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Sources: Chinese-Foreign Language Dictionaries

May 6, 2010

Liang, Shiqiu, and Fangjie Zhang. Yuandong Han Ying da zidian. 遠東漢英大字典 = Far East Chinese-English Dictionary. Taibei shi: Yuandong tushu gongsi, 1997.

A very handy dictionary with pinyin and Wade-Giles index in addition to the character index. Apparently there are both Taiwan and PRC editions.

Mathews, R. H., and China Inland Mission. Mathew’s Chinese-English dictionary = Maishi Han Ying da zidian. Rev. American ed. Cambridge, Mass.,: Harvard University Press, 1961.

Despite its irregular organization and romanization (including unreliable Southern-influenced pronunciations for some characters), this is a very useful dictionary for early twentieth-century usage. It contains extensive compound listings for individual characters, although readers should be aware that some of these compound definitions are limited in their scope, and many reflect the intended missionary audience of this work.

Chou, Ts’e-tsung, and R. H. Mathews. A new index to Mathew’s Chinese-English dictionary, based on the “Chung” system for arranging Chinese characters. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin, 1972.

Morohashi, Tetsuji, and Tôyô Gakujutsu Kenkyûjo. Dai Kan-Wa jiten. 大漢和辭典. Shûtei dai 2-han. ed. Tôkyô: Taishûkan Shoten, 1989.

This dictionary is perhaps the most comprehensive of its type in terms of the sources culled for its compilation. It contains close to 48,902 characters, most with many compounds listed. It has been lauded for its documentation of sources and encyclopedic coverage (Wilkinson, 9). Close to definitive when you are seeking the classical allusions and historical usage for a character or compound.

Nash, Vernon, and Herbert Allen Giles. Trindex: an index to three dictionaries: Giles’ Chinese-English dictionary, K’ang Hsi tzu tien, P’ei wen yun fu. Taipei: Ch’eng-Wen Pub. Co., 1967.

Lists the 13,848 characters of Giles’ dictionary, arranged in numerical sequence according to the Kuei hsieh system of converting characters into numerals devised by the editors of the Harvard-Yenching Institute Sinological index series.

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