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REVIEWS Hàn Ying Cídian [A Chinese-English Dictionary]. Beijing: Beijing Institute of Foreign Languages, 1978. Pp. 976. In April 1980, I visited China with the CETA delegation of linguists and computer scientists. Besides seeing China first hand, the high point of the trip for me was a morning spent at the Beijing Foreign Languages Institute with the editing group of the Chinese-English Dictionary (CED).1 Although Professor Wu Jingrong, the editor-in-chief of the CED, was unable to attend the meeting due to an illness, we received a comprehensive briefing on the dictionary and other dictionary projects at the Institute by six members of his staff. My remarks on the Chinese-Englbh Dictionary will be divided into two sections. First, I will describe the nature of its compilation and format and then discuss its contents. The CED is the first major Chinese-English dictionary from China since Liberation. It is closely akin to the Xiandi Hanyü Cídian and the Hàn É Cídian? two other(important dictionaries recently published in China. Under the direction of Professor Wu, a group of sixty language specialists in the English Department at the Beijing Foreign Languages Institute began compiling the CED in 1971. It was published in China at the end of 1978 and was immediately sold out. Fortunately, a second printing is now available from Hong Kong and Japan. The CED was compiled as a research tool for junior translators at the Institute. In the opinion of Professor Wu's dictionary group, all contemporary Chinese-English dictionaries were outdated and a new dictionary was needed. Toward this end a special effort was made to record modern Chinese language and collect political, scientific, and colloquial terms in general use. Archaic, rare and obsolete terms are included, but only those one might encounter in reading modern literature. Work on the dictionary was divided among three groups. One surveyed the Xiàndài Hanyü Cihâi, CiMi Cíyuán, Gúoyu Cídian, and the Xinhua Zidïan for entries of a general nature. A second group collected scientific and technical terms. After provisional definitions were written, the drafts were sent to the appropriate agencies of the Academy of Social Sciences for review. On occasion , the editors visited work sites, factories and communes to obtain information and criticism regarding technical terminology. The third group gathered terms from the social sciences by reading primary sources such as newspapers, magazines, and contemporary books. In all, the dictionary contains more than 6,000 single characters and 57,000 combinations. The dictionary is arranged by pïnyïn and tone according to standards established by the Xinhua Zidïan. Within each pïnyïn section, single characters are listed by total strokes. If a character has alternate pronunciations, they are treated as individual entries and listed separately under the appropriate pïnyïn heading. All characters are given in their simplified form only. Each lead character is clearly defined, with examples given in which the lead character takes a different syntactic function. The specific illustrations of usage are designed to help the user get a better feel for the broad meaning and nuances of 159 160Thomas Creamer a character. The format of a single character listing could have been improved, however, if discrete meanings were grouped in separate listings as is the case with the Xtandài Hànyû Cídian and the Hàn E Cídian. By listing all the meanings in one paragraph, distinctions of related meanings are sometimes lost. Character combinations are listed under each lead character in pïnyïn order. Where applicable, each entry is identified by discipline. As with the lead characters, the definitions of character combinations are supplemented by illustrative examples. This approach may be contrasted with that of other recent Chinese-English dictionaries from China such as the Hàn Yïng Xiao Cídian* and the Xtuzhen Hànyïng Cídian5. These dictionaries indicate usage by labeling entries as to parts of speech such as noun, verb, adjective, etc. The editors of the CED felt that contextual examples would be more in keeping with the nature of the Chinese language. The dictionary is...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 159-162
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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