Elisp: Chinese Character Reference Linkify

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

We need a command to change the character under cursor into several HTML links.

For example, this


<div class="x23394">
<b class="w"></b>
<span class="en">
<a href="…">Translate</a> •
<a href="…">Wiktionary</a> •
<a href="…">history</a>

Appears in browser like this:

chinese char link 6a017

This is useful for writing blog on languages and linguistics.


Here's the code:

(defun xah-words-chinese-linkify ()
  "Make the Chinese character before cursor into Chinese dictionary reference links.
URL `http://ergoemacs.org/emacs/elisp_chinese_char_linkify.html'
Version 2016-01-18"
  (let (
         "<div class=\"chinese-etymology-96656\"><b class=\"w\">▮</b> <span class=\"en\"><a href=\"http://translate.google.com/#zh-CN|en|▮\">Translate</a> • <a href=\"http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/▮\">Wiktionary</a> • <a href=\"http://www.chineseetymology.org/CharacterEtymology.aspx?submitButton1=Etymology&characterInput=▮\">history</a></div>"
        ($char (buffer-substring-no-properties (- (point) 1) (point))))
    (delete-char -1)
    (insert (replace-regexp-in-string "▮" $char $template))))

This is truely a time saver.

URL Encoding of Chinese

Note: technically, Chinese chars in a URL should be URL Encoded.

For example:


should be:


(A Chinese character should become bytes in hex from the char's UTF-8 encoding. The char 中's UTF-8 encoding is 3 bytes of the following hexadecimal: E4 B8 AD.)

However, i think the situation of percent encoding is a abomination. [see Problems of Symbol Congestion in Computer Languages; ASCII Jam vs Unicode] I decided to not botch my Chinese chars in URL. This does not cause practical problems.

If you want to do that, see: Elisp: URL Percent Decode/Encode

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