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Chinese Project Notes 5: Monodics

A lot of people have asked me “hey Khatzumoto, which monolingual Chinese dictionaries do you use?”. And I respond to them in comments, but no one gets to read comments. So here it is, a list of the monodics I currently use.

  • [internet] 國語辭典簡編本 (The Abridged Mandarin Dictionary, designed for children, it has pictures and you can even get the definition text read out to you. Sweet).
  • [internet] 國語辭典 (the Mandarin Dictionary, the big version of the above, both are made by Taiwan’s Ministry of Education)
  • [electronic] 現代漢語辭典 (Modern Mandarin Dictionary on my Canon Wordtank V-90; this is a PRC dic)
  • [paper] 國語小辭典 (a children’s paper dictionary I bought online from Taiwan). IMHO, paper dictionaries are no good for real sentence-mining and lookups, but they are fun to browse.

  15 comments for “Chinese Project Notes 5: Monodics

  1. uberstuber
    August 13, 2007 at 17:49

    What happened to Project Notes 4?

  2. khatzumoto
    August 13, 2007 at 22:54

    Flipped posting order but kept the numbering 😀

  3. uberstuber
    August 14, 2007 at 06:31

    sweet 🙂

  4. Qin Shi Huangdi
    August 14, 2007 at 07:58

    Most, most appreciated!

    Eh. To make a long story short, I’m not in a position to drop any money in the pot right now, but as soon as I am, I will. This site has been incredibly valuable over the last few months, both for morale and for practical purposes. 🙂

  5. Qin Shi Huangdi
    August 14, 2007 at 08:10

    Also, for those just starting out with their sentence mining or hanzi practice in Mandarin, there’s a good site I stumbled across

    Lots of sentences, lots of characters (in 繁體字 and 簡體字, with animated stroke orders for many of them, if your still getting used to writing), and organized in a style very similar to Mnemosyne and other SRS systems.

  6. Saru Sponge
    August 14, 2007 at 18:30



  7. boltar
    August 29, 2007 at 01:27

    hey, very nice site you have going here, khatzu. i’ve read most of your entries, and i just feel liberated with all this info. your writing is very motivational, to boot.

    anyways, i have a question about learning chinese. do you recommend learning x-thousand chinese characters before doing the 10k sentences, just like for japanese?

    do you also recommend doing 1 character per flash card, or do you recommend doing compound characters (to form a specific word) per flash card (thereby multiplying the number of cards by several factors)?

    also, do you see any drawbacks to doing sentences (phase 4) at the same time as doing the characters only? because this is what i’m currently doing, as i don’t see any drawbacks to this approach at the moment.

    my situation is, i’ve started learning japanese, and recently i switched gears into chinese. i was wondering what your thoughts on learning both japanese and chinese simultaneously. or would it be better to ‘master’ (loose definition) one so that you can ladder on to the other?

    thanks in advance!

  8. khatzumoto
    August 29, 2007 at 07:55

    >do you recommend learning x-thousand chinese characters before doing the 10k sentences, just like for japanese?
    Yes. Absolutely.

    >do you also recommend doing 1 character per flash card
    Yes. A compound is meaningless until you know its parts.

    >do you see any drawbacks to doing sentences (phase 4) at the same time as doing the characters only?
    Yes. It’s like learning sentences in English without knowing the alphabet. You’ll only be slowed down and frustrated. Learn hanzi first. Divide and conquer.

    >i was wondering what your thoughts on learning both japanese and chinese simultaneously
    二兎を追う者は一兎をも得ず:The hunter who chases two rabbits catches neither. She needs to use one to bait the other (sort of…). Sucking at two languages simultaneously = no good, IMHO. Get good at one first. One at a time. Then maybe you can use it to ladder onto the other.

  9. October 1, 2007 at 10:17

    Wow. I feel like the last comment answered alot of my questions, although Im not trying to cram in two languages at the same time. Anyway, I started learning Kanji the old way-through childrens 1,2,3 year readers. Due to your site I began relearning the Kanji with the Heisig book. At this point though, I can read kana and a couple of hundred Kanji and was pulling sentences from the textbook I WAS reading, but have since changed to ‘mining’ per orders of the great Khatsumoto. Since the Kanji in this book are the ones I learned first, am I screwing myself to do repetitions with them before finishing the Kanji?

  10. khatzumoto
    October 1, 2007 at 10:26

    >am I screwing myself to do repetitions with them before finishing the Kanji?
    In principle, the fact that you’re doing Japanese at all is what ultimately matters. In practice, I would say that you should go learn those kanji first. There’s no way around them, only a way through them. You’re probably excited to learn “real” Japanese, but to the extent that you’re simply going to hit a wall at some point–a wall that can only be erased by kanji knowledge–you might as well take care of it now. From my personal experience, life is much easier when you know a few thousand kanji…

  11. yun
    December 15, 2007 at 11:10

    those first two dictionary links don’t seem to be working for me. anyone else having this problem?

  12. All My Nihongos
    February 23, 2008 at 12:57

    Hey Khatzumoto, your site is inspirational. I myself have a good base of Japanese and have already started studying Mandarin. So I’m kinda like you. When it comes to learning Japanese, one can use as it will give a word translation and an example sentence. is good when you want to go ENG-CHN and have an example sentence in Mandarin. But what about JPN-CHN? Is there any site that if you type in a Japanese word it’ll give you the Mandarin equivalent with an example sentence in Mandarin? Does Yahoo have it? Thanks.

  13. khatzumoto
    February 29, 2008 at 14:43

    I use a piece of software called ChineseWriter 9, made for Japanese consumers. It’s got a CHN-JPN-CHN dic on it.

  14. Rebecca
    November 30, 2008 at 12:41

    Do you still remember me? i am rebecca.
    Since from this year May konwn your web to now, i alwalys login on your web of course it is the most useful i have ever found in the internet and also introduce to all my friends thouse who are now studing japanese this moment.
    From your web i got many other useful informations such as subtitles web site as from this Thurday i cannot no longer permit to login in that site.Do you know the reason that may many helpful to me.
    Wait for your kindly response.Tks.

  15. 40 pancakes
    May 1, 2009 at 23:18

    What would be your suggestion for absolute beginner sentence mining materials for Chinese? Like a Tae Kim equivalent, or the best online (free) Chinese-English dictionary? This is only out of curiosity, I really should be focusing on Japanese but… Anyway, thanks in advance!

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