User:Vuara/The most comprehensive C-E dictionary

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Chinese Character Genealogy - An Etymological Chinese-English Dictionary: Zhongwen Zipu (Rick Harbaugh's excellent and immensely useful Chinese character etymology dictionary. Learning the interconnections between characters is the best way to really get to know the characters. You can search by Pinyin, Zhuyin (BoPoMoFo), Radical (just as in a traditional dictionary), stroke count, English, and root pictographs. Includes over 4000 characters. Also has hyperlinked online text for reading. Requires Chinese system with traditional Chinese font. )

Richwin Chinese System Software for Windows (Richwin is perhaps the best Chinese system for Windows PCs. A special, inexpensive Internet version is your fastest solution to viewing all Chinese, Japanese, and Korean documents on the Web. Also includes an instant on-line dictionary. )

DynaLab Chinese Fonts (DynaLab is the maker of the best Chinese fonts for PC and Mac)

ABC Interactive Chinese - The best self-study and tutorial program incorporating hundreds of lessons from commonly used Chinese textbooks (in oversea Chinese schools) with the display of Zhuyin symbols, Pinyin romanization, and traditional and simplified characters. Interactive Chinese is easy! $99 for 145 Lessons!

The Xinhua Zidian has been popular for years as the best small, inexpensive, Chinese-only dictionary around. Indeed, no Chinese family could be without one, and an estimated 380 million copies are in print. Now this new edition, featuring the Chinese text from the 1998 revisions plus a full English translation, is sure to be as popular with students. Arranged alphabetically by Hanyu Pinyin, and including both simplified and traditional characters, the Zhuyin Fuhao (bopomofo) system of Taiwan, many appendices and tables, and with a durable binding and cover. But the real bonus to users of this dictionary is the original Chinese text. This is not just a Chinese-English dictionary, but having the Chinese text enables you to see the corresponding Chinese definition, a great enhancement to learning accurate, contemporary language. A must-have reference for students and scholars!

Mandarin Chinese Dictionary: Chinese-English Fred Fangyu Wang Our Price $29.95 Format: Book Page Count: 688 Dimensions: 5 3/8 x 8 1/2 Compact and structure-oriented, this Chinese-English dictionary is part of a two-volume set developed for elementary students of Chinese. Along with its companion volume, an English-Chinese dictionary, this reference was devised for use in high schools and colleges to facilitate both comprehension and reproduction of the Chinese language. Compiled by an expert lexicographer, these dictionaries draw upon the best traditions in Chinese- and English-language learning, with particular emphasis on syntactic structure, functional elements such as particles, and idiomatic expressions. Students can rely on these meticulously prepared and scholastically sound volumes as friendly guides along the well-trodden roads of language instruction. Unabridged republication of the edition originally published by Seton Hall University Press, South Orange, New Jersey, 1967. English-Chinese edition also available; product number 42478-2.


Best Chinese Names (B217) Unlike names in other languages, Chinese names are made up of individual characters, used singly or strung together. Best Chinese Names aims to help English-speakers select good Chinese names by providing various methods of choosing names. For instance, names may be chosen to express the parents' expectations for the future of the child, to commemorate a significant event, or to mark the time of the baby's birth. The names, thus chosen, fit the character of the individual, sound pleasing, and are easier to remember. This book provides hundreds of names, with sections for both male and female babies, suggestions on methods of naming a baby, and a list of English names compatible with Chinese names. Useful not only for new parents but also teachers and students who need to select Chinese names. By Liu Xiaoyan, Paperback, English, 200 Pages, 6x 8.25 Our price: US$16.95

Or you can look at Name Your Baby in Chinese, by Lin Shan, 1988 Heian International, Inc., 1815 West 205th St #301, Torrance, CA 90501 (Tel 310-782-6268); ISBN 0-89346-304-3


Analysis of Chinese Characters (BLP052) This text is far and away the most useful analysis of characters for beginners and intermediate students containing 1,000 of the most important Chinese characters analyzed according to primitives, phonetics, and historical development. The traditional method offers mnemonic aid to students studying both Chinese and Japanese characters. By G.D. Wilder & J. H. Ingram, English, Paperback, 365 Pages, 5.25 x 8.5 Our price: US$14.95

What's in a Chinese Character (BLP005) This fascinating book uses cartoons by Tan Huay Peng to illustrate the origin and development of more than 700 common Chinese characters to their present form. The historical background of the script is given, as well as information on the type of stroke, stroke sequence, and Pinyin pronunciation. Days, months and numbers in Chinese are also provided in the Appendix, making this book invaluable to anyone starting to learn Chinese. Each character is explained in Pinyin and English and includes examples of how to use it. The explanations of the origins of Chinese characters are in English and Chinese. Here is a review from one of our customers Elizabeth Yu: "To many beginning and even advanced students of Chinese, deciphering characters is a deep mystery. This lighthearted reference will help to eliminate much of that mystery. The origins of 369 commonly used characters are explained through anecdotes and comical illustrations. I have used some examples from book for teaching my first year Chinese high school students. It is a welcome break from the usual textbook. The book uses English, simplified characters and pinyin. Stroke sequences of each character are shown. Examples of more ways to use each character are also given. This is useful supplement for students of Chinese at all levels." By Tan Huay Peng, Paperback, 185 Pages, 7.25 x 10.25 Our price: US$19.95

250 Essential Chinese Characters for Everyday Use: Vol 1 (BLP050) Whether you live in China or are a student of the language, even simple tasks like finding an address, buying a train ticket, or banking can be difficult to accomplish if you can’t read Chinese characters. 250 Essential Chinese Characters for Everyday Use is the perfect primer for anyone who needs to recognize common Chinese characters. Each character is presented in both its simplified and traditional form, along with notes on pronunciation and meaning. Vocabulary reviews, practice exercises, and quizzes guide you through a course of self-study where each lesson builds on the previous one. Configuration and stroke order are clearly shown, along with tips for forming characters correctly. A grid of practice squares for each character helps the user build confidence in writing Chinese. All compounds are listed in an alphabetical index at the end of the book for ready reference. By Philip Yungkin Lee, Paperback, Simplified Chinese Characters, English and Pinyin, 338 Pages, 8.25 x 11 Our price: US$19.95

Making Out In Chinese (BLD004) What do one billion people say when they are hanging out, making out, or just shooting the breeze? No longer do you have to sound awkward or embarrassed when in a situation that wasn’t covered in the classroom. “Making out In Chinese” has been especially written to teach you what all the regular Chinese textbooks don’t. In no time, you’ll master everything from friendly chitchat to cuddly courtship remarks, from gentle put-downs to violent verbal abuse (not for the faint at heart!). This is a book certain to bring you to a new level of fluency in conversational Chinese. By Ray Daniels, Paperback, English, English, Pinyin, 88 pages, 4.5 x 7.2 This product is currently out of Stock Our price: US$8.95

3000 Chinese Character Dictionary (BLD009) This dictionary includes over 14,000 phrases and idioms in both traditional and simplified Chinese characters. It uses both Pinyin and Mandarin Phonetic Symbols and contains five indices, Pinyin, Mandarin Phonetic Symbols, radicals, frequency, and stroke numbers of the traditional Chinese characters. It provides English definitions for each character and phrase and enables one to recognize 99% of the characters published in most Chinese media. Paperback, 5.25" x 7", 802 Pages Our price: US$35.95

New Slang of China (BLD003) This dictionary of New Slang of China contains nearly 1300 entries of the most popular and widely used slang that has emerged in recent years. It includes spoken language, colloquial expressions, jargon, argot, cant, influential and representative dialects and local expressions. Among them are many newly created words, old words with new definitions and foreign words. Through this dictionary you can learn more new and popular words used by common people, enlarge vocabulary, master word usage and expressions and make your conversation more interesting and appealing. Each slang is explained with Pinyin, Chinese characters and English, as well as examples how to use the slang. Xiaoning says this is, “A great book for anyone who wants to learn the real Chinese daily spoken language… recommended for anyone who travels in China and wants to speak Chinese as the Chinese do!” Here is a review from one of our customers Elizabeth Yu: "While studying Chinese as a young college student in New York City it was always a chore to memorize vocabulary words and grammar, yet it was great fun to learn slang. Slang as a colloquial spoken language is vividly flavored with local color. It is informal, direct and often humorous. It is pleasing to see that some of the most recent Chinese slang has now been compiled into a book. Understanding these phrases and expressions will enable you to more fully savor the richness and excellence of the Chinese language and culture.The words in this reference book are arranged alphabetically in pinyin. Following each word or words is a sentence in simplified Chinese characters and English showing how the words are used in everyday language. Whether you are planning a trip to China or would just like to enrich your own knowledge of Chinese this is a useful book to have." By Shujuan Li, Ligang Yan, Paperback, 357 Pages, 5.5 x 8 Our price: US$16.95


the most comprehensive Chinese to English dictionary around to the new ABC Comprehensive Dictionary, edited by John Defrancis and the new Chinese to English Dictionary by Shanghai Jiao Tong University Press.

My first question is this: Does the Chinese to English Dictionary by Shanghai Jiao Tong University Press contain both simplified and traditional characters? and my second question is: Does it also have documentation/explanations of characters and usage in English?

If anyone has any experience with this dictionary I would really appreciate any help you can give me.

Thanks all,

Bo Han

I use the Chinese to English Dictionary by Shanghai Jiao Tong University Press (1993 edition , and I think it is one of the most comprehensive existing Chinese-English dictionary. Its 3 indexes (pinyin, radicals, strokes' number) contain both traditional and simplified characters, and it clearly points out in which cases the exact traditional character equivalent is. It is one of the best, even though one can always find an expression not included in the dictionary (perhaps the are more recent edition than the one I have)

Yinyue Mike

Joined: 25 Jan 2004 Posts: 10

Posted: Sun Jan 25, 2004 12:54 pm    Post subject: Best Dictionary  

If this Shanghai Jiaotong Univ. Press dictionary is the one I'm thinking of (two volumes?) it is a very good dictionary, but I might have to vote for the DeFrances dictionary. The new comprehensive dictionary has a huge number of entries (180,000 or something) and the layout makes it easily the fastest way to look up a word for an English speaker -- especially in listening if you're not sure which character it is under. It has the traditional characters in the back as well as under the single character entries (but be careful--it only includes those characters that occur in isolation, it's truly a "word" dictionary, not a character dictionary as well). The former dictionary seemed to have a good number of Chinese government organization names, etc., and does give the meaning of each characters regardless of usage. I seem to remember that both dictionaries just use simplified characters in the main body but both reference traditional characters in the back. I may be confusing the first dictionary, though! Hope this helps!



Joined: 16 Mar 2004 Posts: 15 Location: Taibei (Donghu)

Posted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 6:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Best Dictionary  

Yinyue Mike wrote: I seem to remember that both dictionaries just use simplified characters in the main body but both reference traditional characters in the back. I may be confusing the first dictionary, though!

The new ABC Comprehensive has traditional characters not only in the rear index and at single character entries, but also at compounds, so that unlike the original ABC, you can now tell which fu4 is in chong2fu4 (versus the one in hui1fu4). Very nice, highly recommended book.


The Starter Oxford Chinese Dictionary by Boping Yuan (Editor), Sally Church (Editor)

List Price: $15.95 Price: $11.17 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. See details. You Save: $4.78 (30%) Availability: Usually ships within 24 hours 10 used & new from $10.67 Edition: Paperback

Spotlight Reviews

9 of 9

Good Start Starter, December 28, 2002 
Reviewer: professordavid (see more about me) from Zionsville, IN USA  

This is a handy companion for the beginning of Chinese study. It includes common words, has large type (very important to me), and lots of cross references and "topical" digressions (languages, dates, special words, etc. referenced with citations). It also has a nice measure word section (some are included with nouns, but not always). It also contains both American and British options in word uses.

What I don't like. It ONLY has simplified characters (I would like the traditional ones included also with a primary citation). Harbaugh's book focuses on traditional ones but has both; the bigger Oxford (Manser, 2nd Ed.) has both. It does not have a pronunciation guide which, as a beginner, would be helpful to remind us (constrain us?). Some common words are not in there (who's judgement call?). And, some examples would be helpful where the primary citation includes precedent words. For example, look up "qi" and be able to find "tianqi".

On balance: good overwhelm the bad. After all, it's only about $12-15. As other reviewers have commented, "You need several dictionaries anyway." Do I use it all the time. Absolutely. It's also more fun than the bigger Oxford (Manser). But if Oxford could see clear to include "my" downsides, I'd be much happier.

15 of 16

Great for beginners, June 11, 2001 
Reviewer: rhywun from Astoria, NY United States  

This dictionary is exactly what the beginning student of Mandarin Chinese needs. It's specifically targeted at English speakers who are just beginning to study Chinese. To that end, the size of the vocabulary is limited to just what you need as a beginner; there are numerous detailed usage and grammar notes throughout the dictionary; almost every entry has example phrases or sentences; all Chinese is given in both Pinyin and characters; and perhaps best of all - it's extremely clear, well-designed, and easy to read. My only complaint is that there is no index of traditional characters (all characters are simplified)...but that doesn't really detract from the quality of this dictionary.

Very Good Basic Dictionary, April 16, 2004 
Reviewer: seanezm from Norwalk, CT United States  

I'm very satisfied - I can find every word I need a definition for. The typographic style (colors, bold, etc.)is a pleasure to use. I recommend highly.

3 of 3

Very good Beginner Dictionary, August 25, 2003 
Reviewer: markf1 (see more about me) from Union City, CA United States  

A very good English/Mandarin Chinese dictionary. I would give it five stars if it was more complete. The dictionary is missing a lot of words.

PROs The best layout I have found for Mandarin/English dictionary Clear Large Type (somewhere around 10 to 12 point font size) Chinese Characters are easy to read

CONs Very basic vocabulary, and is missing a number of important words

0 of 6

Terrible, content is extremely limited., June 22, 2003 
Reviewer: A reader from United States  

I know this is a "starter" dictionary, but I wouldn't recommend it even for beginners. There are very, very few entries. If you are studying the simplified characters, get your self a copy of the "Ying Han Cidian" by Beijing Languages Institue.

13 of 13

Wish I Had It a Year Ago, June 9, 2003 
Reviewer: Cathy Sahu (see more about me) from Southern California  

I've just completed my first two semesters studying Mandarin and they would have been a lot easier if I had had this dictionary from the beginning. Everyone says how easy Mandarin grammar is and that may be true relative to other languages (and relative to learning Chinese characters!), but you still need to learn quite a bit of Mandarin grammar before you can start formulating sentences. I always felt very uncomfortable doing my homework (translation from English to Chinese) because I didn't know whether I was using the grammar properly or not and had no way of checking. I was worried about accidentally getting into bad grammatical habits without even knowing it, because my textbook (Integrated Chinese) has really very little usage information and neither did the dictionaries I had on hand.

Once I got "The Starter Oxford Dictionary," however, homework became so much easier and I no longer feel insecure about sentence formulation. The emphasis in this dictionary is on usage, so instead of having tons and tons of words (which you can get from a regular dictionary), it has a fewer number of words with their usages very clearly explained and illustrated. For example: the entry for the English word "can": "Oxford Starter" divides "can" into three subcategories: "to have the possibility" (translated as neng); "to know how to" (hui); "to be allowed to" (keyi). The "neng" entry then gives two illustrative sentences "Can he come?/Ta neng lia ma?" and "Where can I buy stamps?/Wo zai nar neng maidao youpiao?" The "hui" subcategory has three such illustrative sentences and the "keyi" has four. There are also two warnings on translating "can," one for "hui" and one for "keyi": "Note that when talking about the ability to speak a language, whether or not "can" is used in English, "hui" is required in Chinese" and "Note that to negate, you have to use "bu neng" rather than "bu keyi."

Odds are, if you're studying Chinese, you're a bibiophile, too, so probably you don't need a lot of convincing to buy yet another Chinese dictionary. But in praise of this work I have to say that, if I could have only one book to help me learn elementary Mandarin, this would be it.

(Note: "The Oxford Started Chinese" does use only simplified characters. However, I am learning with traditional and found it wasn't that difficult to figure out what the traditional equivalents were, especially since the entries are organized by pinyin. It would be nice to have a traditional edition but I still wholeheartedly recommend the simplified.)

TWO thumbs up!, June 8, 2003 
Reviewer: A reader from Australia  

I'm in my 2nd year of learning Chinese at university and would have to be one of the 'weaker' students. I originally bought the Concise Chinese Dictionary because it was listed on the text book list. I bought this dictionary a week ago and am LOVING it! I have my exam in a week and I am confident about using this dictionary in it becaues of it's excellent layout. My one gripe is that it is missing the word "discount" and the dicount concept...

Two thumbs up for this dictionary!

3 of 3

Great beginners reference, especially for self-study., May 31, 2003 
Reviewer: ed-word (see more about me) from El Paso, Texas United States  

Don't let the fact that this is a beginner's dictionary lead you to believe that it is wimpy and overly simplstic. You will indeed need several dictionarys anyway if you are going to undertake a study of Chinese; the beginner, especially those who are attempting self-study, can do no better than starting here. If you are a tourist going to China this is the one dictionary you want; its small, cheap, easy to use, and concentrates on commonly used words and expressions.

The dictionary is bi-directional with the Chinese entries arranged alphabeticaly in pinyin romanization accompaied by the simplified Chinese character equivalents that have been used in mainland China for the past 50 years. There are brief sections on grammar, the use of tones in spoken Mandarin, radical and character indices, and lots of explanatory notes regarding usage.

As you continue your study of Chinese you will eventually outgrow this dictionary. Be that as it may there are some tools one uses more than others and the beginning student of Chinese will turn to this starter dictionary more often than whatever else is likely to be present in his or her toolbox.

12 of 12

Highly Recommended!!, November 27, 2002 
 Reviewer: Walter Reade (see more about me) from Appleton, WI United States  

As a "beginning" student of Chinese for a few years now, I have gone through a large number of Chinese language resources. This is one that I would unhesitatingly recommend to anyone.

The dictionary is at the right level for beginning students. The entries are limited to the most commonly used words. This is a major advantage for those who like to learn vocabulary by browsing a dictionary -- you are sure to be learning useful words (as opposed to specialty or infrequently used words). There have been only a few times where I have look for a word that wasn't included in this dictionary. I expect that the casual learner of Chinese will not outgrow this dictionary for at least a year or two.

I found the format of the dictionary extremely uncluttered and user friendly. In addition to the standard word and definition, entries also include very useful notes of clarification. For example, after the character for hui4 ("to be able to") there a note explaining that this character can also be pronounced as kuai4 with a different meaning.

Another resource I have been extremely pleased with and highly recommend is, "Chinese Character Flashcards 888." Good luck in your studies!!

2 of 2

When do we get the extended ?, November 26, 2002 
Reviewer: maotouying (see more about me) from Athens, GA United States  

I only have one hope... that Oxford brings the extended version of its dictionary in the same wonderful format ! I understand this would make the dictionary big and ponderous... I don't care ! This is by far the best format I have ever seen on a Chinese dictionary !

But now with TRADITIONAL characters as well!!, May 26, 2002 
Reviewer: W. R. Kelly from Providence, RI United States  

This is a great little, general-use, beginning dictionary. But beware, for those of us learning traditional chinese characters first, you'll need something more, as this book uses ONLY SIMPLIFIED CHARACTERS--and they don't actually tell you that anywhere. You have to discover it on your own.

I hope they will put out another edition in traditional characters soon. Or else add to the current book both trad. chars. AND simplified ones when the forms vary.

5 of 5

Bogus Review ?, May 2, 2002 
Reviewer: McGeorge from Beijing  

Like the first three reviewers, I rate this dictionary the best BASIC dictionary there is. Mr Bernard Kornowicz's comments are perfect (I also totally endorse his comments about the "miserable Concise Oxford Dictionary", which is supposed to be a companion, more advanced dictionary, but is mediocre). Rated by fitness for purpose, this is the best there is for serious, beginning/intermediate level learners. What a pity that a perfect star rating was spoiled by "Volleyballbrian", with a sloppy review which overlooks the fact that good intermediate dictionaries HAVE to be selective on the number of words. I have the feeling that the "Vbb review" is sabotage from a competitor !

10 of 10

Extremely helpful...long overdue., February 28, 2002 
Reviewer: A reader from PARIS France  

This Dictionary has been so well-conceived that I felt obliged to take the time to compliment the authors on a work well done. This particular edition is a God-send to any English speaker struggling to obtain an intermediate level in Mandarin Chinese. The entries were carefully chosen so as not to weigh the dictionary down with uncommon words. As far as the typeset is concerned...the Chinese characters are printed LARGE and CLEAR so readers don't go blind trying to differentiate characters with several strokes. Chinese will never be easy to learn as it states on the cover, but at least this dictionary gives us a chance!

1 of 6

Decent start book, but better out there, February 21, 2002 
Reviewer: volleyballbrian (see more about me) from Galveston, TX United States  

This is a decent starting book. I enjoyed the small section on the 4 tones of Chinese and basic structure. The lookup section for both english and chinese was very easy to use, but the words included is EXTREMELY limited. If you are serious about learning Chinese, this book is not a good choice, buy a better dictionary such as the Concise english-chinese chinese-english dictionary ..., much better dictionary. If you are looking for something easy to use and read and only look up very common words, this would be OK.

1 of 4

Barely Enough for Even Beginners, December 4, 2001 
Reviewer: A reader from Washington, DC United States  

This is physically a very nicely put together book, with very readable type, attractive layout and design, and sturdy paper. Nevertheless, this is an altogether inadequate dictionary, even for beginners. There simply aren't enough words provided in this book. You are likely to become as frustrated as I was, after purchasing this book, to time and again fail to find definitions for commonplace words from day-to-day conversation. Until Oxford drops the "starter" concept and doubles or triples the listings in this volume, don't waste your time or money. Get an unabridged Chinese dictionary, even if you are a beginner. I wish now that I had.

0 of 3

more starter than dictionary, November 3, 2001 
Reviewer: shazan from Cambridge, MA  

this is a good aid to language study for beginners, but it's not really a dictionary in the normal sense. perhaps 'learner's vocabulary guide' would have been a better title. when reading any but the simplest of texts you will find it insufficient.

2 of 6

Good but I think should include traditonal characters, June 26, 2001 
Reviewer: Eduardo Morales (see more about me) from MIAMI, FLORIDA USA  

It is good but somehow limited in scope, I wish it had also traditional characters. However each entry is colorful and very well explained. It is a must for beginners.

7 of 8

Great dictionary for beginners, April 11, 2001 
Reviewer: Stacie (see more about me) from Kentucky  

In addition to the definitions, it has a section on writing characters, counting/money, a section on measure words, and much more. It gives everything a beginner needs. I would strongly recommend it to anyone just starting Mandarin Chinese,

3 of 3

great choice for learners, April 9, 2001 
Reviewer: A reader from Beverly Hills, CA USA  

I am in the third quarter of a first-year Mandarin class, and about a third of the class has bought this dictionary. I suspect the rest of my classmates will soon follow. It's easy to read and contains extremely useful explanations of usage and grammatical points, making it a wonderful adjunct to our textbook. You will need another more comprehensive dictionary for vocabulary purposes, but I haven't seen a better dictionary for first and second year students. Buy it!

13 of 13

Oxford finally gets it right!, March 11, 2001 
Reviewer: Bernard Kornowicz (see more about me) from Newington, Connecticut USA  

This is the best Chinese/English dictionary I've found so far. It's a beginner's dictionary, but hopefully Oxford University Press will learn from this one and apply the same quality standards to their more extensive, but miserably formatted and somewhat inaccurate "Concise English-Chinese Chinese-English Dictionary". This dictionary is very easy to read. The lookup words are in large, blue print. Multiple definitions are bulleted and numerically categorized by noun, adverb, etc. Word definitions also contain the Chinese characters and examples of usage. There are radical and character indices, rules for writing characters, and a section on measure words. The English to Chinese section also contains the measure words in the definitions, as well as British and U.S. English spellings if there is a difference. There are also many language usage tips throughout the dictionary.