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New: Collins Chinese Dictionary (Third edition)

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I spotted this today in the bookstore, and had a quick browse:



The CCD3 is quite an impressive-looking tome, being about 50% thicker, and with somewhat larger pages and appreciably more example sentences (all of them now fully-Pinyinized) than the Pocket Oxford Chinese Dictionary say (which was sitting right next to the CCD3 on the shelf in the bookstore).

About the only thing I could find wrong with the CCD3 from my quick browse was that although it now definitely includes bracketed traditional equivalents for the simplified characters in all head entries (though see the mistakes highlighted towards the end of the third paragraph of the detailed review in post #4 below), the radical index doesn't appear to include those traditional characters, so one can't actually look them up (unless one already knows the pronunciation and/or simplified form and can thus go straight to the relevant entry). This is a bit of a silly omission (you'd think they'd have realized the error of their ways by the time this THIRD edition was being compiled), and will doubtless continue to lose Collins quite a few customers to Oxford, or to the ABC ECCE (etc), both of which include traditional as well as simplified characters in their indexes in addition to in their (head) entries. Still, there are probably just about enough customers who are more or less content to confine themselves mainly to simplified characters, and the most important thing I suppose is that the traditional forms are now supplied at all in a Collins!

The RRP is £13.99, but Amazon UK is offering it for just over £9, which seems a bargain.

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I've just bought the CCD3. I'm hoping I'll be able to have a good look at it over the weekend, with a view to perhaps posting a proper review of it (but shorter than the one I wrote for the ABC ECCE!) here sometime next week.:)

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Can you do a short comparison of CCD3 and ABCECCE in the review?


Hi Koxinga, I somehow didn't see your request until today, but luckily the review nevertheless ended up containing a fair number of comparisons to the ABC ECCE. I'll provide a quick summary below though, for convenience's sake. The scores are obviously new, and were given some thought, but they shouldn't be taken too seriously ultimately! :)wink.gif

Number and order of Chinese entries: The ABC has far more single-character entries (and allied indicating of bound forms), and very likely the greater number of compound entries too. Its single-character entries that are idential in pronunciation (i.e. in syllable and tone) are ordered by frequency (by means of a superscript number before the item, a practice borrowed from western lexicography), which is ultimately far more useful than simply ordering, as in the CCD3 and other dictionaries (POCD etc), according to the strokes of the character. Compound entries in the ABC are ordered by full alphabetical string regardless of head character (which is very useful for looking up items that one already knows the pronunciation of or has only heard), and again with items identical in pronunciation ordered by frequency (whilst an asterisk following the Pinyin indicates the most frequent rough Pinyin homonym if tones are ignored; these rough homonyms thus help form slightly larger sets than the tonally-exact homonyms preceded by superscript frequency numbers do), but many students (especially beginners) may prefer compounds with the same head character to all be found arranged in one place (i.e. under the head character), as in the CCD3 (and POCD etc). Score: ABC 4, CCD 1.

Character indexing: The ABC's is unquestionably far, far superior in every respect. The CCD3's biggest failing however is the complete lack of traditional forms/look-up in its index. Score: ABC 3, CCD 1.

Tone sandhi: The CCD3 doesn't indicate tone sandhi at all; the ABC indicates each and every instance (whilst at the same time retaining the canonical tones). The ABC is therefore the clear winner here too. Score: ABC 1, CCD 0.

Number of examples, and extent of Pinyin provided: The CCD3 consistently appears to have more examples (on the other hand however, the ABC has more entries). Both dictionaries provide full Pinyin. Score: ABC 1, CCD 2.

English(-Chinese) entries: The CCD3 wins this one hands down, thanks primarily to its clear disambiguation by way of definitions, extra context labels, and wealth of examples, plus its phrasal verb codings and greater similarity overall to EFL learner dictionaries (COBUILD, Longman, Oxford etc) rather than to too-concise supposedly bilingual ones. Score: ABC 2, CCD 4. (NB: The disambiguation isn't such a problem in the ABC ECCE in its C-E section, due obviously to the definite need there to supply English translations. It's just a shame more help wasn't supplied to the English user using its E-C section, which could be accused of catering more for Chinese learners of English, given its lack of clear definitions/disambiguation of the Chinese translations of English sense-meanings (which will often be little more than numbers ultimately, to the English reader)).

Grammar and Measure word information for Chinese entries: The ABC here has more extensive and clearer codes, and includes MW information in the C-E section (which would seem more logical than including it in the E-C section). Score: ABC 2, CCD 1.

Miscellaneous: The CCD3 has omissions that the ABC doesn't. The ABC's formatting is more consistent, and it has a less cluttered way of showing traditional equivalents in compound entries (the CCD3 however provides traditional equivalents in the examples in its E-C section, thus providing a bit more recognition practice (assuming that's needed)). The ABC's appendical material will probably be the more useful overall and in the long term. Lastly, the CCD3 has some usage notes, but the ABC doesn't. Score: ABC 3, CCD 2.

Overall production values: Both are high quality, but the ABC packs in more overall for its size (i.e. it's less thick or weighty); that being said, the ABC's font is smaller, which may make it hard for some to read. Then, the ABC's much thinner paper is a lot less durable, but that is perhaps offset by its having a plastic flexicover to protect it. Score: let's call this one a draw then! 2 points each.

Praise versus criticism in each review: It was far easier for me to be excited, positive, and generally collect my thoughts when writing the review for the ABC than for the CCD3. So the ABC was much more of a "must buy!", and made much more of an impression (by which I mean a positive one) once I'd bought it and examined it in detail. Score: ABC 2, CCD 1.

TOTAL SCORES: ABC 20, CCD 14. The ABC is the overall winner then (for the going on intermediate student, at least!). There is something to be said however for the CCD3 being a good E-C resource, and the ABC ECCE being the better C-E resource, even though each is ostensibly a two-way, E-C/C-E dictionary.

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Hi! I read the new edition of Pocket Oxford Chinese Dictionary (2009) uses pinyin throughout. Does it use pinyin in the english-chinese section too? Even for the examples?

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Hi Miko. Unfortunately I don't have that recent an edition of the POCD, but knowing OUP I doubt if the 2009 has FULL Pinyin throughout and for all the examples. Hopefully somebody else will post soon and clarify further. Edit: Ah, I see you've posted a similar query in other threads, and received some replies concerning the Oxford/CP Concise at least (which is very similar if not identical to the POCD, give or take some updating of a few vocabulary items here and there in the POCD).

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The 2009 POCD does not have any more Pinyin than previous versions - they revised the content a bit but they didn't really change the basic entry format. So examples in the C-E half are still Pinyin-less.

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