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Chinese-English Frequency Dictionary: A Study Guide to Mandarin Chinese's 500 Most Frequently Used Words Paperback – 1 Dec 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Hippocrene Books Inc.,U.S. (1 Dec. 2001)
  • Language: English, Mandarin Chinese
  • ISBN-10: 0781808421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0781808422
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 14.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,355,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


This text acts as both a traditional dictionary and a teaching guide to Manarin Chinese, providing meaning and gramatical explanations for the use of each word. Entries are presented in both Chinese characters and roman letters with pinyin transcription. There is also a pronunciation guide.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As opposed to the usual dictionary which it takes a while to find the word you're looking for in, this one is brought down to the essential and most commonly used words in the mandarin language.
I recommend it for all beginners, wishing you good luck and a lot of fun ;-)
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Format: Paperback
This is so useful for the beginner.

500 of the most frequent characters in simplified Chinese, arranged in descending order from the most frequent.

For each character, there is a list of major meanings and usages, together with sample phrases.

For the beginner, this streamlines your learning experience - so that you know that, if you study systematically, you are studying in the most efficient manner.

This supplements other textbooks. You will almost certainly still need an ordinary English-Chinese, Chinese-English dictionary and a coursebook too.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.3 out of 5 stars 19 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great study book 24 Feb. 2006
By Dr. Walt - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book for studying Chinese, however, it is helpful to have some limited vocabulary before beginning to use it. Once you know how to pronounce words based on their pinyin spelling and tones, and you know a couple hundred words, then this book is great for building vocabulary and learning grammar through context usage examples. And, of course, it focuses on the words you will most likely encounter, so what you learn will be quite practical. I really like this book and study it for the examples.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tremendous aid to understanding the language 18 April 2007
By Weary Traveller - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Other features of the book have been noted by other reviewers, but what I want to highlight are the example sentences to illustrate the many uses of each character in context. Especially for words with many roles in the language (the three de's for example) these sentences are an excellent way to prepare your own pattern practice. They are written in characters and then pinyin in parens, allowing you to focus on only the characters if you are that far. The sentences mostly use the other 499 characters in simple but typical phrases, so the entries reinforce each other.

Just one example, for zong3 (frequency 152): Four meanings are given, and 9 compounds (e.g. zong3delai1shuo1 'generally speaking'). For each meaning there is a sentence, e.g. for the fourth meaning 'sooner or later, eventually': wo3 zong3 you3 yi4tian1 hui4 you3 zi4ji1de fang1zi ("sooner or later I'll have my own house"); all the characters in this useful sentence are also in the book, and although the grammar is not explicitly explained here (as it is for 'grammatical' entries such as the de's) the structure is simple enough to infer it. This example also shows typical uses of hui4 and you3; so this sentence reinforces the discussions of those characters, which are easy to cross-reference via the alphabetic index.

Stroke order and radicals are not the point here! Get Tuttle "Reading and Writing Chinese" for the first and a good dictionary for the second. The beauty of this book is that it emphasizes the most *frequent* (as it says) characters, so you can most rapidly approach fluency in common speech and reading, only having to look up the less frequent characters.
5.0 out of 5 stars Concise, precise, and replete with examples 29 Nov. 2007
By JPilot - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As others have mentioned, this is an excellent book that is packed with useful information. Each word is discussed in detail with many examples of usage. The examples are given using simplified characters, Pinyin, and English.

The text does not waste words and is concise, similar to Beginner's Chinese by the same author. Main complaint: perhaps in an effort to maintain compactness, the text is tiny (about 8 point type) which is a little small for clearly seeing the details of the characters if you are not already familiar with them (and if you are, you probably would not need this book!).

This book is useful because most beginning texts introduce new words showing only one usage. Chinese has its most common characters in many ways, and this book shows a few of the colloquial usages, all very interesting. Highly recommended for serious learners.
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book always travels with me 22 Sept. 2004
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If I had to choose a single book for learning/reviewing Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua) this is the one. I have been learning Mandarin for about 2 years now and purchased many other Chinese learning texts and this book is the best. One of my favorite features is to open up the book at a random character and see if I can understand the sample sentences without looking at the accompanying Pinyin. If I miss a character, I find the corresponding Pinyin and look it up in the alphabetical index. Of course there are characters used in the sample sentences that are not in the top 500 and I have other dictionaries for this purpose (this book only deals systematically with 500 most common characters from most common to least). As other reviewers have mentioned the detailed grammatical explanations of many characters (e.g. de/le/shi/guo) are invaluable for general understanding.
3.0 out of 5 stars Happy happy to own this book 23 Nov. 2015
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Chinese characters too small to see clearly without magnifying glass. I Desire to recognize words. Happy happy to own this book.
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