The same binome is printed in as many as half-a-dozen or more different combinations of characters that have been used throughout history lo write it out. This indicates powerfully the primacy of sound over written form as the ultimate determinant of Chinese language.
The Need for an Alphabetically Arranged General Usage Dictionary of Mandarin Chinese (February 1986)
If only there were a lexicographer of Liang Shih-ch'iu's ability who also had the perspicuity to arrange his dictionary by sound rather than radical! ... No wonder most of us are so sour and gray by the time we reach fifty! The amount of time consumed and the spirit expended in this sort of meaningless, not to mention destructive, type of activity is beyond calculation.Victor H. Mair
As a working Sinologist, each time I look up a word in my Webster's or Kenkyusha's I experience a sharp pang of deprivation. Having slaved over Chinese dictionaries arranged in every imaginable order(by K'ang-hsi radical, left-top radical, bottom-right radical, left-right split, total stroke count, shape of successive stroke, four-corner, three corner, two-corner, Kuei-hsieh , ts'ang-chieh , telegraphic code, rhyme tables, phonetic keys, and so on ad nauseam), I have become deeply envious of specialists in those languages, such as Japanese, Indonesian, Hindi, Persian, Russian, Turkish, Korean, Vietnamese, and so forth, which possess alphabetically arranged dictionaries.Victor H. Mair