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Tuttle Concise Chinese Dictionary

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Tuttle Concise Chinese Dictionary

The Bottom Line

A good Chinese / English dictionary with plenty of example sentences in Pinyin Romanization and simplified characters. It covers the basics, but intermediate students may find it doesn't suit their needs. Since it primarily focuses on simplified characters, students of traditional characters may find this dictionary to be of limited value.
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  • Translating dictionary
  • Example sentences in Pinyin and Simplified Characters
  • Useful reference sections


  • Focuses on simplified characters
  • Limited vocabulary best suited to beginner students


  • Contains 11,000 entries - suitable for beginner students of Mandarin
  • Example idioms and sentences given in Pinyin and simplified characters
  • Includes traditional characters, but the focus is on simplified characters
  • Useful information about the Mandarin Chinese language

Guide Review - Tuttle Concise Chinese Dictionary

The Tuttle Concise Chinese Dictionary is a valuable reference tool for visitors to China and students of Mandarin Chinese. With 11,000 entries, the dictionary covers the most common vocabulary and provides example sentences and idioms for each definition. Entries are arranged alphabetically according their Pinyin spelling.

Individual Chinese characters are shown in both simplified and traditional forms, but compound words of two or more characters are shown only in their simplified forms. Examples sentences are shown in simplified characters only, along with the Pinyin Romanization.

Translating Dictionary

Since the dictionary has entries in both English and Chinese, it can be useful for travelers who already know a bit of Mandarin. It's not a phrase book, though, so it won't be of much use to tourists with no knowledge of the language.

Its compact size and light weight make it highly portable, useful for Mandarin students who like to study on the bus or train.

Limited Vocabulary

The Concise Chinese Dictionary covers the most commonly used words and phrases, so is most useful to those in their first year of Mandarin studies. After that, the rather limited vocabulary may hinder more advanced students.

And since this dictionary pays just a token nod to traditional Chinese characters, it cannot be recommended to students who want to learn the traditional forms.

Reference Sections

The dictionary contains useful introductions about several aspects of Mandarin Chinese. There are sections on pronunciation, writing, grammar, character components, measure words, radicals, and a stroke index. Each of these topics can be studied in depth, but the information given in the Tuttle Dictionary provides some useful information to the Mandarin student.

The appendices cover Chinese family names, Chinese place names and Chinese names of countries and cities of the world.

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