Frequency lists show characters in decreasing frequency of occurrence, with the most common characters displayed first. By knowing how frequently characters are used in stories, articles, and other documents, it’s easy to decide which characters to learn first. Clicking on the “Character Frequency” tab just above the Reader shows the current frequency list, and this is chosen via “Frequency List” on the main menu. How character frequency is measured (the corpus in published lists) is what distinguishes these three lists:
With the checkbox, “Show details in Character Frequency display”, in the Settings dialog you can specify whether or not to show additional detail in the Character Frequency view. For published character frequency lists, this additional detail currently only includes the position of the character in the frequency list. The dynamic list includes much more information as shown below:
The first line indicates how many characters have been imported into Chinese Toolbox 2012 via the “Import Document button/tab. The second line indicates how many of these characters are unique. Both of these settings are reset when you select “Clear character frequency counts” from the File menu.
Characters of the dynamic character frequency list are displayed one character per line, and each line includes the following information:
So in the previous example you can see that 2209 unique characters have been imported. The first character, 的, occurred 1291 times or 4.33% of the time (1291 ÷ 29773) in all imported documents.
The character frequency list is a very important part of Document Analysis in Chinese Toolbox 2012. It is also integrated into the character entry context menu in the Character Dictionary window. Upcoming releases of Chinese Toolbox will provide even greater integration of character frequency lists, especially in the Search window. See Upcoming Release for more information on this.