Outlier Dictionary of Chinese Characters

The core version of our character dictionary for Pleco, the Essentials Edition, is finally ready! Official announcement here.

We're running a special deal right now: you can get a free PDF semantic components poster of your choice with a purchase of the dictionary through our website. You'll receive a code for your free poster via email once you've purchased any edition of the dictionary.

If you already have a copy of the Mini Edition and want to upgrade, you can do so through Pleco and the price of Mini will be deducted from the price of Essentials. If you'd like to upgrade to the Expert Edition to get access to the new Expert info, get in touch with us.

This version of the Essentials Edition contains:
  • Full entries for 1000 characters with form explanations (why the character looks the way it does), component breakdowns (what each component's function in that character is), meaning trees (explaining the relationship between the character's form/original meaning and its modern meanings), and stroke order diagrams,
  • Abbreviated entries for another 1000 characters (a basic component breakdown with some additional information; to be filled in in a future update),
  • More than 400 entries with ancient forms in each version (simplified and traditional; in the next update, all 1000+ completed entries in the Essentials Edition will have ancient forms),
  • Short guides in each entry on how to best make use of the information, including video presentations on how Chinese characters work,
A screen shot comparing Mini and Essentials:





You can order either through Pleco or on our website. Note: if you pre-order the Expert Edition through our website, you get the current version of the Essentials Edition plus the additional Expert entries. And with any of the editions, of course you'll get all future updates until that edition is completed. The final version of Mini will have 2000 entries, and Essentials will have 4000 entries with much more info in each than Mini, and the final version of Expert will have all 4000 Essentials entries, plus the additional Expert info for all 4000 characters.
 
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Hi!

I'm not getting any update... I purchased the expert edition on Kickstarter.

FIXED: I just had to update Pleco, it's working now.
 
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I agree, I would also like to know when the "skeletal entries" will be fulfilled,
it's kind of frustrating, it's of no use with this incomplete status... :(
 
We were planning to release a bug fix update, but we've nearly got enough data for another big update already, so we'll try to get that ready to release soon. No concrete predictions for a release date just yet though.

As for the skeletal entries, we've written some guides explaining how to make use of them (tap "How to use this information" in the entry). You might also find this blog post helpful.
 
I see that while the OSC Essentials is still half-empty, or rather filled with placeholders, Outlier are advertising a Kanji dictionary on Kickstarter. The gall!
 
Hey Vitaly, good to see you again. The development of the Kanji dictionary will happen in parallel with the Chinese version. No time will be taken from the development of the Chinese version, since a separate researcher (who has a PhD in Japanese and has already worked on Japanese dictionaries before) will be working on the conversions. Hope you are doing well.
 
Well, given:

1. Even shinjitai (of which there aren't that many - 364 of joyo, and something tells me joyo are what anyone studying Japanese cares about) are not that different and have been simplified rather uniformly.
2. (written?) kyujitai are equivalent to written form of traditional hanzi.
3. You explained (multiple times) the lack of progress on OSC/OTC by the lack of resources to do the actual work on code/data, not the lack of research.
4. The enormous amount of research available on mainland on hanzi. If you're planning to come with the completely "original research" - the gall! :D

I still think if you actually wanted to complete the original project ASAP you would've put your new grad to translate and type in some mainland books about characters.

PS. You will never admit this, but I came to the conclusion last year that your "business'" goal is mainly to provide you two (well, looks like it's three now) with a business visa on Taiwan :cool:

PPS I'm doing awesome, pondering HSK6 this year but I'm not a student wannabe, dunno.
 
PS. You will never admit this, but I came to the conclusion last year that your "business'" goal is mainly to provide you two (well, looks like it's three now) with a business visa on Taiwan :cool:
That's cute, but no one in the company gets a visa via the company. Harvey lives in the US. Doesn't need a visa. John lives in Japan and thus couldn't get a visa via the company. I live here (in Taiwan), but I get my visa via being a PhD candidate. Glad you're doing well. I've never taken the HSK before (I took a similar exam here in Taiwan though), but I think that would be a good roadmap, since a lot of thought has been put into the specific goals for the exam (vocab, grammar, usage, etc.). Having goals can very helpful.
 
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HSK6 in particular is very much geared towards prospective students/employees in China, as I imagine last couple of TOCFL levels - to students in Taiwan. Besides, it is nearly impossible to find TOCFL exams outside of Taiwan (perhaps easier in US, given Taiwan owns its existence to being essentially a US protectorate, but I digress). Although I've heard good things about TOCFL - slightly higher level of requirements than HSK for "same" levels, closer to the "old" HSK.
no one in the company gets a visa via the company.
Here goes my last hope :(. You're simply not good at running a for-profit business then, all being in academia. Anyhow, best of luck.
 
We were planning to release a bug fix update, but we've nearly got enough data for another big update already, so we'll try to get that ready to release soon. No concrete predictions for a release date just yet though.

As for the skeletal entries, we've written some guides explaining how to make use of them (tap "How to use this information" in the entry). You might also find this blog post helpful.
Hi John, any news on the updates?
 
Yes!

Ash has been doing a ton of programming recently. He wrote some software which takes completed paleographic analyses and semi-automatically generates the form explanations and component analyses, which make up about half of an Essentials entry. That cuts down significantly on how much time it takes to write each entry; the process of creating dictionary entries from our paleographic analysis is now almost 4 times faster.

He’s currently working on some software to greatly shorten the process of creating the meaning trees.

The result of this is that the next update has been delayed a bit, but with the new software/process in place it will be the biggest update we’ve released by far. The current version has 750 completed entries, about 300 semantic component entries, and over 1000 “skeletal” or incomplete entries. The next version should bump the number of completed entries to around 1500. That’s 750 NEW completed entries, so it will essentially have twice as much completed content as the current version.

And once we finally have this new process/software in place, we should be able to release more content more frequently from now on!
 
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