I did, if you haven’t already become so while you were reading this introductory series.