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Author of

dictionary

# of

characters

listed

# of

compounds

listed

Indexing

system

used

Other

indexes

provided

Compound

look-up by:

Stroke

order

provided?

Handwritten

characters

provided?

Frequency

of use of

character

Other

Features

(see below)

Nelson

 

5446

70,000

Radical

Priority

System

on-kun

 

first

character

only

no

no

not noted

2,3

Haig

 

7107

70,000

Universal

Radical

System

on-kun

first

character

only

no

no

gJoyoh and

gGeneral

Useh noted

3,6,7

Spahn/

Hadamitzky

7062

48,000

79

Radical

System

on-kun

any

known

character

no

no

not noted

1,2,3,7

Halpern-

 

3587

42,200

SKIP

(by shape

patterns)

on-kun

 

radical

any

known

character

yes, for

every

character

yes,two for

every

character

noted for

2135

characters

2,3,4,5,6,7

Summary of Features of Japanese-English Character Dictionaries

 

 

Other features:

1-     Compound listings include place names (prefectures, large cities, etc.).

2-     Characters frequently looked-up incorrectly are cross-referenced.

3-     Variant forms of characters are cross-referenced.        

4-     Standard Chinese form and reading are given for each character.

5-     Homophones and synonyms are listed for characters.

6-     Japanese Standard Index (JIS) numbers are provided for each character.

7-     Abridged version available.

 

                     


 

Abstract

 

For JSL learners who seek to attain literacy in the written Japanese language, a comprehensive Japanese-English character dictionary is an indispensable tool for mastering new kanji and vocabulary. There are currently four such dictionaries in print, and they differ in a number of important aspects. Each has a unique indexing system which seeks to be more user-friendly to JSL learners than the traditional radical-based indexing system used in Japanese character dictionaries. One of the four takes a unique approach to dealing with the meanings of characters. There are differences in the number of character and compound word entries provided in each dictionary, as well as in a variety of other features. This paper provides an in-depth comparison of the four dictionaries, and discusses how each is appropriate to different types of kanji learners.

 

 

 

Biographical Information

 

Mary Sisk Noguchi is an associate professor at Meijo University in Nagoya. She

researches innovative approaches to kanji pedagogy and has presented at JALT

conferences and chapter meetings on this topic. She writes a regular column for

the Japan Times, gKanji Clinic.h

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