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The Oxford Chinese Minidictionary (Paperback)

The Oxford Chinese Minidictionary (Paperback)
Author/Publisher: Boping Yuan, Sally K. Church
Format: paperback
Emphasis: Dictionary
Level: Beginning - Intermediate - Advanced
Note: Pocket size
List Price: $9.95

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Detailed information
Editorial Reviews
Book Description
This language reference is an instant-access, completely portable dictionary for anyone with a general curiosity of the Chinese language. Whether you studying, working, or just interested in Chinese as it is used today, this is the only book you need for a complete introduction to the
It includes thousands of words, phrases, and translations; thousands of examples drawn from real-life situations; and headwords in simplified Chinese script, as well as in romanization to aid better pronunciation. In addition to a detailed introduction, there is a section on how to use the
dictionary, ideal for any beginner. This volume also includes tones in Mandarin Chinese, an index of Chinese characters, a Chinese-to-English dictionary, and an English-to-Chinese dictionary.
Designed specifically for English speakers learning Chinese, this Minidictionary is the essential resource for all those wishing to better understand the beauty of the language, and the perfect companion for a trip to a Chinese-speaking country.

Product Details
  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (June 28, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 0198603649
  • Product Dimensions: 4.6 x 3.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.3 ounces.
  • Average Customer Review: based on 4 reviews.

Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:

wonderful survival tool, April 16, 2004
Reviewer: A reader
I purchased this dictionary prior to a two-week stay in Taiwan. I used it 10 to 30 times a day in a wide variety of situations - mostly to look up vocabulary words in the English-Chinese section, but also on several occasions to decipher what people were saying to me in the Chinese-English section. The pinyin is clear and the examples were great.

As one of the reviewers above noted, some of the words I looked up were absent, but this only happened a few times and in most cases I was able to find a suitable synonym. I spent over an hour comparing dictionaries in the bookstore, and found this to be true of ALL of the pocket dictionaries I looked at.

On several occastions people I was speaking with were so impressed with my ability to 'unstick' conversations (and look up words alphabetically by pinyin) with this dictionarry that they would invariably ask to take a look at it and spend some time browsing and discussing it themselves.

It is also the only one of the pocket dictionaries which I was able to actually get into my pocket, or hold unobtrusively in one hand while I walked around the city.

The dictionary also includes a simple character/radical lookup chart, which I was actually able to use to look up some written characters I encountered (though this can take several minutes per character).

The dictionary is intentionally non-symmetrical; the Chinese-English side contains words and concepts you are likely to encounter, and the English-Chinese side contains words and concepts you are likely to want to express. For example, whereas the Chinese side has more words to express things like politeness and family relationships, the English side has more words for more Western things like skydiving and mowing the lawn.

This might not be the right dictionary for someone translating a Chinese newspaper, but for a 1st-year Mandarin student trying to survive in Taiwan this dictionary was invaluable.


4 of 7 people found the following review helpful:

A disgrace, or just a serious mistake?, February 24, 2002

Reviewer: Tony Williams (Melbourne, Australia)

BEWARE! This dictionary looks good. It is compact and neatly presented. The English-Chinese section includes some essentials not always found in other dictionaries: (1) it gives Chinese words in Chinese characters and in Pinyin complete with tones; and (2) it distinguishes, in English, between different senses of English words.

But the dictionary is a disgrace, totally unprofessional and nearly useless.

I took a leading article in the Melbourne Age newspaper - the kind of article in straightforward English, without fancy words, that I would give to a mid-level student of English. Its short first paragraph contained the following words, not one of which is in the English-Chinese section of the dictionary: security, endure, terrorism, establish, prompt, territory, constant, covert, action, suggest, seizure, cargo, weapon, numerous, revive, struggle, invasion, negotiate, settlement, image, cling, and detriment. In the same paragraph, common usages not in the dictionary included bound for, and along with. The dictionary does not contain grain, radical, philosophy, biography, motive, lung, darling or despair.

Words that DO appear include: decaffeinated, evacuate, slot machine, beet root, hockey, showjumping, kangaroo, eggcup, hostage, hoover, and coconut.

If looking for words reminds you of children looking for "naughty" words in a dictionary at school, there is no need to bother; this book will not help you to talk about penises, vaginas, urine, nipples or puberty, let alone anything more adventurous.

Many words specifically important in China are missing, at least from the English-Chinese section, including: dynasty, pagoda, province, prefecture, county - even (unbelievably) communist and Marxist.

Even some words in the Chinese-English section fail to appear in the English-Chinese section, including: dynasty, province, county and pagoda.

In these days when computers are obtainable in Djibouti, let alone Great Clarendon Street Oxford, it is difficult to understand how a dictionary could get words out of alphabetical order; but obtain comes before observe.


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:

Oxford Chinese Minidictionary, February 2, 2002

Reviewer: Brad Joyce

I liked this "big-little" dictionary well enough to want a bigger version of it and tried to find it at Amazon.com. I may not have used the correct search technique, because its bigger brother book did not seem to be there for me to buy. The review by Jeffrey Chapman expressed my own feelings and frustations very well. This is a very good dictionary for serious beginners like me that appreciate the integrated blend of Pinyin romanization for the sounds of Mandarin with the real Chinese characters there to be seen and with English words and helpful examples of expressions and sentences.
A "Big-little" book is a special kind of book I remember as a child. And this memory hints at my age. A "big-little" book was made for kids and had print size consistent with book size (and shape); but the "Oxford Chinese Minidictionary" tried to put adult-size content into child-sized volume!


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful:

A handy pocket dictionary, October 18, 2001

Reviewer: Jeffrey Chapman (Louisville, CO United States)

It's actually a bit too thick to fit in most pockets, but this is a useful small dictionary which achieves its goal of meeting the needs of English-speaking learners of Mandarin. It is organized by Pinyin romanization with tone marks and includes a fairly typical set of radical and character indices. The definitions are clear and well-contextualized through multiple examples of contemporary usage. The dictionary includes some of the best material I've seen on measure words in its own chapter.

My only criticism, since this is a pocket dictionary, is that the Chinese type can be rather small, even for someone with normal vision (I haven't studied Chinese quite long enough to ruin my own yet). There must always be a compromise between legibility and comprehensiveness in a dictionary this size, and I must allow that the publisher has made what is probably the best compromise. Still, I recommend the use of magnification.

Overall, I recommend this as a good dictionary for those looking for something small and portable, yet comprehensive enough to be useful.


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