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East Asia Library Guides: China

Chinese Studies Resources: Dictionaries [Back to Table of Contents]

This page lists 1. comprehensive dictionaries, 2. dictionaries of modern Chinese, 3. bilingual dictionaries of modern Chinese, 4. dictionaries of classical Chinese, and 5. bilingual dictionaries of classical Chinese. The categories used here are adapted from Chinese History: A Manual (Wilkinson, 2000). Most of the categories are self-explanatory, but "comprehensive dictionaries" refer to the large-scale dictionaries that cover both modern and classical Chinese.

1. Comprehensive Dictionaries

Han yu da ci dian (汉语大词典)
Call# PL1420 .H3495 2001 East Asia Library Reference
Providing definitions and explanations for 370,000 Chinese words. Arranged under 23,000 head characters in the order of classifiers.It has quotations from many historical sources and is good for studying the changing meanings of Chinese words. Vol. 13 contains indexes in pinyin and stroke-counts. A multi-purpose index was published in a separate volume: Duo gong neng han yu da ci dian suo yin (多功能汉语大词典索引) Call# PL1420 H34952 T65 1997 East Asia Library Reference.

Dai Kan-Wa jiten (大漢和辭典)
PL681 C5 M675 1984+ East Asia Library Reference
Compiled by Morohashi Tetsuji. Similar to the above title in terms of scale. Also has large amount of quotations from classical Chinese. Entries are arranged according to the classifier of the head character and the Japanese pronunciation of the second character. Well indexed.

2. Dictionaries of Modern Chinese

Xiandai han yu ci dian (现代汉语词典)
Call# PL1420 .H7785 2002 East Asia Library Reference
A medium-sized word dictionary.

Ci hai (辞海)
Call# PL1420 .T8622 2002+ East Asia Library Reference
A comprehensive word dictionary; can also be used as a compact encyclopedia.

3. Bilingual Dictionaries of Modern Chinese

Han ying shuang jie xin hua zi dian (Xinhua Dictionary with English Translation)
Call# PL1420 H344 2000 East Asia Library Reference
A small bilingual dictionary; good for language learners.

ABC Chinese-English Dictionary
Call# PL1455 A24X 1996 East Asia Library Reference (also available in Starr Main Reference Room)
Medium-sized and up to date.

Grand dictionnaire Ricci de la langue chinoise
Call# PL1459.F8 I57 2001+ East Asia Library Reference
A comprehensive Chinese-French dictionary.

Chinese-English dictionary of modern usage (Lin, Yutang, 1972)
Call# PL1455 L54, East Asia Library Reference.
Online version available; need traditional Chinese support in the web browser to view correctly.

Far East English-Chinese Dictionary (遠東英漢大辭典)
PL1455 L638 1984 East Asia Library Reference
A major English-Chinese dictionary; slightly outdated.

4. Dictionaries of Classical Chinese

Wang Li gu han yu ci dian (王力古汉语字典)
Call# PL1485 .W36X 2000 East Asia Library Reference
A necessary companion for reading classical Chinese.

Gu dai Han yu ci dian (古代汉语词典)
Call# PL1071 .G8 1998 East Asia Library Reference
A medium-sized dictionary of classical Chinese.

Han yu da zi dian (汉语大字典)
Call# PL1420 .H36 1986 East Asia Library Reference
Call# PL1420 Y821 1991 (in traditional Chinese) East Asia Library Reference
A large character dictionary.

Ci yuan (辞源)
Call# PL1420 T9 1998 East Asia Library Reference
A large dictionary specializing in etymology.

Shintei Jito (新訂字統)
PL281.S482 2004 East Asia Library Reference
By Shirakawa Shizuka. An etymology dictionary of Chinese characters.

Some dictionaries compiled in ancient times may still be useful, such as Kangxi zi dian (康熙字典 Call# PL1420 K3 1985 East Asia Library Reference), Shuo wen jie zi (说文解字), and Er ya (尔雅).

5. Bilingual Dictionaries of Classical Chinese

Mathew's Chinese-English Dictionary
Call# PL1455 M37 1976 East Asia Library Reference
(Also available in CCL Reference and Starr Main Reference Room)
Outdated, but useful for learning classical Chinese. Arranged in the syllabic order of Wade-Giles system.

Bilingual dictionaries specializing in a particular period of the classical Chinese are also available. Grammata Serica Recensa is Karlgren's reconstruction of Old Chinese (both Fang-kuei Li and W. H. Baxter have proposed alternative reconstructions). For Chinese in later periods, E.G. Pulleyblank provided a reconstruction in Lexicon of Reconstructed Pronunciation in Early Middle Chinese, Late Middle Chinese and Early Mandarin (PL1209 P85X 1991, SML Stacks).