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Pocket Cantonese Dictionary: Cantonese-English English-Cantonese (Periplus Pocket Dictionaries) Paperback – August 15, 2003

ISBN-13: 860-1402361083 ISBN-10: 079460143X Edition: Poc

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Pocket Cantonese Dictionary: Cantonese-English English-Cantonese (Periplus Pocket Dictionaries) + Essential Cantonese Phrase Book (Essential Phrasebook Series) + Chinese (Cantonese), Conversational: Learn to Speak and Understand Cantonese Chinese with Pimsleur Language Programs
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Philip Yungkin Lee, Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He is the author of many language learning titles and has received a Teaching Excellence award from his university.
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Product Details

  • Series: Periplus Pocket Dictionaries
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Periplus Editions (HK) ltd.; Poc edition (August 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 079460143X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0794601430
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #364,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Ash Henson on February 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
I don't think the other reviewers actually read cover of the dictionary. It says, "Contains the 3,000 most useful words for everyday communication". I'm not sure why someone would be surprised by the fact that it has "limited vocabulary". That's actually the point. Direct your attention to the words needed for daily communication before learning how to say things like, "grandiloquent". Basically, if it's in this dictionary, you need to know it. Not to mention, it is a pocket dictionary. Also, it's not a character dictionary. You look things up either by Cantonese pronunciation or English.
As far as Cantonese being a "fading" language, there are 55 million speakers worldwide, in Guangdong province in China, news is broadcast in Cantonese, school up to university level is conducted in Cantonese. Cantonese won't be making its exit from the world language stage anytime soon.
This dictionary does what it claims to do very well, namely giving you simple definitions for the most common 3000 words (not characters, although the characters for each word are given which is a huge plus). In addition, it works great as a list of "must know" vocabulary. Once you finish some beginning course (I highly recommend the two FSI courses by Elizabeth L. Boyle), this is a great way to expand your vocab.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sebastian F. on December 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
As the cover says, this dictionary is for travelers and beginners of Cantonese, so the focus is on daily and useful expressions. The Cantonese-English part is arranged alphabetically using the Yale romanization, so no knowledge of Chinese characters is required. The definitions are short and clear.

The only problem is that the author favors more formal expressions. For example, if a certain verb has a colloquial/slang variant that is used by most Cantonese speakers in daily life and a more formal variant that is used in both spoken Cantonese and written Chinese, the author selects the latter.

Nevertheless, I find this dictionary extremely useful.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Laurie A. McMaster on June 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
I'm in agreement with one of the reviewers below; I'm curious what other two critics were looking for too, because this is meant to be a limited vocabulary reference book. I like that this includes words not common in most of the other dictionaries, and an additional bonus is that it has the Chinese characters, which are legible and clear. This is the one title that consistently comes up in the "recommended texts" at universities and language schools. Thumbs up for me.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James E. Dew on December 1, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent little dictionary, and the $6.95 price is very reasonable. The vocabulary of 3000 words is of course quite limited, but the selection of words and phrases for inclusion seems well done. Use of the popular and easily learned Yale romanization is a positive factor.

There are a few typographical errors. For example, in the C-E section, Ajau 'Asia' is capitalized but au'jau 'Europe' is not; the wrong character is given for kahmmouh 'aunt' in both C-E and E-C sections, and in the E-C section two of the 'aunt' entries don't make sense ("wife of mother's sister").

The introductory note on pronunciation should mention the initial n-/l- confusion and the variation among speakers in use or omission of initial ng-. Listing of entries with these initial sounds is also not uniformly handled. The notes on pronunciation of vowels o and eu work for British English but not for American English, and initial kw- should be explained as "like kw in Kwanza" or "like qu in quick" rather than "like Gwendolyn with a strong puff of air."

If the book were printed on thinner paper and had more flexible covers, it would be much more comfortable to hold and easier to spin the pages back and forth looking for entries.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sonya Hui on September 1, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My cantonese is rusty and having this pocket size book in my bag is handy when I can't remember a word in cantonese. It's great that all the words are in english as well since I am unable to read chinese characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Alix on September 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a good reference if you want to know some common Cantonese words. I suggest you have a knowledge on how to PRONOUNCE the words because the words are sometimes not pronounced how they appear.
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Format: Paperback
I've studied quite a few languages and gone through plenty of books. I have to say that Periplus Pocket dictionaries are the best series of dictionaries I have ever found. If you have ever experienced the frustration of having spent hours memorizing words in a foreign language, only to discover that the words you learned were inaccurate; or if you have ever gotten frustrated trying to find the direct translation for a word, only to have your typical dictionary list off 20 possible words to play 'guess' with -- this is the book for you. Each word has only ONE DIRECT TRANSLATION. Not only that, but this book also reads in English-to-Cantonese AND Cantonese-to-English.

While I would have preferred if they had used zhyutpin, that book is just about perfect. Having just got back from living in Hong Kong and also being a huge fan of iphone language apps, this was the only book I ever brought with me on the regular -- there is just nothing else like it!

I've lived in FOUR countries, and if I had known about Periplus earlier, I can say with certainty that it would have saved me a lot of wasted tame. Furthermore, I probably would have picked up some languages a lot more quickly (...Japanese, I'm looking at you).

I would love it if there was a Periplus Pocket Mongolian dictionary! I'm ordering the Japanese one for myself and the Spanish one for my mom.
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Pocket Cantonese Dictionary: Cantonese-English English-Cantonese (Periplus Pocket Dictionaries)
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