#49 | Using a paper Chinese dictionary (Part 3)

#49 | Using a paper Chinese dictionary (Part 3)


Alright guys, welcome back to this video series
on using a Chinese Chinese dictionary. In this video, I wanted to show you guys some
features of this dictionary that makes it such a wonderful dictionary to get. I’m sorry if it sounds like I’m trying
to promote it – I’m not affiliated with the dictionary in any sense, I just feel that
it’s a wonderful dictionary, I’ve used it before, and I would wholeheartedly recommend
any Chinese learners to get one as well. Let’s take a random page as an example. For example, if you have the word 命 (ming6). They start off, we should start from the top,
we have the 口部 (hau2 bou6), the radical there, and then the words that are on this
page. You’ll see that there are words in red and
words in black. The words in black are, they might be different
versions of the character, and so, this, for example, might not be as commonly used, so
they will list the more commonly used character, but maybe that’s under a different radical,
and they will refer you to that page. Sometimes, you will also see things like,
for example, this. The word 害 (hoi6), you kind of guess which
radical it falls under. Does it fall under the mouth radical, or this
top radical? So you decide to go mouth, there’s really
no way to guess, and apparently it falls under the roof radical. And it redirects you to the right page as
well. That’s at the very top. Going into a specific word, for example. All of the words and sample sentences you’ll
see are actually in the 標準楷體字體 (biu1 zeon2 kaai2 tai2 zi6 tai2), so it’s
in the 楷書 (kai2 syu1) style of calligraphy that we’ve talked about before. It gives you a really good sense in terms
of how to write the character properly. And if you don’t know the stroke order,
that’s okay, it shows you, step-by-step, how to write it. The last step is shown in the bracket, the
enclosure. In here, you’ll see a couple of things. This is the pinyin – the Mandarin pronunciation,
this is 注音 (zyu3 jam1), 注音 (zyu3 jam1) is used in Taiwan. I don’t understand the system, I’ve never
learnt it. This is the 粵語拼音 (jyut6 jyu5 ping3
jam1), or the 廣州話拼音方案 (gwong2 zau1 waa2 ping3 jam1 fong1 on3), this is the
one that’s describe in this appendix here – number 2. It’s similar to Jyutping, but there are
some discrepancies, and you can use this to establish those equivalencies. There’s a tone number there. If you still don’t know how it’s pronounced,
it will tell you by using a similarly pronounced word, but maybe in a different tone. For example, this word here is pronounced
明 (ming4), but it’s pronounced with the sixth tone, so it becomes 命 (ming6). Romanization + tone that makes up pronunciation. Diving into it. It gives you, first of all, the common definition
of this character. For example, 生命 (sang1 ming6), life, 性命
(sing3 ming6), 喪命 (song3 ming6), 性命 (sing3 ming6), life, 喪命 (song3 ming6),
to lose one’s life. Number 2, 人生中生死貧富禍福等遭遇
(jan4 sang1 zung1 sang1 sei2 pan4 fu3 wo6 fuk1 dang2 zou1 jyu6), for example 命運
(ming6 wan6), destiny. That’s another meaning of it. As you can see, defining characters, single
characters, is a lot harder than defining words. It gives you word examples to pinpoint the
specific meaning of that character, or different variations of it. Number 3, 上級對下級的指示 (soeng6
kap1 deoi3 haa6 kap1 dik1 zi2 si6), 委派 (wai2 paai3), 命令 (ming6 ling6), 任命
(jam6 ming6), to assign, to order (from a higher ranked person to a lower ranked person,
maybe from a boss to a subordinate). 給予 (kap1 jyu5),命名 (ming6 ming4),命題作文
(ming6 tai4 zok3 man2). To give. These are the main senses of that character. You can see that they list some of the main
words in here. For example, 命令 (ming6 ling6), they give
you the Mandarin pronunciation. If you don’t know the Cantonese prounciation,
just check each one of these characters separately. This is written for Hong Kong people, so they
already know most of these pronunciations, it’s really the Mandarin that’s helpful. But for foreign learners, I imagine that it’s
not difficult to check each one of these characters up separately as well. They give you some words that includes this
character. Most importantly, they give you sample sentences
or phrases. For example, 命令 (ming6 ling6), 司令員命令部隊原地待命
(si1 ling6 jyun4 ming6 ling6 bou6 deoi2 jyun4 dei6 doi6 ming6). One of the commanders ordered the squad to
stay and await orders. This is very helpful to helping you get where
this is used. They give you some other words that might
not be, perhaps, as common. But they’re still fairly common words, and
they give you these and list them out. That is that. That’s pretty much it, guys. It’s a very comprehensive dictionary, as
you can see, it really takes you through a word in a very detailed way. I almost forgot – at the end of each page,
there are these little phrases that are commonly used in Cantonese, and they’re really good
phrases. For example, 工欲善其事,必先利其器
(gung1 juk6 sin6 kei4 si6 bit1 sin1 lei6 kei4 hei3), it’s equivalent to what people say
in English, if you want to do something well, you should think about sharpening the saw
first. A wonderful dictionary, I hope you guys will
see this is a really good dictionary and consider getting a Chinese dictionary for beginners
to familiarize yourself with characters and Chinese words. That’s it for this video, and we will try
searching up a dictionary next time.

Daniel Ostrander

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