Chinese-English Dictionary of the 500 Most Frequently Used Words: A Study Guide to Mandarin Chinese (English and Mandarin Chinese Edition)
(17 customer reviews)
This instructive reference to the 500 most frequently used words in the Chinese language provides meaning and grammatical explanations of usage. The text functions as both a traditional dictionary and a teaching guide to the world's most widely spoken language. Each entry is presented in both Chinese characters and roman letters, with pinyin transcription. A basic introduction and a pronunciation guide to the Chinese language are also included.
- Amazon Sales Rank: #751631 in Books
- Published on: 2001-10
- Original language: English
- Number of items: 1
- Dimensions: 8.50" h x .75" w x 5.47" l, .78 pounds
- Binding: Paperback
- 244 pages
Most helpful customer reviews
66 of 66 people found the following review helpful.
The title is misleading but this is a useful book
By A Customer
This is actually a dictionary of the 500 most common Chinese characters ("hanzi"), not words(it has several words listed under each character). However, it is not a true character dictionary either since it does not show how to write characters and you can only look up the character by frequency or by the pronounciation, which a student often won't know. In a true character dictionary you can look up the character by stroke count, radical or pronounciation.
However, while the lookup methods could be improved, the definitions are outstanding. Unlike a character dictionary (like the excellent "Reading and Writing Chinese" published by Tuttle), which provides a basic meaning or two along with a few examples of words that use the character, this book provides all meanings of the character along with many examples. Most helpful of all is the explanation of characters which are related to the grammar structure. For example, the aspect particle "le", the "to be" verb "shi", and the "at" and current tense aspect marker "zai" each have about a page and a half explanation along with example words and sentences.
It should be noted that only simplified characters are used in this book (simplified characters are used in mainland China while complex or traditional characters are used in Taiwan and Hong Kong). Also, all example words and sentences are shown both in characters and in pinyin (the romanization system used for pronounciation).
I found this book to be a good complement to both a standard character dictionary and a regular dictionary. I would rate it a 5 if it contained 1) a more complete lookup system (stroke count, radical, etc) 2) writing information for each character and 3) complex characters as well, at least in the entry listing if not in all of the examples.
72 of 74 people found the following review helpful.
Excellent for spare-time review
By A Customer
I concur with the previous reviewers on the overall quality of the book. The examples are nicely chosen, and while the English equivalents could occasionally stand some improvement, that's just a minor quibble. It's always useful to have a wordlist ordered by frequency of usage -- surely the most efficient general review strategy. For those of us in the over-50 set the type size is definitely on the small side, but the print quality is clear nevertheless. A magnifier or right-up-to-the-nose viewing both work well; again a quibble.
The formatting facilitates concentrating on the Chinese, too: just highlight the character text on your first pass, then ignore all the other stuff on subsequent passes. Accuracy is good, with silly errors seemingly scarce (incorrect tone mark here and there in the examples, or an occasional word lapse [e.g., the pinyin for 'xiabian de shu' is given as 'shangbian de shu' on p. 24]).
Having spent about 800 one-on-one hours with a tutor over the past year, I've lately realized that in the heat of stimulating day-to-day discussions, new and reviewed vocabulary have taken somewhat of a back seat. Yong Ho's book has provided a very easy and profitable way to pass commuting time (but only if you're a rider, not a driver!).
I'm familiar with many of the student dictionaries available nowadays: favorites, for various reasons, are the Cheng & Tsui Pinyin Learner's Dictionary (ISBN 0887273165) and the newest Century Edition of the New English-Chinese Dictionary (ISBN 7532725421), along with Wenlin for the Macintosh (incorporating the DeFrancis ABC Dictionary). But for quick and painless spare-time review, this one has the right size, shape, content, and price.
Several years ago I swore off any product produced by Hippocrene Books, having wasted good money on some perfectly useless introductory material (in a language other than Chinese). This book has certainly raised them a notch in my eyes.
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful.
This book always travels with me
By F. Herman
If I had to choose a single book for learning/reviewing Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua) this is the one. I have been learning Mandarin for about 2 years now and purchased many other Chinese learning texts and this book is the best. One of my favorite features is to open up the book at a random character and see if I can understand the sample sentences without looking at the accompanying Pinyin. If I miss a character, I find the corresponding Pinyin and look it up in the alphabetical index. Of course there are characters used in the sample sentences that are not in the top 500 and I have other dictionaries for this purpose (this book only deals systematically with 500 most common characters from most common to least). As other reviewers have mentioned the detailed grammatical explanations of many characters (e.g. de/le/shi/guo) are invaluable for general understanding.