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msr.iaidoka
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 6:20 pm    Post subject: Electronic dictionary/translator Reply with quote
Greetings all,

I was wondering if those of you who own those handy-dandy dictionary/translator things would be able to tell me what you like/dislike about your particular models. I am looking to get one and I figure the best people to ask would be the linguists among us who rely on them. Any information will be greatly appreciated.


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Matt
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Dictionary-wise, at the higher levels, the Koujien is a must, since it covers a lot of words that aren't covered in any J-E dictionary and left out of a lot of standard Japanese dictionaries.

Some people like having the Kanjigen dictionary (probably most famous kanji dictionary), but I've been doing fine with a more generic one on my current model.

My electronic dictionary uses the Genius brand J-E and E-J dictionaries and they're pretty good, but not tremendously different from the New Anchor dictionaries included in my last model.

Most electronic dictionaries have a buttload of extra books included, like conversational Spanish and French, a thesaurus, medical info, and stuff like that, but I rarely ever use that. Kotowaza (proverbs) and yojijukugo (4-kanji idioms) dictionaries ARE helpful, however.

Some useful functions:

- Gyaku-biki (逆引き): lets you search for words using kanji other than the first; extremely handy when you know the reading of the second kanji but aren't sure about the first.

- Jump & Multiple Dictionary Search: the first lets you highlight a term from a dictionary entry and look it up in another dictionary. The second is a simultaneous search of several dictionaries.

- Tangochou: lets you record certain words to memory; handy for test prep, since it's like working with flash cards.

Some electronic dictionaries have styluses and text recognition, allowing you to look up a kanji by writing it in. I don't think it's necessary, though. I think looking up kanji by radical or number of strokes is good practice for Japanese learners, especially since text dictionaries work the same way.

As far as specific recommendations go, I got my first about seven years ago, starting with an old Canon Wordtank. My next model was a Canon IDF-3000, which was a big step up feature-wise from the Wordtank, but I never got used to the counter-intuitive way that some functions were handled. Unlike most dictionaries, though, it actually included digital versions of the diagrams from the Koujien. That was kind of nice.

My current model is a Sharp e-Dictionary PW-A8000, and it is the best I've used by far. It cost more than my Playstation 2, but I use it at work every day and I've definitely gotten my money's worth out of it. It's easy to use, with none of the navigation weirdness of my last Canon, and it's got a nice screen and every function I need (no Kanjigen and the Koujien lacks illustrations, but that hasn't been a hindrance). I'll definitely buy another Sharp model the next time I feel the need to upgrade.

Hope this helps.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 7:32 pm    Post subject: Canon G-55 Reply with quote
I have a Canon G55, bought at LT’s recommendation. As an intermediate level Japanese speaker/reader, I find it covers my needs nicely. It has over 10 dictionaries including the Super Daijirin, Kanjigen, English-Japanese, Japanese-English, Katakana, a Japanese thesaurus, and some English dictionaries. You can set the menus and input entry to either Japanese or English. It also has a multiple search feature that searches every dictionary, a word memo where you can store things, and all kinds of cool little features (showing you the proper kanji stroke order, a jump feature that shows where else in the wordtank what is highlighted shows up, text sizer, search by stroke-on-kun-radicals-parts-etc, bookmark, usage history, English spell checker, search using wild cards, etc). It’s compact and you can take it everywhere (I do!).
Drawbacks for me include a relative dearth of historical names (seems like there are more Western names than Japanese), what I consider wasted space on English dictionaries (they’re included since the G55 is designed for Japanese users learning English), and the fact that you can’t restrict searches to just the 2000 ‘standard’ kanji (this baby has a LOT of kanji characters in it, and sometimes searches will give you 50 or more pages to scroll through). I’ve also heard it doesn’t respond well to suitcases ambushing it Just Kidding. I think Ayame paid about 23000Y ($200) for it.
Another thing to remember is that it’s not for beginners. You have to be able to read and understand Japanese at a decent level for it to be useful. But for intermediate users, you’ll find it to be your new best friend.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ashigaru wrote:

As far as specific recommendations go, I got my first about seven years ago, starting with an old Canon Wordtank. My next model was a Canon IDF-3000, which was a big step up feature-wise from the Wordtank, but I never got used to the counter-intuitive way that some functions were handled. Unlike most dictionaries, though, it actually included digital versions of the diagrams from the Koujien. That was kind of nice.


I did the same thing, went from a word tank to the IDF-3000. I personally don't like the 3000 - the feature I miss most is the "flashcard" feature that the cannon word tank had. Also, the kanji dictionary in the 3000 isn't as intuitive as the wordtank, particularly the fact that you don't get a list of jukugo when you look up kanji. You have to then do a "jump" from that kanji to find the jukugo. That is a huge minus in my book. I've wanted to get a new one for a few years, but they aren't cheap. But for someone just starting out, the IDF-3000 or the one that is a step down from it (1500?) should be fine, as they are relatively cheap, I bought mine on Ebay brand new for (I think) around $80-100 - it was a few years ago.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
kitsuno wrote:
Also, the kanji dictionary in the 3000 isn't as intuitive as the wordtank, particularly the fact that you don't get a list of jukugo when you look up kanji. You have to then do a "jump" from that kanji to find the jukugo. That is a huge minus in my book.


Yes, that's an annoying hassle, and one of problems I had in mind when referring to the counter-intuitive way the IDF goes about doing things. Dictionary-wise, the IDF-3000 was pretty attractive, but it was definitely lacking in the interface department.

I'm pretty glad the Bic Camera salesguy talked me into getting a Sharp e-Dictionary instead of another Canon. I was a little reluctant to give up the Kanjigen, but I've had a great time with it and hardly notice the Kanjigen's absence. The e-Dictionary is probably overkill for a beginning language learner or someone who just needs something for undergraduate study, though. A cheaper model would probably suffice for those users.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 4:27 pm    Post subject: Stylus Reply with quote
I'd like to add another question to this thread...does anyone have a wordtank that allows you to search by entering characters onto the screen with a stylus? I'm wondering how good the optical recognition is, and whether it returns the most likely character or a group of choices. I'm thinking of upgrading to the new Canon G-70, but I'm not sure if this feature justifies shelling out Y40,000 (especially after I just picked up the G-55 a few months ago).
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2006 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Greetings all,

Many thanks for the information. I know just enough Japanese to know that I do not know enough. Smile I have two years of college Japanese courses behind me which has not brought me as far along as I would have hoped. The lack of classes this summer is making me very rusty...


Peace,

Matt
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2006 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsu,

I didn't know the G-70 had the stylus featuer--the G90 does, but then it also has all the Chinese dictionaries as well as English and Japanese. I suppose that's worth it if you're reading old manuscripts in Chinese, but then again, as we know it might not help.

Haven't seen the Sharp e-Dictionary, but I can't imagine being without my G55. I've had 2 and one G-50, and loved them. Prior to that I had a Canon Wordtank (for 9 years).
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
ltdomer98 wrote:
Tatsu,

I didn't know the G-70 had the stylus featuer--the G90 does, but then it also has all the Chinese dictionaries as well as English and Japanese. I suppose that's worth it if you're reading old manuscripts in Chinese, but then again, as we know it might not help.



Thanks, I didn't know about the G90. I'll have to look into it-the Chinese dictionaries would be helpful in the older stuff I look at.
LATER-After having checked it out, I might have to upgrade to the G90 next year. The extra Chinese dictionaries and the stylus seemingly are worth the extra cash, and it seems to be cheaper than the G70. And upon further examination, although the G70 has a stylus, it just allows you to highlight words and not input your own handwritten characters.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 6:33 pm    Post subject: Canon V90 Reply with quote
Well, I can now recommend the Canon V90 Japanese/Chinese/English wordtank. This is laid out almost exactly the same as the G55 and is the same size. It has 9 Chinese dictionaries, 9 Japanese dictionaries (including the Kanjigen and Super Daijirin), and 2 English dictionaries. I chose it over the G90 because of the voice feature and the included historical names dictionary (and losing a 150,000 entry Chinese dictionary-at my level or lack thereof in Chinese, I’ll never miss it with the included ones at 87,000, 76,000, and 65,000). It has a few interesting extras over the G55 like a Japanese proverb dictionary, kanji phrases, PC encyclopedia, etc. The real benefit is the improved screen layout and the ability to enter kanji directly onto the screen for search purposes. Instead of ‘branching’ screens you get a three window screen with a list of choices on the left, search box in the lower right, and entry for the highlighted word on the left at the top right. You can also use the G55 setup with the branching screens.
I was very impressed with the recognition ability for the onscreen entering. It recognizes kanji, hiragana, and English. It gives you a list of possible matches (12 or so) and even with sloppy penmanship, the correct one was always among the choices. For that feature alone, it’s worth it for me.
The voice feature only works with the Chinese pronunciations. You can record your voice (up to a minute) to compare with the readings, but it can’t be stored, which sucks-I was going to use it as a memo.
Ayame paid about Y32000 (about $280), so it’s not much more than the G55. Personally, I would liked to have seen the power and dictionaries of the G70 included even at a boosted price-it would then have the best of both worlds.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Really thinking about it, I have decided that between the yahoo jisho online, my "jouyou kanji" dictionary with 2111 kanji, and my CANNON IDF-3000, I eventually find what I'm looking for. Probably like most of us jumping into this particular thread, we don't need these industrial strength super sonic dictionaries. But I have to admit, probably about 40% of the time I can't find the Kanji I'm looking for with the IDF-3000 - it just isn't that "easy" to use - and that bugs the hell out of me. But even so, I can't seem to justify to myself dropping a few hundred on a better one. I have an easier time finding kanji in a paperback dictionary than I do with the 3000 sometimes. I guess if things were time critical it might be worth it, but who walks around with an electronic dictionary on them at all times, aside from 'domer? Just Kidding

I miss my old original cannon wordtank (9000 I think) - I was always able to get what I needed from that.

I guess the point of this thread was to find "the best" denki jisho, so I guess there isn't much point to this post other than I could get a lot better use out of a dictionary that has a better way to look up kanji, but I tend to find them eventually even with my marginal 3000 combined with my other resources - heck, half the time I just ask. And when I'm reading, assuming it is a regular novel rather than an article on economics or high brow history, I only tend to look up a handful of Kanji every 20 or 30 pages, and by the time you get near the end of any regular novel, all the kanji you'll need you've already seen for the last 200 pages - the more specialized, the more use my dictionaries get.

The V90 seems like it would be great! (although the chinese would be wasted on me) It would be so nice to be able to just write the kanji on the screen and poof... I just have to decide if I can justify dropping cash on one. I paid an insane $300 for my old wordtank, but this 3000 only cost me around $100.

Where is a good place to look at them online, other than US "importers" who add $200 to the price because you can't get them in the US?
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
kitsuno wrote:


The V90 seems like it would be great! (although the chinese would be wasted on me) It would be so nice to be able to just write the kanji on the screen and poof... I just have to decide if I can justify dropping cash on one.


At your proficiency level, it probably wouldn't be justified. I still have a lot of kanji to learn past the standard 2000 so it helps me a lot.
That was one of the things I found a little frustrating with the G55...the kanji was always there in the search results, but you would have to scroll through 50 pages sometimes and hope it wasn't missed. Looking it up in a paper dictionary was sometimes faster. Drawing it onscreen gives you a box with 20 choices all on the same page. That and the three windows make it perfect.
And I'm worse than Domer...not only do I carry the thing around, but I'm not even in Japan now.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:

At your proficiency level, it probably wouldn't be justified.


Technically, I almost always get the meaning based on the context, and don't bother looking up the actual reading. So I can read a lot and pretty fast, but I'm not learning the readings. Simple example - I knew that 金網 was essentially a chain link fence for about half the book I was reading based on the context - I just didn't know the actual reading was "kanaami" until I happened to pick up the 3000 and looked it up. I probably know the complete correct readings for around 1200 to 1800 kanji, but with the kanji I do know and my grasp of grammar, it lets me get away with a heck of a lot based on context. Essentially, I "cheat" - I know the "meaning" of far more than I know the "reading" for, and the rest I can easily get with context.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
kitsuno wrote:
I guess if things were time critical it might be worth it, but who walks around with an electronic dictionary on them at all times, aside from 'domer? Just Kidding


Actually, I don't--it stays at home unless I'm going on a business trip. There's no reason to take it on a daily basis--it's not like I need to look up words to make it out of the supermarket. And that's the point--an IDF-3000 is good enough for the beginning student who needs to piece together a phrase, but at our level (though you guys are way ahead of me), you're not using it for everyday stuff. I can read and get the "gist" of most everything on a daily basis without the dictionary. The problem is the more difficult stuff, or figuring out readings instead of meanings, etc. That's why people in our (broad) category need the higher-power models.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:

That was one of the things I found a little frustrating with the G55...the kanji was always there in the search results, but you would have to scroll through 50 pages sometimes and hope it wasn't missed.....

.....And I'm worse than Domer...not only do I carry the thing around, but I'm not even in Japan now.


Yeah, that is a pain. That feature does sound nice about the G90.

And as I said, I don't carry it around!
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
kitsuno wrote:
Essentially, I "cheat" - I know the "meaning" of far more than I know the "reading" for, and the rest I can easily get with context.
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Haha--that's exactly what I'm talking about. Last year, as I was planning to go to Ft Lewis for my Japanese class, the instructors called for my phone interview, and asked me to read an article off of AsahiShimbun.com to them to test my reading ability. I stumbled my way through an article on baseball, completely butchering the readings. I had to explain that I knew what it all meant, and had to summarize the article perfectly before she got what I was saying. Knowing how to pronounce a kanji is a different skill than knowing the meaning of the word--and I'm good at the latter, but not the former.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
ltdomer98 wrote:
I had to explain that I knew what it all meant, and had to summarize the article perfectly before she got what I was saying. Knowing how to pronounce a kanji is a different skill than knowing the meaning of the word--and I'm good at the latter, but not the former.


When people ask if I can read Japanese, I just say yes, I mean, I'm on my second novel in three months interspersed with my regular english book reading. But there are still jukugo that I've seen hundreds of times and "know" what they mean - every so often I see them so much I just do a quick dictionary search, and the reading pretty much stays with me. Not sure if this is the most efficient way to learn anymore, but I don't have the time to carry around my flashcards anymore. Man, I'd be screwed if I was told to read aloud. Like you, I could easily "translate" it into English, but if I had to write it all into hiragana, I'd be screwed.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
ltdomer98 wrote:
I had to explain that I knew what it all meant, and had to summarize the article perfectly before she got what I was saying. Knowing how to pronounce a kanji is a different skill than knowing the meaning of the word--and I'm good at the latter, but not the former.


When people ask if I can read Japanese, I just say yes, I mean, I'm on my second novel in three months interspersed with my regular english book reading. But there are still jukugo that I've seen hundreds of times and "know" what they mean, but haven't bothered to look up - every so often I see them so much I just do a quick dictionary search, and the reading pretty much stays with me (assuming my 3000 can even find it). Not sure if this is the most efficient way to learn anymore, but I don't have the time to carry around my flashcards anymore. Man, I'd be screwed if I was told to read aloud. Like you, I could easily "translate" it into English, but if I had to write it all into hiragana, I'd be screwed. You know, if I had the V90, I'd probably take the time to learn the readings. As it is now, it is more of a pain that it's worth to look them up while I'm reading.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
kitsuno wrote:
As it is now, it is more of a pain that it's worth to look them up while I'm reading.


That right there is what keeps me from reading more. I started to read The Wind Up Bird Chronicle--I figured it'd be easier to start with a book I'd read in English, because I'd have a general idea of what was going on. It was easier--I read a passage with no dictionary, just putting a mark by the words I didn't know. Then I'd read it again, using the denki jisho to look up the words I didn't know. It was good study for the phrases I didn't know, but knowing the exact definitions and readings didn't help my understanding of the book--it just confirmed what I was getting intuitively.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
kitsuno wrote:
Probably like most of us jumping into this particular thread, we don't need these industrial strength super sonic dictionaries.

That's true-for me, it's a lot like getting a Corvette instead of a Malibu. You're never going to NEED or use that power...but it sure is kewl to have it!
kitsuno wrote:

Where is a good place to look at them online, other than US "importers" who add $200 to the price because you can't get them in the US?

I'd check out the camera stores/electronics stores near you. You would think with all the Japanese in Hawaii, someone would carry them at a decent price.
Online is a no go. When I was looking into the G55 earlier this year, all the options I saw were grossly jacked up-even the Japanese dealers.

So far, the only real drawback to the unit is the timing on the on screen kanji search. You can set it to fast, slow, or normal delay (I have it on slow). If you go a certain length of time without drawing something, it'll search automatically. This is a pain when you're trying to copy a 20 stroker you've never seen before from a book with tiny print...pause too long, and the search kicks in. I would have preferred an option that requires a manual release from the user. Who knows...maybe I just haven't found that feature yet, but I did read all the instructions.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2006 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I have electronic dictionary Genius SHARP PW-6500. It's a bit old, but it's allright to me. Sometimes I get confused searching Kanji meanings as I'm begginer in japanese(only 4 months of learning are behind me). I think the best way is to go for a newer Genius model. Though it my get expensive...
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Well, I'm in trouble.

My denshi jisho is swimming with the fishes.

Kitsuno and I had just gone to the library after a lecture by Professor McNally on Tokugawa Period intellectual history (on kokugaku). There was a kanji in one of the Muromachi or Kamakura history books I couldn't read, so I pulled out my electronic dictionary. And what did I find?

MY SCREEN HAD SOMEHOW BROKEN INTO A BEAUTIFUL RAINBOW PATTERN. Everything was unreadable. Apparently something put pressure on it until it dented pretty heavily.

I need another one. I've been reading the recommendations in this thread and am now wondering where you guys would buy the next one? Could you show some links to some sites that are trustworthy for electronic dictionary?

Thanks!
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Nags,

I'd first see which of the models available best match your needs. Here is a link to Canon's Wordtank lineup. http://cweb.canon.jp/wordtank/lineup.html There are other decent models out there from Sharp and Seiko, but I'm very partial to Canon's products. I had two old Wordtanks which were awesome, and my compact IDF-2100 goes with me every day to work and on business trips. I love the IDF-2100, but this one doesn't have a kanji look-up function. I sacrificed that function for something small enough to fit into the pocket of my suit jacket, but hardly a day doesn't go by that I don't use it for something.

Regarding buying one, I'm sure Best Buy, if there is one in Hawaii, would carry some models, or even in the denki section of that Japanese Dept store in Ala Moana shopping mall. Better yet, tell Domer what model you want, and he can probably get a decent price on one from Yamada Denki, Midori, Jusco, Yodabashi Camera, Bic Camera, etc. When he comes to Hawaii next month, he can personally deliver it and you can pay him. Wink
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Well, I just spent my morning researching new electronic dictionaries.

I'm really liking the SHARP PW-AT760 lineup.

The Sharp PW-LT300 has a better J-E, E-J set-up, but the encyclopedias aren't as good.

Casio XD-GW9600 has amazing J-E and E-J, far outshining the Sharp PW-LT300.

I'd hate to ever spend $400 on ANYTHING (Just Kidding), but if I can take God's place and make the decision that it will last me the rest of my life, then I'd be fine with it.

Before I go ahead and purchase one (there's some good deals and some horrifically jacked-up prices), does anyone have any opinions or warnings? Is anyone familiar with them?

Thanks,


Last edited by nagaeyari on Sat Nov 17, 2007 11:25 am; edited 1 time in total
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nagaeyari
Asuka no Kami
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Joined: 05 May 2006
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Location: Japan

PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
I would have preferred an option that requires a manual release from the user. Who knows...maybe I just haven't found that feature yet, but I did read all the instructions.


http://www.quinlanfaris.com/?p=87

Apparently, keep your stylus on the touch screen and there should not be a premature entry.

Does that work?

BTW, this dictionary here looks amazing. I don't have that much money though Smile
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