English-Cantonese Dictionary

English-Cantonese Dictionary

by New Asia-Yale-in-China Chinese Language Center (Editor)
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English-Cantonese Dictionary 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
JamesDew More than 1 year ago
This English-Cantonese Dictionary ?????? from the Chinese University Press in Hong Kong (copyright 1991 and 2000) is an excellent and very practical aid for English speakers living or studying in Hong Kong, Guangzhou or other Cantonese speaking communities. The advertised "more than 15,000 entries" seems modest. Perhaps this is a count of main entries, and subentries add generously to this total. English entries are well chosen and Cantonese glosses are accurate and carefully distinguished by context, shades of meaning and grammatical parts of speech. Cantonese is accurately rendered in the widely used Yale romanization system. Users who read Chinese will be disappointed that there are no Chinese characters; however, inclusion of characters would have substantially increased the size of the volume, which at 579 pages (plus 22 pages of front matter) is already at what one would assume is about the limit for a "pocket dictionary." Sticklers for accuracy will be pleased to see that the dictionary retains the "conservative" standard in recognizing seven tones - distinguishing between high falling and high level - rather than following the recent tendency to recognize only six tones. An Introduction provides a good description of the sound system of the language and the way it is represented in the Yale romanization, a very helpful ten-page set of Grammatical Notes, and a table comparing the Yale romanization with IPA symbols, Sidney Lau's system (which has been popular in Hong Kong for several decades), and the old Meyer-Wempe system. Perhaps a new printing will replace Meyer-Wempe with the new Jyutping system which has recently gained popularity among some Cantonese language scholars in Hong Kong. This dictionary seems to be conceived as a companion - or counterpart - volume to the Chinese-English Dictionary published in 1989. However, the latter is basically a Mandarin dictionary with Cantonese pronunciations added, while the English-Cantonese Dictionary is a true Cantonese dictionary designed for use with the colloquial, as well as the formal language. A much better counterpart for this dictionary is Sidney Lau's A Practical Cantonese-English Dictionary, published by the Hong Kong Government Printer in 1977. Unfortunately the Lau dictionary does not seem to be available from booksellers in the United States.