is there any plan to add 现代汉语大词典 Modern Chinese Dictionary to line-up?


The five-volume Modern Chinese Dictionary, which has been compiled by the Institute of Linguistics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences for 16 years, will soon be published. This dictionary contains about 156,000 words and 12 million characters, which is different from the Modern Chinese Dictionary 现代汉语词典 in scale, nature and content, and is an original large-scale language dictionary.

In 1978, the Modern Chinese Dictionary 现代汉语词典, which was edited by the famous linguists Mr. Lu Shuxiang 吕叔湘 and Mr. Ding Shengshu 丁声树, was officially published and released. Since its publication, the Modern Chinese Dictionary has been revised seven times and its quality has been continuously improved. However, it is a medium-sized language dictionary that cannot fully satisfy the needs of readers, so it is a necessary and urgent task to compile a large and original modern Chinese dictionary. As early as the 1960s and 1970s, Mr. Lv and Mr. Ding proposed the plan of the Institute of Linguistics to compile a modern Chinese dictionary with more words and richer contents, but due to various reasons, the project was launched three times and was stopped halfway.
As a staging of the history of Chinese language, there are two different views on the beginning of modern Chinese language. The broad view is that the birth of "Dream of the Red Chamber" in the 18th century can be taken as the starting point, while the strict one is set at the period of May Fourth Movement around 1919. This dictionary adopts the latter view.

The preparatory work for the compilation of this Modern Chinese Dictionary began in the spring and summer of 2005 and was officially launched in early 2006. under the guidance of modern linguistic theory and the theory of dictionary codification, based on rich and solid literature and oral corpus, a large original language dictionary systematically recording the lexical aspects of modern Chinese for one hundred years was compiled with the Modern Chinese Dictionary 现代汉语词典 as a reference.

"The lexical system of modern Chinese should not be limited to the contemporary decades, but should also pay attention to its beginning and even the late Qing Dynasty and earlier historical stages. Based on the concept of "the history of modern Chinese", this dictionary regards the more than 100 years of modern Chinese since the May Fourth Movement as a historical period of dynamic development and change of society. This dictionary makes an effort to dynamically record and reflect the historical changes of vocabulary in the common time, breaking through the paradigm of static depiction of common time dictionaries.

*emphasis added by me



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Staff member
Not part of our current plans, no. We don't really do much business with 商务印书馆, 外研社 and 上海辞书出版社 are the two big mainland reference publishers we do the most licensing with. We are working on getting the 3rd edition of 现代汉语规范词典, but frankly neither that nor 汉语大词典 are particularly profitable titles for us - they're more about maintaining Pleco as a comprehensive beginner-to-expert Chinese dictionary than about making money on their own - so I'd be skeptical whether we could come up with financial terms that CP would be happy with.

Also, from the description I'm a little nervous about this bit - "设立“提示”栏、“辨析”栏(辨析实词、虚词 1400 余组),为方言词、地区词标注所属方言类别或地区" - because I suspect the regional/dialect classifications are going to be politically tinted in such a way that if we published it we'd have a whole lot of people getting extremely angry with us. Not a deal-breaker, just a reason to be a bit wary. I will actually be curious to see how they do those classifications in practice since it's not something I've seen a lot of other Chinese dictionaries work with much - we've been looking to add similar information to our own language bank at some point. (I suspect it'll be somewhat similar to Oxford's tagging of NZE/CanE/AusE/etc in their English dictionaries)

(and who knows, that same political tint may also give them some incentive to want this dictionary more widely used outside of China and thus to give us a good deal on the license)


yes, this dictionary includes some common dialect words and marked with 〈方〉, the dialect areas to which they belong are also marked after the definitions. Initially, they were to label the dialect words with their provinces of usage based on the published comprehensive dialect dictionaries and other single-dialect dictionaries, but they unbalanced labeling become conspicuous due to the varying amount of dialect information from one region to another. It is not possible or necessary to list all the provinces, and the dialects do not exactly match the provinces in the administrative divisions. Therefore, they have changed mind and adopted the principle of "coarse" rather than "detailed" to classify the dialects into three major categories that is "northern dialects", "southern dialects" and "scattered in northern and southern dialects". Although this labeling is more general and rough, they believe that, it is better to label than not to label, label, after all, can provide readers with more information.

finally I would like to quote from the chief editor Jiang Lansheng 江蓝生 saying "Even a mature dictionary cannot be made once and for all, but must be revised and improved as times and language life change. Because of this, the publication of this large dictionary is like the birth of a child, whose mother cannot really be relieved, but has to pay attention to it and nurture it in a lasting way. We will respectfully listen to the opinions of scholars and readers, constantly improve our academic cultivation, and strive to make it more mature, more useful, and better in the future revisions."