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Chinese-English Frequency Dictionary: A Study Guide to Mandarin Chinese's 500 Most Frequently Used Words

Chinese-English Frequency Dictionary: A Study Guide to Mandarin Chinese's 500 Most Frequently Used Words
Author/Publisher: Yong Ho
Format: paperback
Emphasis: Dictionary
List Price: $18.95

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Detailed information

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Hippocrene Books (October 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 0781808421
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.3 ounces.
  • Average Customer Review: based on 8 reviews.

Spotlight Reviews


43 of 44 people found the following review helpful:

Excellent for spare-time review, June 6, 2002
Reviewer: A reader
I concur with the previous reviewers on the overall quality of the book. The examples are nicely chosen, and while the English equivalents could occasionally stand some improvement, that's just a minor quibble. It's always useful to have a wordlist ordered by frequency of usage -- surely the most efficient general review strategy. For those of us in the over-50 set the type size is definitely on the small side, but the print quality is clear nevertheless. A magnifier or right-up-to-the-nose viewing both work well; again a quibble.

The formatting facilitates concentrating on the Chinese, too: just highlight the character text on your first pass, then ignore all the other stuff on subsequent passes. Accuracy is good, with silly errors seemingly scarce (incorrect tone mark here and there in the examples, or an occasional word lapse [e.g., the pinyin for 'xiabian de shu' is given as 'shangbian de shu' on p. 24]).

Having spent about 800 one-on-one hours with a tutor over the past year, I've lately realized that in the heat of stimulating day-to-day discussions, new and reviewed vocabulary have taken somewhat of a back seat. Yong Ho's book has provided a very easy and profitable way to pass commuting time (but only if you're a rider, not a driver!).

I'm familiar with many of the student dictionaries available nowadays: favorites, for various reasons, are the Cheng & Tsui Pinyin Learner's Dictionary (ISBN 0887273165) and the newest Century Edition of the New English-Chinese Dictionary (ISBN 7532725421), along with Wenlin for the Macintosh (incorporating the DeFrancis ABC Dictionary). But for quick and painless spare-time review, this one has the right size, shape, content, and price.

Several years ago I swore off any product produced by Hippocrene Books, having wasted good money on some perfectly useless introductory material (in a language other than Chinese). This book has certainly raised them a notch in my eyes.


37 of 37 people found the following review helpful:

The title is misleading but this is a useful book, February 19, 2002
Reviewer: A reader
This is actually a dictionary of the 500 most common Chinese characters ("hanzi"), not words(it has several words listed under each character). However, it is not a true character dictionary either since it does not show how to write characters and you can only look up the character by frequency or by the pronounciation, which a student often won't know. In a true character dictionary you can look up the character by stroke count, radical or pronounciation.

However, while the lookup methods could be improved, the definitions are outstanding. Unlike a character dictionary (like the excellent "Reading and Writing Chinese" published by Tuttle), which provides a basic meaning or two along with a few examples of words that use the character, this book provides all meanings of the character along with many examples. Most helpful of all is the explanation of characters which are related to the grammar structure. For example, the aspect particle "le", the "to be" verb "shi", and the "at" and current tense aspect marker "zai" each have about a page and a half explanation along with example words and sentences.

It should be noted that only simplified characters are used in this book (simplified characters are used in mainland China while complex or traditional characters are used in Taiwan and Hong Kong). Also, all example words and sentences are shown both in characters and in pinyin (the romanization system used for pronounciation).

I found this book to be a good complement to both a standard character dictionary and a regular dictionary. I would rate it a 5 if it contained 1) a more complete lookup system (stroke count, radical, etc) 2) writing information for each character and 3) complex characters as well, at least in the entry listing if not in all of the examples.


Customer Reviews

Great study book, February 24, 2006
Reviewer: Walter Schreiner "The focus man" (Katonah, NY USA)

This is a great book for studying Chinese, however, it is helpful to have some limited vocabulary before beginning to use it. Once you know how to pronounce words based on their pinyin spelling and tones, and you know a couple hundred words, then this book is great for building vocabulary and learning grammar through context usage examples. And, of course, it focuses on the words you will most likely encounter, so what you learn will be quite practical. I really like this book and study it for the examples.


1 of 3 people found the following review helpful:

Outstanding for beginers, October 21, 2005

Reviewer: dr kurt siegenthaler (Enfield, CT USA)

This Dicionary is by its own an interesting book for all those who like to start understanding the wonderful Chinese Language and writing - good and challenging reading even for the dabbler. For those who want to really learn - the book is a must.


1 of 3 people found the following review helpful:

Interesting and helpful but..., August 15, 2005

Reviewer: Nancy "Canada Ma"

Very thorough analysis of the 500 words, and will be a helpful as I try to learn Mandarin on my own. But it would be easier for me as a beginning learner of the language if there were an additional index, giving the English translations of the 500 words.


7 of 9 people found the following review helpful:

JUST BUY IT, January 20, 2005

Reviewer: Joelle Hivonnet (BELGIUM)

If you are serious about learning Chinese, even as a beginner, you need this book written by a serious and brilliant academic. The presentation is extremely clear and the grammatical basis is immaculate. Ultimately, this book will help you revise root words you have just learnt and learn new ones based on root words. It will also give you usage examples in Chinese and pinyin. So, why wait ? Go ahead and get it... NOW !!!


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