Better Chinese Dictionary is for use by elementary and secondary students in their study of Chinese as a second or foreign language. Definitions as well as sample phrases and sentences are given for a total of 690 Chinese characters that are most commonly encountered in everyday communications. This collection of characters covers three series of textbooks, namely, My First Chinese Words, My First Chinese Reader, and Discovering Chinese. The characters included in this dictionary also matches the list of high-frequency characters contained in the official tests of HSK I.
Six categories of information are provided:
For characters with multiple pronunciations, the most frequently used sounds are presented.
- English Definition
Meaning and usage are described in English for each character.
The strokes and the radical of a character help in the understanding of how the character is put together.
- Stroke Order
Stroke sequence of each character is illustrated to show how the character is correctly written.
- Sample Usage
Phrases and sentences are included as examples. They provide a basic understanding of the meaning as well as the usage of the characters.
- Extra Tips
There are interesting stories about the origin and evolvement of Chinese characters. Relevant information is included to add fun and efficacy in learning. Animated stories can be found at www.BetterChinese.com.
There are two ways to look up the characters: (1) by alphabetical order according to Pinyin; (2) by the number of strokes with characters that have the fewest strokes appearing first. All characters are entered in simplified version. Whenever a character exists in both simplified and traditional form, its traditional form is presented in brackets next to the simplified form.
When looking up a character, if you know the pronunciation but do not know its meaning or stroke order, you can look up the word under the Pinyin chart index I. If you do not know the pronunciation of a character or its meaning, you can count the stroke number and find the character in the stroke number chart index II.
The following appendices are found at the back of this dictionary:
Appendix I: Chinese phonetics, equivalent to the vowels and consonants in European languages and the tones; the vowel and consonant are often referred to as the beginning sound and the ending sound respectively.
Appendix?: Names of basic strokes.
Appendix?: Names of radicals.
Appendix?: Basic Rules and Stroke Order for Writing Chinese Characters.