English Chinese Dictionary
Lexiconer.com Web
E-C Dictionary C-E Dictionary Language bookstore home Language Video Store TOEFL/GRE/GMAT Vocabulary

ABC Chinese-English Comprehensive Dictionary: Alphabetically Based Computerized (ABC Chinese Dictionary Series) (Hardcover)

ABC Chinese-English Comprehensive Dictionary: Alphabetically Based Computerized (ABC Chinese Dictionary Series) (Hardcover)
Author/Publisher: John Defrancis (Editor)
Format: hardcover
Emphasis: Dictionary
Level: Beginning - Intermediate - Advanced
Note: Pinyin, Simplified Chinese & Traditional Chinese
List Price: $59

Buy from Amazon

Detailed information
Editorial Reviews
Book Description
This dictionary is an expansion of the ground-breaking ABC Chinese-English Dictionary, the first strictly alphabetically ordered and Pinyin computerized dictionary. It contains over 196,000 entries, compared to the 71,486 entries of the earlier work, making it the most comprehensive one-volume dictionary of Chinese.

The single-sort alphabetic order of the entries provides by far the simplest and fastest way to look up a term whose pronunciation is known. Radical charts help locate characters when the pronunciation of a term is not known and facilitate access to traditional, simplified, and variant forms of characters. Other distinctive features of this dictionary include: information on whether a character is free form, sometimes bound, or always bound; traditional character equivalents for preceding simplified characters for each entry where appropriate; measure words for particular nouns; data from both the PRC and Taiwan indicating the relative frequency of entries that are complete or partial homographs; unique one-to-one correspondence between transcription and characters that permits calling up on a computer the characters of any entry by simply typing the corresponding transcription.

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

Product Details
  • Hardcover: 1439 pages
  • Publisher: University of Hawaii Press; Bilingual edition (April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 082482766X
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.4 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds.
  • Average Customer Review: based on 7 reviews.

Spotlight Reviews

47 of 48 people found the following review helpful:

Best pinyin CED on the market. Peerless., June 8, 2003

Reviewer: Kent M. Suarez (Taipei, Taiwan)

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!
Fourth, the top quality binding (library-style, cloth) will last a lifetime, and is worth every penny. Fifth, yes, its comprehensive content, over 196,000 entries, meaning it will definitely still be useful to you when your Chinese reaches an advanced, even fluent level, and they've been able to add much more slang and colloquial words, as well as more Taiwan vs. PRC usage.
Finally, (and this is important) the compilers have been phenomenally careful and professional, truly meticulous and accurate, unlike sloppy, error-laden works like UMUM's Learner's CED or Harbaugh's Chinese Characters: A Genealogy and Dictionary. They have also been very responsive to reader input, as is evidenced by the many improvements to this edition. Absolutely one of the best Chinese-English dictionaries in existence, and a definite must-buy!


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:

Indespensible, easy to use and comprehensive., November 6, 2005

Reviewer: Stuart-Little

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. Also a table of standard and variant character forms is given.

The typeface is modern, easy to read and is slightly larger than the type in my Webster's Third New International Dictionary. (I.e., the big dictionary found in all libraries that sits on top of a dictionary stand.)

I own at least a half dozen Chinese-English dictionaries (including some very specialized ones) and two Chinese-Chinese dictionaries and this dictionary is the one that I use the most. A huge improvement over older (but modern) Chinese-English dictionaries.


Customer Reviews

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful:

Good dictionary but..., October 6, 2005

Reviewer: Alex M (Italy)

I'm very happy about the sheer number of entries, I don't think there are many others like this one. The problem is (and for me it is a main issue) that you cannot roam the entries by characters. That's a big drawback, so unless you know the pyinin it will take ages to find what you're looking for. So I am now returning this dictionary and still looking for another one, where once you found the radical, you can find the word by character first.


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:

Great Dictionary, though not best solution for classroom, September 8, 2005

Reviewer: Michael H. Burkhardt (Columbus, OH USA)

I bought this dictionary based on the rave reviews here. I was not disappointed. My biggest problem with other dictionaries has been that I invariably come across a word that isn't in the dictionary. I haven't looked something up in this one yet that I haven't found. The drawbacks mentioned in other reviews apply (can't roam the entries by character, and you have to know what you're looking for) but they aren't show stoppers. I find that for organized study this is an excellent dictionary to keep on the shelf.

As for classroom use, I've used Oxford and Langenscheidt because they're smaller and easier to carry to class. But they routinely dissapoint because they just don't have enough entries. A better solution is PlecoDict [...] a Palm-based dictionary that includes the entire contents of the ABC dictionary as well as one other C-E dictionary and two E-C dictionaries! All this for $120 and it fits in your pocket!

Bottom line is that this is an outstanding dictionary (a must-have) but the print format has drawbacks, thus the 4-star rating.


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:

An essential dictionary, August 31, 2005

Reviewer: Mr. James R. Forsyth (Melbourne, VIC Australia)

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. Thus, it is of great benefit to be able to check at a glance whether it is included in each individual entry, without having to memorise the rule/s concerned. A cheap handbook (shou ce) on the "er" suffix, called "hanyu erhuaci xuexi shouce / Chinese-er suffixed words without tears" is available, published by Beijing University.

It would have been good if measure words were included in the entries as well. But this may have overly complicated the process, as a word can have more than one measure word depending on the context in which it is used. On page 1360 and onwards, however, there is a very useful appendix listing many measure words and their respective usages.

Whenever a character has been simplified, the traditional character is shown in square brackets. This is essential for anyone interested in the etymology of a character. Also, if you have spent time in Hong Kong or Shen Zhen, or have studied Chinese before using fantizi (traditional characters) you will appreciate being able to move from the familiar to the more challenging.

This dictionary has an electronic counterpart, namely Wenlin. Wenlin is top-of-the-range Chinese dictionary software, with many added benefits over using the book alone. This includes a flashcards function, a drawing box for character look-up, and spoken pronunciation of a high quality; not to mention the ability to upgrade from Wenlin's website.

If you are thinking of buying both the ABC dictionary and Wenlin, I would err on the side of "lexical diversity" by choosing Wenlin and, possibly, Oxford's 3rd edition English-Chinese/Chinese-English dictionary, the one with the red cover (0-19-596457-8). The benefits of this, are twofold. First, you would have an English-Chinese dictionary (which ABC has not and Wenlin's is limited). Second, the Oxford dictionary is smaller, and much more portable, than ABC (but the 1999 edition of ABC is available in a smaller size).

Although the text size is quite small, the print quality is of such a standard that the components and shape of complicated characters (i.e. jiantizi - simplified - but still complicated) can still be discerned.

Perhaps most importantly, with this dictionary most of all, please read the Introduction and Reader's Guide at the front of this dictionary as soon as possible. It contains information on the arrangement of words, orthography, parts of speech and many other indispensable tools.

In short, highly recommended, 5 stars without a moment's hesitation.


12 of 14 people found the following review helpful:

Awesome Dictionary, October 27, 2004

Reviewer: Laura De Giorgio "www.deeptrancenow.com" (Canada)

I have this dictionary both in the book format and as a software (Wenlin electronic dictionary is based on this one).

I have found this dictionary particularly useful because the words are arranged in alphabetically order using pinyin - when I was going initially through Rosetta Stone's program for learning Chinese.

Dictionary contains over 196,000 entries - well, if you're serious about learning Chinese, you may as well get a comprehensive dictionary to begin with. It will be useful for a long time.

Beside the pinyin listing, you'll find both simplified Chinese characters, and complex characters - complex / traditional characters are in brackets. Parts of speech and abbreviations related to the area where the word may be encountered (e.g. medicine, photography, etc) are also marked beside characters.

I'm so much in love with the Wenlin program, that I have to add a few words about the electronic version of this dictionary. One advantage of Wenlin is that you can hear the words, phrases and entire sentences pronounced. You can also enter text in pinyin, in Chinese characters, or in English. It is very useful when you desire to translate the information you found on the Internet because you can just copy and paste the Chinese text, and while this program is not considered to be a translator - it will help you a great deal in that respect, too.

Other than that it will give you an assortment of lists related to the character or word - according to the frequency, stroke count, radicals and much more. It's totally awesome!


Where to buy

Buy from this selected seller

Copyright © 2000-2008 Lexiconer.Com or its partners.

Site Map  Language Bookstore   Language Video  Update History (About Us)   Contact Us   Testimonials   Privacy Policy