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ABC Chinese-English Comprehensive Dictionary (ABC Chinese Dictionary) (English and Mandarin Chinese Edition) Hardcover – June 8, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0824827663 ISBN-10: 082482766X

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Product Details

  • Series: ABC Chinese Dictionary
  • Hardcover: 1439 pages
  • Publisher: University of Hawaii Press (June 8, 2003)
  • Language: English, Mandarin Chinese
  • ISBN-10: 082482766X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824827663
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.4 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #407,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Excellent.... An outstanding contribution to the field, in many ways better than other comparable dictionaries." -China Review International"

About the Author

John DeFrancis is emeritus professor of Chinese at the University of Hawai'i.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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This is one of over a dozen Chinese-English dictionaries that I own.
Mike Wright
Beside the pinyin listing, you'll find both simplified Chinese characters, and complex characters - complex / traditional characters are in brackets.
Laura De Giorgio
I.e., the big dictionary found in all libraries that sits on top of a dictionary stand.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Kent M. Suarez on June 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A superbly complete and accurate work, worth every penny! Like the earlier and more portable 71,000-entry ABC Chinese-English Dictionary (another great book, reviewed separately), this is ordered strictly by pinyin, so you needn't know the characters in a word you hear in order to look it up. But it improves greatly on the original ABC in many important ways besides its comprehensive content (over 196,000 entries). Most vital is the addition of the traditional characters next to the simplified for compounds as well (the original had them only for main entries).
A second huge improvement is that the characters making up compounds are now listed singly *even if* they only occur in compounds, e.g., hu2 and die2 (butterfly) are now listed among the other hu2 and die2 main entries, but it clearly marks that they are bound forms occurring only in the compound hu2die2 (so you know not to use them alone). Actually, the dictionary goes into even more detail, distinguishing characters which are bound in one meaning like sheng1 as in xue2sheng1 student, but not in another like 'to give birth'.
Third is the invaluable addition of measure words, in several ways. By an entry such as umbrella (whether you look it up as the character san3 or the compound yu3san3), you'll find "M: 1ba3" (superscripted 1, then 3rd tone ba with diacritical). The measure word is thus ba3, and the 1 means it's the first character listed under the ba3 entries, so you can easily find it if you don't know it. There's also an appendix of measure words (4 pages worth, unlike many of the measly lists in some other books), not only nominal (to count nouns) but also verbal (for actions, like tang4 in pao3le yi2tang4, made one trip). Incredibly helpful!
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Stuart-Little on November 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This dictionary is an indispensable dictionary for anyone who has any need for a Chinese-English dictionary. It is organized alphabetically by pinyin. Looking up a compound term is very easy. I know of no other Chinese-English dictionary that has so many compound entries or is so easy to use once the pinyin is known.

Another plus is it adheres to the National Standard of the People's Republic of China for Hanyu Pinyin Orthography. This means if you want to know the correct pinyin for a compound this dictionary is without peer. The rules for separating and joining words; rules for spelling fused phrase expressions are all given and adhered to. When I want to double check I have transliterated a Chinese term, book title or address correctly into pinyin this is the dictionary I use.

In the one year that I have been using this dictionary I have only come across a few twentieth century compounds that not listed in this dictionary. A very nice feature is the entries clearly state when a character is a bound form and can not appear alone (modern usage only).

There is no wasted space in this dictionary, each page is laid out in the traditional three column dictionary format. The characters and compounds are labeled as to parts of speech, whether it is a measure word or compound, what the area of usage is (Taiwan as well as PRC; slang, colloquial, linguistic, medical, legal, scientific, etc.) and whether it is chiefly in written material versus ordinary speech. Both simple and complex forms of the character are given.

The appendices contain conversion tables for Pinyin, Wade-Giles, Guoyeu Romatzyh, Yale and Zhuyin Fuhao; character look up tables by stroke count (sub-indexed by stroke type) and by radical index.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By James Lane on August 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
One can see from the credits page towards the start that quite a team went into putting this dictionary together. Other than the editor John DeFrancis himself, there are five associate editors, four editorial associates, two computer associates and twelve proofreading associates (two of whom double as associate editors). This spread of "eyes" is important with dictionary compilation as the fewer people working on the text, the more nuanced the definitions and selection of words.

I like the inclusion of the Kangxi and Comprehensive Radical Charts at the "back end paper verso" (back cover) of the dictionary. The front covers are blank, which could have been used in a similar way, perhaps for a summary of stroke-order rules.

Speaking of stroke-order rules, I have rarely, if ever, seen a satisfactory treatment of this in any Chinese text, let alone dictionary. Unfortunately this includes the volume at hand. The best method that I have seen is employed for the use of Japanese lexicography, in Hadamitzky and Spahn's Kanji & Kana (Tuttle - 0-8048-2077-5).

On the whole, however, the appendices included at the back are comprehensive, necessary and easy to follow.

The inclusion of words with Roman lettering (such as "a Q jingshen - attitude that treats defeats as personal moral victories" p9) shows the trend towards the use of English words and letters interspersed in Mandarin in modern China.

The "er" retroflexive suffix is a handy inclusion - at each relevant entry - for anyone wanting to travel to Beijing or the surrounding area. The same word can have this suffix appended or not, depending on the intended meaning.
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