Kernerman Dictionary News • Number 14 • July 2005
PASSWORD Semi-Bilingual English Chinese Dictionary
In May 2005, the PASSWORD Semi-Bilingual
English Chinese Dictionary was published by Shanghai Lexicographical
Publishing House (SLPH), with the cooperation of K Dictionaries Ltd (KD).
This brought to the fore the significant role played by semi-bilingual learners
dictionaries in the field of foreign language teaching in
Our original intent to publish such a dictionary was
inspired by an article written in 2001 by Xu Hai, from the Lexicography
Research Center of Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (http://bilex.gdufs.edu.cn), in which he
made a full and detailed exposition of the academic reasoning for the use of
the semi-bilingual dictionary – a novel member in the family of dictionaries.
The ideas conveyed in the article held enormous appeal and we took them very
seriously. In 2002, after meticulous modifications and editing, Xu’s article
was published in Lexicographical Studies (Vol. 2), a journal of the
China Lexicographical Association (reprinted).
This is a unique professional periodical in the field of lexicography in
The reasons why we strongly recommend this new type of
· The semi-bilingual English-Chinese dictionary can make up for the inadequacy of general English-Chinese dictionaries by providing the English explanation and examples of usage of the entry.
· It can make up for the inadequacy of monolingual English learners dictionaries by providing Chinese equivalences.
· It remedies the deficiency of English-Chinese bilingual dictionaries. It is designed in such a way that its users are encouraged to read and think in English with a minimum need for using Chinese.
· It paves the way for readers to use monolingual English dictionaries, since the original English version constitutes the core of this dictionary.
· Last but not least, its comparatively lower cost to that of general English-Chinese bilingual dictionaries is appealing to users.
We made additional modifications by taking the current
The dictionary was launched into the Chinese market in 2005, in full collaboration with KD. We were highly honored to have had the assistance of Prof. Huang Jianhua, Chairman of the Commission of Bilingual Dictionaries of the Lexicographical Association of China (http://bilex.gdufs.edu.cn/others/bilex.htm). In his Preface to the dictionary, writing with coruscating wit, he gives a lucid and academic exposition of the importance of the semi-bilingual dictionary in active language learning.
Professor Huang drew an analogy between the semi-bilingual dictionary and “something that is neither fish nor fowl”, eliciting a positive connotation from this usually negative phrase. He referred to the semi-bilingual dictionary as a “new type of thing” that cannot be exactly categorized and therefore integrates the advantages of both categories. In his point of view, the concept of the dictionary is based on the psychology of vocabulary acquisition in foreign language learning as applied in learners dictionaries.
In brief, the minimalistic translation that is provided in the semi-bilingual approach is by no means a “lazy” dictionary layout; rather, one that prominently promotes learner-friendly features.
(Associate editor at SLPH, majoring in International Chinese)
The Shanghai Lexicographical Publishing
House was formed in 1978 from the Cihai Editing Department of Zhong Hua
Book Company. It is the first publishing house in
K Dictionaries Ltd