ABC Chinese-English Dictionary: Alphabetically Based Computerized (ABC Chinese Dictionary Ser)
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(10 customer reviews)
- Amazon Sales Rank: #388915 in Books
- Published on: 2000-01
- Original language: English
- Number of items: 1
- Dimensions: 9.49" h x 1.42" w x 6.73" l, 2.25 pounds
- Binding: Hardcover
- 920 pages
Text: Chinese, English
Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful.
Best in its league, but not perfect
By Kent M. Suarez
(re: orig. paperback ed.) When you hear Chinese, this is THE ideal book to find the term you heard, by looking up the pinyin alphabetically. It is reasonably complete, but is missing some common terms and contains some obscure words. Overall, it is extremely useful, carefully compiled and proofread, and a good value. It balances completeness and conciseness quite well, so it's a great paperback to carry around, if a tad heavy; the superbly improved and more complete desk reference version (ABC Comprehensive CED, reviewed separately) is highly recommended for your study desk.
A big bonus is that all terms with the same or similar pronunciation are grouped together, so you can compare them and make a more informed guess as to what you probably heard. The most common term is often marked with an asterisk -- very helpful! The pinyin lookup is not as useful when reading unknown characters, although radical indices *are* included, so, contrary to another review, you *can* look up characters when you don't know the pronunciation. (And compared to some other books like Harbaugh's Chinese Characters: A genealogy and dictionary, the definitions are much more complete and professional.) But when reading characters I know how to pronounce, I find this ABC is the fastest way to find definitions of compounds, so my three copies are well worn.
The compound entries are in simplified char. only. Single character entries (which DO exist, contrary to an earlier review) are in both forms, which suffices for users of traditional characters most of the time; but unfortunately, these do not always include some characters which occur only as part of one or more particular compounds, such as the liao2 in zhi4liao2, to cure or treat (#=tone; don't worry, the ABC has proper tone marks). As a result, there is no way to find out whether this liao has different simplified and traditional forms, or what the latter form is. This has been remedied in the Comprehensive version.
Equally egregious is the failure to properly distinguish between the different traditional forms which share one simplified character; for example the li4 in li4shi3, history and nong2li4, lunar calendar are dealt with jointly as one simplified character, and the same traditional form is shown for both, which is incorrect. Instead, these should be listed as two different char. with the same simplif. form; thus, it fails to show the proper way to write nong2li4 in Taiwan. Again, the Comprehensive rectifies this.
There are some usage examples, albeit not extensive, and in pinyin only. The addition of more examples, more usage notes, and syllabic separation where needed (e.g., is zhengan zheng'an or zhen'gan?) would all be welcome in future editions. There is some slang and many colloquialisms, but not enough of either. Again, the Comprehensive rectifies this.
To some extent, differences in usage between the PRC (e.g., chu1zu1 qi4che1 for taxi) and Taiwan (ji4cheng2che1) are noted, which is greatly welcomed, but there are many more differences which have not been noted, including pronunciation differences, like the PRC's la1ji1 (trash) vs. Taiwan's more colloquial le4se4), or tonal differences, such as the 2nd tone in Taiwan for qi1, period of time. (Yes, the Comprehensive fixes this.) Still, overall, a great book. If you only have 4 Chinese-related dictionaries, this should doubtless be one of them if you'll carry it to class; if it will stay on your desk, invest in the Comprehensive version instead; it's absolutely worth the price!
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful.
Best will only get better
By Frank Karabotsos
When you hear a Chinese speaker use a word and you want to look it up fast, this is the best dictionary for the job. I have both editions of the Oxford, but looking up words in ABC saves me time since it's strictly alphabetical. I recommend the pocket edition which you can take anywhere. It has the same entries as the desk size exactly, just reduced in size. Of course, it would be more useful if it also had an English-Chinese section. The publishers have announced that they have several other dictionaries based on this one in preparation: ABC Chinese-English English-Chinese Dictionary in both pocket and reference editions, ABC Comprehensive Chinese-English Dictionary in pocket and reference editions, Chinese Proverbs, Chinese Etymology, and others.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful.
Best at what it does
By A Customer
This is the best Chinese-English dictionary I've ever seen. The ABC format is an important innovation, much better suited to the student of Chinese as a foreign language. But why is there no English-Chinese section? Almost nobody makes dictionaries like that for Chinese. If you are one of those people who are the only ones that publishers of Chinese language books consider when designing their books who want only a Chinese-English dictionary without an English-Chinese section then you will not be disappointed. One other thing, it only lists characters by themself when they are used by themselves, thus if you look up a monosyllabic word you can be sure that it can be used by itself.