Hanyu Da Cidian

Not to be confused with Hanyu Da Zidian.

The Hanyu Da Cidian (Chinese: 漢語詞典/汉语词典; pinyin: Hànyǔ Dà Cídiǎn; literally: "Comprehensive Chinese Word Dictionary") is the most inclusive available Chinese dictionary. Lexicographically comparable to the Oxford English Dictionary, it has diachronic coverage of the Chinese language, and traces usage over three millennia from Chinese classic texts to modern slang. The chief editor Luo Zhufeng 羅竹風 (1911-1996), along with a team of over 300 scholars and lexicographers, started the enormous task of compilation in 1979. Publication of the thirteen volumes began with first volume in 1986 and ended with the appendix and index volume in 1994.[1]

The Hanyu Da Cidian includes over 23,000 head Chinese character entries, defines some 370,000 words, and gives 1,500,000 citations. The head entries, which are collated by a novel 200 radical system, are given in traditional Chinese characters while simplified Chinese characters are noted. Definitions and explanations are in simplified, excepting classical quotations.

Volume 13 has both pinyin and stroke count indexes, plus appendices. A separate index volume (1997) lists 728,000 entries for characters by their position within words and phrases, something like a reverse dictionary. For instance, the Hanyu da cidian enters Daode jing 道德經 under the head character dao; this reverse-index lists it under both de and jing. "Despite the fact that it weighs over 20 kilos and contains a total of 50 million characters spread over 20,000 large double-column pages," says Wilkinson (2000:71), "the Hanyu da cidian is an easy dictionary to use to the full because it is unusually well indexed." It became even easier to use when Victor H. Mair edited a single-sort alphabetically arranged pinyin index (2003).

The compact edition consists of three volumes.

The abridged CD-ROM version (2.0) contains 18,013 head characters, 336,385 words and phrases (without pinyin), and 861,956 citations. It includes male and female sound files for single-syllable pronunciation, and enables more than 20 search methods. It requires Microsoft Windows, with a Chinese locale setting due to its use of GB 18030.

The 3.0 CD-ROM version was released in 2007. This version includes SecuROM DRM copy protection software in its installation, possibly in response to the earlier version's ISO image being illegally distributed on VeryCD. Due to design errors, the 2007 version of 3.0 is incompatible with Windows 7 OS; rather than release a free software patch to fix the problem, the publisher began selling an otherwise unchanged, full-price Windows 7-compatible version of 3.0 in 2010.

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