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Pleco CC, UNI, HZ, OSC, PLC which meaning to choose?


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Sreeni

Pleco has different meanings for characters/ words.

 

惫 bèi

 

CC : exhausted

HZ : exhausted; fatigued

UNI : tired, weary, fatigued

 

Here exhausted, tired, fatigued, weary all have same meaning. So I choose ‘exhausted’ as meaning. 
 

But if I try to translate , then I might need to use tired, weary, fatigued based on the context. So how you remember the meaning for this word? Just exhausted and while translating you translate it to tired, weary, fatigued?

 

this character might not be used on it’s own. It is used in 疲惫 píbèi beaten, exhausted, tired. Is it enough to learn 疲惫 píbèi beaten, exhausted, tired ?

 

How you remember vocabulary or your memory retention process? Any suggestions?

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Demonic_Duck

It's generally a bad idea to learn vocabulary by searching the dictionary. As far as possible, learn words by seeing/hearing them used naturally (including in your learning materials or by a teacher), then look them up if you want to know more.

 

You also shouldn't try to translate too much when you're reading/speaking etc. Translating is a different process to using a language in a monolingual setting. Most common Chinese words don't have 1-1 English counterparts, and vice-versa.

 

The various dictionaries in Pleco all have different strengths and specializations. CC is a crowdsourced wiki dictionary that tends to have more up-to-date entries for neologisms and trending topics. PLC is general-purpose and often has useful example sentences. OSC is detailed etymology, but only minimal definitions. UNI is more of a database than a dictionary, many of its definitions are low quality (it's the other data that makes it useful). No idea what HZ is, Pleco uses that to mean "hanzi" rather than the name of a dictionary.

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Sreeni

Thanks for letting me know your views.

5 hours ago, Demonic_Duck said:

You also shouldn't try to translate too much when you're reading/speaking etc. Translating is a different process to using a language in a monolingual setting. Most common Chinese words don't have 1-1 English counterparts, and vice-versa.

 

“To think in Chinese  language rather than translate it into English too much.” This is what you mean? Idea is good.Chinese to Chinese Dictionary will help better than Chinese English dictionary?

But at least 3500 words to learn first I think, else it will be difficult, I feel.

 

https://bilingua.io/methods-start-thinking-foreign-language

 

 

5 hours ago, Demonic_Duck said:

As far as possible, learn words by seeing/hearing them used naturally (including in your learning materials or by a teacher),

 

started learning by seeing and hearing, but lost most of the times.try to catch first few words by very very difficulty and lost..so building up at least 3500 vocabulary bank mean time.  weekly once seeing the tv programmes but it will help after some vocabulary build up only at least 1000, 2000, 3000 I think

 

 

5 hours ago, Demonic_Duck said:

UNI is more of a database than a dictionary, many of its definitions are low quality (it's the other data that makes it useful).


database from old Chinese dictionaries, books? What are the sources for that UNI database?

 

Hanzi/HZ is part of PLC Dictionary, but the sample sentences are mostly (I think) based on CC dictionary.
Hanzi means this word is used with that meaning from Hàn Dynasty? 

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roddy

How have you come to be looking at 惫 as a standalone character anyway? 

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Sreeni

I am learning the word “疲惫” and going through the all the component meanings as well. This is one of the word from the next lesson from secondary textbook. (9 th standard equivalent). 

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Demonic_Duck
4 hours ago, Sreeni said:

What are the sources for that UNI database?

 

Unicode and the Unicode Consortium. See Unicode® Standard Annex #38 UNICODE HAN DATABASE (UNIHAN).

 

4 hours ago, Sreeni said:

Hanzi/HZ is part of PLC Dictionary, but the sample sentences are mostly (I think) based on CC dictionary.

 

CC doesn't have any sample sentences. PLC does.

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Insectosaurus
5 hours ago, Sreeni said:

Chinese to Chinese Dictionary will help better than Chinese English dictionary?

 

Sorry for wall of text, but here we go:

 

This is something you will have to decide for yourself, as opinions differ and that won't change anytime soon. My experience both from English and Chinese is that the gains from a monolingual dictionary is precision, but only if you're at an advanced level. However, wether or not that precision is important, I would say depends on what you're using it for. If you're writing an essay, precision is key. If you're watching a movie or reading a book, it isn't. In any such case, I would argue a C-E dictionary is better, you just have to find the ones you like. In a good dictionary, precision is going to be good enough since they provide example sentences, and they are going to make looking things up much faster since they're in English. This assumes your English is at an advanced level, which I think goes for most people on this forum.

 

The dictionary I use the most is the Oxford one. I have it both in Pleco and on my MacBook, where it's included for free. The only words that lack example sentences are the ones that really don't need it, like a lot of concrete nouns.

 

I think native English speakers are stronger advocates of using monolingual dictionaries, but there are many non-natives of the same opinion. In the end I think it's just a matter of taste. The only reason I sometimes use a monolingual English dictionary is because in that case it really is quicker. Not because I understand the definition much faster, but because I can just write "define [word]" in my browser. When I want a Swedish translation I have to log in at the dictionary website. No such hindrance exists when it comes to picking between C-C or C-E dictionaries.

 

One last thing about more precision though. When it comes to understanding words more precisely, that generally comes from exposure and aquisition. And I also think some people underestimate just how good professional dictionaries are, some of them they are very good. I would guess "internecine" could be considered an uncommon word in English. The Oxford definition provides me with:

 

1. destructive to both sides in a conflict.
"the region's history of savage internecine warfare"

2. relating to conflict within a group.
"the party shrank from the trauma of more internecine strife"

 

Every native speaker or learners at an advanced level is going to understand both definitions, at least with the example sentences provided. However, my English-Swedish dictionary provides me with even more accuracy, I would argue. I'm not going to paste it since it won't make sense to non-Swedish speakers, but other bilinguals on the forum might try it with their own language for reference.

 

For concrete nouns, even the most hardcore monolingual advocates are probably going to agree that a monolingual dictionary isn't optimal, though some of them would tell you to go find a picture. That works for a lot animals, plants and so on (I usually add the English definition *and* a picture in my Anki deck). However, for abstract nouns, there's not contest. Let's look at "taste":

 

the sensation of flavour perceived in the mouth and throat on contact with a substance.

 

The Swedish dictionary just gives me the Swedish translations *and* it's difference usages in English, and provide me with several examples sentences. To me there is just no way a C-E dictionary can't be your primary dictionary.

 

5 hours ago, Sreeni said:

“To think in Chinese  language rather than translate it into English too much.” 

 

I would say don't think about it. It's going to sort itself out eventually, no matter the strategy. When you reach a level high enough for your brain to stop translating, that's what it's going to do. It's however important to understand that not all words have an English counterpart. It's usually not a problem though, since most expressions they appear in roughly can be. This is were a dictionary like Oxford C-E shines. They also provide all examples in both simplified and traditional (as do ABC, that provide fewer examples but a huge amount of words).

 

5 hours ago, Sreeni said:

started learning by seeing and hearing, but lost most of the times.try to catch first few words by very very difficulty and lost..so building up at least 3500 vocabulary bank mean time.  weekly once seeing the tv programmes but it will help after some vocabulary build up only at least 1000, 2000, 3000 I think

 

Is this the first language you learn as an adult? If so, I would provide you with some advice:

 

1. Find your own preferences and don't put too much trust in what others say (me included). They all have learned the language in different circumstances, the fact that their method worked for them doesn't mean it will work for you. That doesn't mean you don't have to continually evaluate your method continually. Is it effective? Are you progressing? Etc.

 

2. Just because there are several ways to be right, doesn't mean you can't go wrong. Understanding every word character by character, radical by radical, seems highly inefficient to me, and probably won't help you much. I did the same thing as you in the beginning (thinking too much about them characters), but that was mostly due to a misconception about how the Chinese language actually worked. Spoken language always comes first, and is later written down and standardised. Understanding characters in isolation will help you understand a lot of words, but there are a huge amount of words that just don't work this way. Not enough to make such a method viable, at least. I personally still focus a lot on characters though, but I nowadays never learn the meaning of the character itself, but rather morphemes in context. A lot of characters have several meanings and several readings, and you're going to have to know a lot of them. Come to think of it, since you're a beginner, I would probably even recommend you to use the Tuttle dictionary before moving on to the Oxford one. Tuttle *do* break down some words character by character, but also provide you with example sentences. It's also much smaller, which is a good thing for a product aimed at beginners. If the word or character isn't in there, it means you can skip it for now and that you have more important words and characters to focus on.

 

Lastly I would argue watching a bit of TV once a week won't help. I thought so too in the beginning, but it won't. You have to get more exposure and portion it out over the week, and you also have to push yourself into doing some reading. It doesn't have to be books or even short articles. It can be sentences in an Anki deck, or in a dictionary, or whatever. I have no idea about what The Chairman's Bao actually is or what they provide, but I've seen positive comments about them/it on this community. Perhaps they offer texts for beginners as well?

 

I would personally throw away that textbook away too, unless you need it for a course your reading. Or just blast through it.

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amytheorangutan

I think most people already talk about the dictionary usage so for me the most important thing is context, maybe there are people out there with excellent memory who can memorise thousands of words out of context but my brain hates that. For me personally watching TV or read books or listen to materials where I only understand 10-30% of stuff is almost the same as if I open a dictionary and try to memorise all the words on there randomly because if I hear or see a sentence where I only know 3 words in that sentence then the chances of me being able to learn and remember the other words in that sentence is almost zero, let alone learning the sentence patterns because I probably have no idea what the sentence is. 

 

A very specific example is this sentence from the book I'm currently reading: 龙儿真是倒霉透了,他竟挨了五枪,哪怕他又五条命也全报销了。 In reality there are 2 words in that sentence that I didn't know, one I sort of know but not sure and the other I didn't know, they're 挨 and 报销 but by reading the sentence I can guess what they mean even without looking at a dictionary, I can imagine the scene in my head so those 2 words stuck in my head and when I look them up on a dictionary if they have multiple definitions it would be easier for me to see which definition fits this situation best but if I only understand 3 of the words in that sentence then I don't even know what's going on and it will look like gibberish to me, then what ended up happening is that I'd be trying to look up and memorise 12-15 characters independently without context because I don't even know what the sentence is about and some of the definition might not even the correct one in this context. 

 

In short, I try to find materials where I only have to look up minimal amount of words and build my vocabulary from there, the more I am exposed to sentences where I understand most of it then the meaning of the new words and how to use it will become naturally clear. 

 

1 year ago when I try to watch TV dramas I barely learn anything because I couldn't understand most of it even though I watch a ridiculous amount of dramas, what I get from it is miniscule because of the reason above, but of course this is only based on my experience and what I know about myself but you know yourself better than anyone so you should follow what works best for you. 

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Sreeni

@Demonic_Duck @timseb @roddy@amytheorangutan thanks for the details and one common thing I understood is ‘every learner is unique and a particular thing worked for someone might not work for others’ agreed
 

Even some thing works at learning first few readings/vocabulary for the same person will not work for the next stage or there is another method which works better. Even for same person there are different methods works better at different stages of learning. Each person requirements, learning motivations, styles of learning are unique as well. Agree

 

For me breaking down of characters to components , radicals and understanding them and ancient form of characters really worked. Let me read by context as of now and study. I finished 2 chapters completely understanding and learning complete vocabulary.  Let me learn 3 more chapters (with context). The above word is exception, I am learning that word without context... 

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markhavemann
On 3/24/2021 at 8:38 AM, Sreeni said:

Here exhausted, tired, fatigued, weary all have same meaning. So I choose ‘exhausted’ as meaning. 
 

But if I try to translate , then I might need to use tired, weary, fatigued based on the context. So how you remember the meaning for this word? Just exhausted and while translating you translate it to tired, weary, fatigued?

I would say that worrying about these tiny distinctions or which dictionary to "trust" is unecessary. They are all right [enough to be useful most of the time]. 

 

When I was pushing through HSK 4 and 5, I also learnt words in a mass approach by trying to learn their closest meaning in English, as well as learning the "sense" of characters that might not appear on their own, but appear in two character words. I feel like getting the sense of single characters has paid off later in my studies with 成语 and ancient Chinese. For me the goal was to make a "dictionary entry" in my head where when I see a word with "惫" I would know that probably that word had something to do with being tired or fatigued, then let context decide the rest.

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roddy
8 hours ago, Sreeni said:

one common thing I understood is ‘every learner is unique and one work for others might work or not’ 

Within limits. You do see people who think this and decide to come up with their own unique approaches, which do not always match up with their stated goals, or do so in at best tangential and inefficient ways. There are of course individual variations across learners, but the commonalities - we all have more or less the same brain, access to more or less the same resources, and are learning more or less the same language - are much greater. 

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艾墨本
26 minutes ago, roddy said:

decide to come up with their own unique approaches, which do not always match up with their stated goals, or do so in at best tangential and inefficient ways

This path also ignores the massive body of work of research into what works and what doesn't. Thinking you'll just need to feel it out is a bad idea. You'll need to feel it out to some degree, but it should be between whether you prefer the graded readers by Chinese Breeze or Mandarin Companion. Graded readers are a research-based and well documented path to learning success. There is no need for your to "feel it out" on if graded readers work better if you know 90% of the vocabulary or 98% of the vocabulary. We already have an answer. It's 98%.

 

But to return to the OP: The basis of your post, which translation is MOST correct, is besides the point. All of those translations will allow you to understand the Chinese you are reading. The nuance of a word doesn't come from a translation, it comes from the context in which it appears. The difference between exhausted and weary IS nuance (tired with something more) but what that "something more" in Chinese is needs to be developed and felt out, even more so than in English. This is the whole basis of Chinese being "high context." The nuance of a word can often fluctuate quite drastically depending on the context.

 

And no dictionary definition can encapsulate that context. (It's also not the purpose/goal of a dictionary)

 

So what SHOULD you do? When you are looking up a word, look up the translation, first. Then jump over to the example sentences and do a quick skim through. Are there any words that often appear together with that word? What are they. Do any of those word pairings appear in the context of what you are reading? Now you know what to look for to identify the parts of the sentence that are establishing nuance of that word: First, the word pairing (which will clarify which of several definitions it is) and then everything else.

 

When looking at the other example sentences, keep in mind several things:

Does the word have positive, negative, or neutral connotations (in that word pairing)?

Is it formal or casual or both?

Can it be only a verb? Or is it also sometimes a noun or etc.?

If it is a verb, I also like to note whether or not it is a 离合词 (生气、跑步、唱歌)

In what situations does it most often appear?

 

These are all factors of what "knowing" a word is. Paul Nation (NZ based researcher) goes into this much further.

 

Suffice it to say, step 1 (if you can't work with the target language dictionary) is target language to native language translation of the meaning. Which meaning? See above.

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Sreeni
On 3/25/2021 at 7:06 PM, 艾墨本 said:

it comes from the context in which it appears. The difference between exhausted and weary is nuance (tired with something more) but what that "something more" in Chinese is needs to be developed and felt out, even more so than in English. This is the whole basis of Chinese being "high context." The nuance of a word can often fluctuate quite drastically depending on the context.


This is the text from lesson for context below:
 

“tired”eyes is the most suitable in this context for 疲惫. I think

 

1. 那是一个星期五。吃过晚餐,母亲和弟弟匆匆忙忙地准备出门。母亲每天上夜班,到离家很远的一座大厦负責清洁工作。弟弟也跟着去,这是因为公司允许员工在每个月的第一个星期五带着孩子上班。

 

2. 在母亲的旧帽子下,是一双略显疲惫的眼睛。弟弟从头到脚襄得严严实实的,清澈的双眼闪耀着


google translation for para2..

 

Under the mother's old hat, there are a pair of slightly tired eyes.  The younger brother's eyes are shining tightly from head to toe, and his clear eyes are shining

 

So here Tired is suitable ok. If I did not check the component meanings there is very high chance that I will forget. So learned 疲and 惫 separately. 
 

For 疲惫  memorise tired and other two words beaten and exhausted? If not remembered the other two, might be in future this word is used as beaten or exhausted ??

 

Have only CC meaning in Pleco for 疲惫 (píbèi):

 

1. beaten

2. exhausted

3. tired

 

疲 : pí

 

CC: weary

PLC: tired, weary, exhausted 

OSC: (original) to be exhausted, tired, weary

UNI: feel tired, be exhausted, weak

 

 bèi

 

CC : exhausted

HZ : exhausted; fatigued

UNI : tired, weary, fatigued


So what to memorise ? what to leave it out? 

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Insectosaurus
5 hours ago, roddy said:

which do not always match up with their stated goals

 

This. For example, when my partner started learning French, the first thing I told him was to do the maths. When do you want to be able to use it and in what way? Now do the maths. To take an extreme: learning one new word a week might and reading a Tintin episode once a year might feel super comfortable, but it's not going to get you anywhere.

 

4 hours ago, 艾墨本 said:

You'll need to feel it out to some degree, but it should be between whether you prefer the graded readers by Chinese Breeze or Mandarin Companion.

 

I haven't touched a graded reader in my life. They're an excellent (and as you say, advocated by many researchers) tool to get you into a language before you reach a higher level, but there are other perfectly fine alternatives. It all depends on the personality of the learner.

 

4 hours ago, 艾墨本 said:

We already have an answer. It's 98%.

 

We also know 10 percent is worse than 100 percent, in fact, we don't even need research for that. 😉 I do however think you're referring to Paul Nation's 98 percent. In fact he himself says 98 is a ballpark figure, not a fact. All that means is that 98 percent is probably what we need to reach a full(ish) level of comprehension and learn new words enitrely from context. I think most of us have read books where we learn words by looking things up rather than from context. Looking things up *a lot*, even. It's also important to note that figure (98 percent) is for English language books, not Chinese ones. Since Chinese don't even have a phonetic script I don't think we can assume the same numbers apply.

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realmayo
4 hours ago, timseb said:

It's also important to note that figure (98 percent) is for English language books, not Chinese ones.

 

I agree - I think characters and the bisyllabic structure of most Chinese words mean that an intermediate learner of that language will be able to correctly guess far more vocabulary than a learner of English could (assuming that learner of English has no knowledge of other European languages).

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Sreeni

疲惫 (píbèi): 

 tired

 

疲 : pí

tired

 

 bèi

tired


Just learnt tired alone to be simple  for the word and 2 child/source characters 

and the nuances (exhausted, weary) to be derived automatically based on future  read and their context. 
 

if there are synonyms in the dictionary (nearest meanings) for a particular Chinese  word, do not take all, take only one and other derived meanings come automatically with context. 

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艾墨本
11 hours ago, Sreeni said:

 

if there are synonyms in the dictionary (nearest meanings) for a particular Chinese  word, do not take all, take only one and other derived meanings come automatically with context. 

Well paraphrased and exactly what I was trying to get at.

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Sreeni
On 3/24/2021 at 9:19 AM, Demonic_Duck said:

CC is a crowdsourced wiki dictionary that tends to have more up-to-date entries for neologisms and trending topics.


yes, CC dictionary cover different meanings, classifier/measure words and covered lot.  But their meaning 90% starts with “to”. I think “to” is not necessary as it conveys same meaning as most of the times. any idea why “to” is used extensively by Pleco CC? 

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Sreeni

Roddy thanks for the link and it is very informative.


“The form without to is called the bare infinitive, and the form with to is called the full infinitive or to-infinitive.”

 

however I am removing the to and just entering the meaning without ‘to’ in my Anki.  it is wasting some seconds for each word.


any issues if I keep omitting “to” in my notes, Anki and while memorising? Any translation issues you see in future, if I omit “to”?

 

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