>> ALL radicals are graphemes.
>> But there are graphemes which are not part of the 214 Kanxi-radicals,
>> because ... there are more of them.
> Agreed. But I dare say that it is not a big discovery...
Who said it's a big discovery? ;)
I was just surprised about people negating the very existance of the
well-established japanological/sinological term "grapheme".

> Sure. I didn't comment about your examples because there was nothing to say:
> in "詩", "侍" and "時", "寺" it is no doubt a "phonetic" (not sure about "
> 特").
You're right, in 特 (te4), it's not a phonetic.

> Even in the oldest analyses and with the oldest terminology, most Chinese
> characters (90%?) are said to be composed of a "signific" (aka "radical")
> and of a "phonetic". "Significs" are certainly more that 214 (but however
> probably less that 400), while "phonetics" should be nearly 1000.
But which is which? That's the problem.
间 (jian1) has 门 ("gate") as ist radical, whereas 闻 (wen2) can be found
under 耳 ("ear")!

In very traditional dictionaries, it is helpful if you already know the
meanings of the characters before you look them up. ;)
But modern dictionaries have reassigned the radicals in a more logical way,
i.e. you could find both characters under the radical-entry 门 "gate".

In my opinion, it doesn't matter which part of a character is the "signific"
and which is the "phonetic" if I want to analyse a writing systems into its
parts, just classifying them according to their present shape.
And even "phonetics" can have a meaning, even if they are not the

Berthold :)