现代汉语规范词典 and Pleco

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This is the Xiandai Hanyu Guifan Cidian (Standard Dictionary of Modern Chinese). I bought it in China but you can also get it on websites selling Chinese language products (e.g. http://www.aolifo.de). It’s a Chinese-Chinese dictionary, all main entries are with pinyin and explanations are Chinese only. I recommend it for upper-intermediate and advanced learners.

Let’s say we want to look up the word “lǔmǎng”.

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We find the entry 卤莽 but the dictionary tells us that the word is written 鲁莽 nowadays.

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And here we find the explanation. The character in the square shows the part of speech (here: adjective). The hand symbol reminds us one more time that we shouldn’t write the word with the characters 卤莽.

Pleco, a very useful Chinese dictionary app for mobile phones, offers Chinese-English and English-Chinese. You can get it for free but if you get the professional bundle (it’s 64,99 €; you can also only choose individual add-ons you need), you get access to a lot more dictionaries and even Chinese-Chinese dictionaries like the one above. So let’s check Pleco for the same word.

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The main entry already shows us that they are two possibilities of writing this word. We scroll downwards to the Chinese-Chinese dictionary.

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GF is the abbreviation Pleco uses for the name of the dictionary. And here we see the exact same reference. We click on the characters in blue.

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And again we get the exact same entry with the explanation. The character in the square is now just grey and the hand symbol has been changed to 注意 (warning).

Now imagine we don’t understand the explanation. We can just tap on the characters we don’t know.

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A small window pops up showing us the pinyin and the English translation. So I highly recommend Pleco for every serious Chinese learner.

If there is any similar dictionary app for Japanese out there, please leave me a message.

Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Dictionary App

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  1. Here you can have the app show you more or less information. Less information basically shows only the English meanings of this kanji. More information is like it is on this screenshot.
  2. Lets you add a bookmark for this kanji.
  3. Lets you look for a different kanji.
  4. Settings.
  5. Basic English meaning.
  6. First comes the on-reading in capital letters (or katakana) followed by the kun-reading in small letters (or hiragana). It depends on your settings whether you see the readings in our alphabet or in katakana/hiragana.
  7. Radical of this kanji. If you click on it, the app will show you other kanji with the same radical.
  8. Shows you in which grade this kanji is taught. E.g. Jōyō 1 means it’s taught in grade 1. The example here is without a number meaning it’s taught after grade 6.
  9. The first number shows the total stroke number. The second one refers to the stroke number of the radical only. And the last one shows the amount of additional strokes to the radical.
  10. Stroke order.