looking for a simple english/cantonese dictionary

Discussions on the Cantonese language.
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nathan

looking for a simple english/cantonese dictionary

Post by nathan » Mon Apr 22, 2002 3:22 am

I am a teacher for literacy volunteers of america.
My three students all speak Cantonese which I understand is
a dialect of Chinese less known than the more widely used
Mandarin Chinese. I am looking for a simple english/cantonese
dictionary but can't seem to find one in traditional places.
Please help. Thank you. I would need not only a title, but
preferably an address or web site that I could purchase the book
from.
-nathan
Lisa C

Re: looking for a simple english/cantonese dictionary

Post by Lisa C » Mon Apr 22, 2002 4:52 pm

There is only one written language in Chinese for all the dialects although there are dialectal characters. If you get a Chinese/English dictionary you should be fine.
Sum Won

Re: looking for a simple english/cantonese dictionary

Post by Sum Won » Mon Apr 22, 2002 5:54 pm

If a Chinatown is near you, you should try to look for a book store. Many Chinatowns have a majority of Cantonese people. If this doesn't help, you should try some of those book sites like Amazon.com, or the site for Barnes and Nobles. (Just in case you accidentally bought a mandarin, or some non-Cantonese dictionary)
Helmut
Posts: 43
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 3:53 pm

Re: looking for a simple english/cantonese dictionary

Post by Helmut » Mon Apr 22, 2002 10:17 pm

If your students are able to read Cantonese, you may buy any English-Chinese dictionary and show them the Chinese characters. It solves the big problem of how to pronounce the words accurately enough to make them understand what you are saying. Cantonese read and write the same words as other Chinese. They just speak a different language.

If your students cannot read, then you need a dictionary with romanised Cantonese (i.e. using the Latin alphabet to write Cantonese phonetically). The books listed below all use Yale romanisation and explain it shortly. You need to understand this system fully to be able to pronounce the words. Having learned some foreign languages would help here.

There is
1) "The Right Word in Cantonese" by Kwan Choi Wah. It is not really a dictionary, but more a vocabulary to be used by students of the Cantonese language to build up a basic vocabulary. But if a few thousand words are enough, then it is my first suggestion as a Cantonese dictionary that is easy to use. The pronunciation rules are explained exclusively with the help of the International Phonetic Alphabet, though with a few mistakes.
ISBN 962-07-1106-8 (possibly number for old edition)
2) "Phrases in Cantonese" by Betty Hung. Similar to 1). It is slightly better than 1) for students of the Cantonese language, but 1) is slightly better as a dictionary for your needs. The pronunciation rules are explained with English examples. There is no explanation for sounds that do not occur in English. Tones are not explained.
ISBN 962-279-179-4
3) "English-Cantonese Dictionary, Cantonese in Yale Romanization" by Kwan Choi Wah and others. This is a real dictionary. Pronunciation is mainly explained with the help of the International Phonetic Alphabet (also not fully correct).
ISBN 962-7141-18-6 (possibly number for old edition)

These books should be available at Amazon. In principle, a really good book store should be able to order any book with an ISBN number from anywhere, if it is still on stock.
sheik
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 3:53 pm
Contact:

Re: looking for a simple english/cantonese dictionary

Post by sheik » Mon Apr 22, 2002 10:56 pm

I've reviewed a Chinese-English Dictionary at:

http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/reviews/intbooks.htm

Details:
Chinese University Press
500+ pages - authors Chik Hon Man & Ng Lam Sim Yuk.

Unusually, this dictionary has Cantonese and Mandarin pronunciation.

If you want a simple phrasebook, I've reviewed the excellent Lonely Planet Cantonese one at:
http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/review ... rbooks.htm

By the way, the Amazon links on these pages are affiliate links which I am not really comfortable about linking to (as people may think I am just trying to earn money).
I explain my policy here (and also how to remove my affiliate ID if you want to!):
http://local-cantonese.sheik.co.uk/reviews/index.htm

Hope this helps,

/dam

[%sig%]
Learn how to read, write and speak Cantonese!
http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk
nathan

Re: looking for a simple english/cantonese dictionary

Post by nathan » Mon Apr 29, 2002 12:18 am

I just want to say thank you to everyone who responded. I had tried a local bookstore, a Barnes and Nobles, and the major websites Amazon and those seemed to be out of print. I guess my misunderstanding was with the notion of Romanized Cantonese and I didn't realize that there is only one written Chinese language. Again thank you for being so helpful. I'm sure this will benefit my students greatly.
Chooi

Re: looking for a simple english/cantonese dictionary

Post by Chooi » Fri Jun 14, 2002 5:55 am

Actually I did come across this dictionary you are looking for in Hong Kong and I have bought a copy. Let me know if you are still interested
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