Popular Post OneEye Posted August 26, 2014 at 02:09 AM Popular Post Report Share Posted August 26, 2014 at 02:09 AM OK, I think it's a good time for me to start an official thread here. I've posted a bit about Outlier elsewhere on the forum but I'd like to have a dedicated thread for it here. Note: We've just launched our Kickstarter. Check it out! Outlier Linguistic Solutions is a recently-founded publishing company in Taipei. Our primary project right now is to create a dictionary of Chinese characters aimed at learners. Our goal in this is to take the latest research in Chinese palaeography, phonology, and etymology and repackage it into a system that's easy to use for zero-level beginners in Chinese who have no training (or even interest!) in those fields. We explain characters in terms of their functional components (sound and meaning components), and explain exactly how each component functions within a given character. That is, we'll explain whether a given meaning component (大, for instance) express meaning by way of its meaning (big) or by way of its form (a person). We also have a system for explaining sound components, which I can't talk about just yet (journal article forthcoming, after which I can). Our system not only explains how characters work in a clear, easy to understand way, it also helps with long-term recall and the ability to predict the possible meanings and pronunciations of new characters that you encounter. The dictionary will cover the 3000 most common characters (in both simplified and traditional), with an additional volume planned later with another 3000 for those who require more. Both an English and a German edition will be published initially, with hopefully other languages to follow, and every edition will be entirely bilingual (both Chinese and the base language). Each head word will have two sections: a basic, "this is what you need to know to master this character" section, and a "for experts" section (what I like to call the "red pill section") for those who want to dig into the etymology more deeply. We also plan to suggest mnemonic objects for each component that people can use to create mnemonic stories. They asked me to join as a research consultant (I'm now also in charge of marketing), which I was thrilled to do because I really believe that this project will be a huge help to learners of Chinese. We're designing exactly the kind of tool I wish I could have had access to when I started learning Chinese. I used Heisig, which has some really great things about it, but could be much stronger if it retained its focus on mnemonic stories but also explained characters in an etymologically sound way and didn't ignore phonetic components. That's what we're making. I also used Harbaugh's book (aka zhongwen.com), which is also really great — I especially like that it covers simplified and traditional characters, mainland and Taiwan pronunciations, and has tons of vocabulary words — but it has a lot of flawed, outdated etymology. Our dictionary will have all those features but will make use of the latest research in etymology. We'll also be able to continue to update it as new advances in the field are made, because it will be released in a digital format (with a print edition planned for later). Ash, our tech director and lead researcher, has published journal articles and book chapters and presented papers at major conferences about historical phonology, palaeography, and Chinese character pedagogy. He's currently co-authoring a paper with Dr. Feng Sheng-li, the author of Expressions of Written Chinese. He's given a talk at ICLP about how to learn characters every year (sometimes twice a year) for the past 6 or 7 years. This fall, if enough students sign up, he'll be teaching a class there on the subject. That's all to say, he really knows his stuff when it comes to Chinese characters, not just from an academic standpoint but also from a pedagogical one. The dictionary has been in the works for several years now. I've actually had former ICLP students complain to me that Ash had mentioned it in his talk ~5 years ago "and it still isn't done!" We're making plans for other projects besides this one, which I'll announce when the time comes. But for now, I wanted to get the word out. We have a website and a blog, where I've recently posted two articles: one I co-wrote with Ash on the etymology of 高興 and one on 六書, the traditional way of categorizing characters and whether it's useful for a learner. More articles coming soon. As excited as I am about this, I'm going to try to avoid bombarding the forums with every minor update because I know that can get annoying. So if you want get updates about new blog posts, videos, conference talks, etc., we're also on Facebook and Twitter, so check us out there. So there it is. I'm here to answer any questions, hear suggestions, listen to publishing proposals, take abuse, what-have-you. 12 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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