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fepinyindic.jpg

Far East Pinyin Chinese-English Dictionary
The Far East Book Co, Taipei, 2001
ISBN: 9576124638
Cost:NT$450 at PageOne Bookstore, Taipei
continue reading…

the cover

The Far East Chinese-English Dictionary (遠東漢英辭典) is widely sold both in the west and in traditional character using Chinese regions, such as Taiwan and Hong Kong. While its primary market is Chinese people who are studying English, this dictionary is also very useful for English speakers who are studying Chinese. In fact, many prestigious US colleges use this dictionary along with the Oxford Concise E-C/C-E dictionary for their intermediate level courses.

a page

The dictionary is organized by radical and stroke count, and all characters are indexed by both zhùyīn and pīnyīn at the back of the dictionary. More common terms are highlighted in pink. With over 120,000 entries on 7,331 Chinese characters, the dictionary is very thorough. Obviously, it isn’t impossible to include everything, but in my experience the dictionary has more than fulfilled its stated goal of emphasizing wide application and current usage. From literary terms to scientific terms to idioms and even vulgar slang, I have never encountered a commonly used word that I haven’t been able to find in this dictionary.

a close-up

Pros:

  • Accurate translations and clear explanations
  • Nearly any commonly used speech can be found
  • Radical, stroke number, zhùyīn and pīnyīn can all be used to find words
  • Fairly durable

Cons:

  • Though characters are indexed by pīnyīn in the back only zhùyīn is listed next to the entries under any given character
  • No simplified characters are included at all
  • The characters are too small for students to be able to tell how to write them
  • Except for literary terms, the usage for words in this dictionary is very Taiwan-centric, yet the pronunciation suggest for characters is often unused in Taiwan, except by mainland immigrants

Rating: 4.5/5
Level: Beginner to High Intermediate