Chinese input methods for Emacs

Sunday, 8th February, 2009

From the llaisdy blog archives.

This all feels a bit antiquated now I’m working on a Mac (I use the Mac input methods instead of the emacs input methods), but it’s useful whenever I have to work on a Windows machine. The notes below are not complete and I’d appreciate any comments to help fill in the gaps.


Emacs provides 25 input methods for Chinese. Although each input method has its own describe-input-method page, these pages can be rather terse. There is also no overview or comparison between the different input-methods, neither have I been able to find one on the web.

Here I have gathered together the information I’ve been able to find. I’d be pleased to hear about any errors I’ve made, and where I can find further information to correct my omissions. I’ll keep this page up-to-date.

I’m learning Mandarin Chinese, I’m interested in simplified script, and for the moment I find a pinyin-based approach to the written language easiest. For my own current requirements, chinese-tonepy is fitting the bill, but I’m interested in learning a structural input method (i.e., not based on pronunciation). See the Conclusion for further discussion.

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