@

New Japanese-English
Character Dictionary

Editor in Chief
Jack Halpern


Overview of Principal Features

Numerous features distinguish the New Japanese-English Japanese Character Dictionary, along with its various spinoff products, as the most authoritative and easy-to-use kanji learning tool available today. Below is an overview of these features. A detailed description is also available.The most important spinoffs are the long-awaited Learner's Edition and Electronic Book edition.

Core Meaning
A concise keyword that defines the most dominant sense of each character to provide an instant grasp of its fundamental concept serves as a powerful learning aid.
Psychologistic Ordering
Character meanings are clustered around the core meaning in a manner that allows them to be conceived as a logically-structured integrated unit.
In-depth Meanings
Complete and accurate character meanings clearly show how a few thousand building blocks are combined to generate countless compound words.
Numerous Compounds
Numerous high-frequency compounds and examples provide maximally useful examples of each character sense and clearly show how these contribute to the meaning of each compound.
Compound Formation
Compound formation articles describe the etymology of compounds and explain how their constituent characters contribute to their meanings.
Kanji Synonyms
Kanji synonym articles provide full guidance on the differences and similarities between closely related characters, serving as the world's first kanji thesaurus.
Usage Notes
Detailed usage notes help you understand the fine distinctions between kun homophones -- for the first time in English.
Instant Access
The System of Kanji Indexing by Patterns, or SKIP, provides a totally new method for looking up characters as quickly as in alphabetical dictionaries.
Six Lookup Methods
Six lookup methods and three indexes allow even a complete beginner to locate entries with great speed and little effort.
System of Labels
A system of labels provides useful information on the temporal status, etymology, orthography, style, function, level of formality, etc., of character senses.
Degree of importance
The degree of importance of each character sense is indicated for four levels of study.
Reference Data
Quick access to a valuable source of supplementary reference data, such as the principles of stroke order, frequency lists, historical tables, rules for okurigana, kana charts, a list of kanji synonyms.
Friendly Design
A user-friendly format ensures a visually attractive layout and maximum ease of use.

Summary of Principal Features

Core Meaning

A striking feature of this dictionary is the presentation of a central or core meaning. This is a concise keyword that provides a clear grasp of the central or most fundamental concept that links the principal senses of a character into one conceptual unit. This is a feature unique to this dictionary that has been highly praised by scholars and educators as a powerful and effective learning aid. Consider the core meaning of —―.

  1. KEEP in place, fix
  2. KEEP in custody, detain
  3. KEEP for future use, reserve
  4. KEEP in mind, pay attention to

By grasping that the central concept is KEEP, it is immediately clear that such seemingly unrelated ideas as "pay attention to" and "detain" are merely variants of a single basic concept. The core meaning integrates them into a single conceptual unit. The core meaning is useful to the learner in five ways:

  1. It serves as a concise English keyword that conveys the character's most fundamental meaning.
  2. It shows how the principal meanings of a character are linked to each other as well as to a single central concept.
  3. It provides an instant grasp of the meaning and function of the character as a word-building element.
  4. It is easy to memorize.
  5. It helps grasp the fine differences and similarities between kanji synonyms.

The core meaning is one of the most valuable features of this dictionary.

Click here for details. Return to Top.

Order of Senses

Traditionally, character dictionaries order meanings historically. This dictionary makes a significant departure from traditional character-dictionary lexicography by presenting meanings in a cogent order that clearly shows their interrelatedness. A keyword representing a dominant sense serves as the basis of organization, and the various senses are grouped in clusters in a manner that allows them to be conceived as a logically-structured, integrated unit.

Click here for details. Return to Top.

Character Meanings

Precisely-worded character meanings and a system of labels show exactly how each character functions as a word or word element. The meanings are presented in a manner that shows how the hundreds of thousands of compounds in Japanese can be generated from a basic stock of a few thousand characters. The functions of each character as a prefix, suffix, abbreviation, phonetic substitute, etc. are indicated, while the meanings of independent words are clearly distinguished from those of word elements.

Click here for details. Return to Top.

Numerous Compounds

The senses of each character are normally illustrated by numerous high-frequency compounds that provide maximally useful examples of each sense. They are arranged in a manner that clearly shows how they are formed from their constituent parts. This arrangement enables the user to easily infer the meanings of other compounds not found in the dictionary. It is, of course, possible to access compounds from each of their constituent characters.

Click here for details. Return to Top.

Compound Formation

The formation of a compound word is normally self-evident from the manner in which the compounds are grouped by meaning. When this is not obvious, a compound formation article describes how the compound is formed from its constituent parts; that is, how its constituent characters contribute to the meaning of the whole.

Click here for details. Return to Top.

New Indexing System

In this dictionary, we depart from tradition by introducing a new scheme for classifying Chinese characters, the System of Kanji Indexing by Patterns, which is based on the direct recognition of visual patterns (SKIP), -- a new concept that ensures maximum lookup speed with minimum effort. With the help of simple rules, each character is unambiguously classified under one of four easy-to-identify geometrical patterns: πΓ‚P left-right,@πΑ‚Q, πΎ‚R enclosure, and ‘‚S solid. Within each group the characters up-down, are further subdivided into progressively smaller subgroups until each is assigned its own position.

The system introduced here enables the user to locate entries as quickly and as accurately as in alphabetical dictionaries. It is a product of seven years of computer-assisted research and experimentation on how kanji elements are intuitively perceived and classified. Since the system can be learned in a very short time and does not require prior knowledge of kanji elements, it has been praised by Japanese language educators as a major breakthrough in Chinese character lexicography.

Click here for details. Return to Top.

Kanji Synonyms

A unique feature of this dictionary, presented in NJECD for the first time in any language, is the complete guidance it offers for the precise distinctions between kanji synonym groups are presented along with English keywords. Comparing these keywords, such as „ INFER, ‰― SPECULATE, ‘ͺ CONJECTURE, and Ž@ GUESS reveals both their differences and their similarities, and helps the student understand the different shades of meaning. This dictionary also serves as the first kanji thesaurus ever produced. That is, you can look up an unknown character from its meaning. The Kanji Thesaurus lets you look up characters in a semantically classified groups that allows instant access to the main entry for each character.

Click here for details. Return to Top.

Usage Notes

One characteristic of Japanese is the existence of a large number of or words that are pronounced the same but written differently and usually differing in meaning. This dictionary provides, for the first time in English, ample information on the discrimination of homophones (such as aku written ŠJ‚­ 'open', ‹σ‚­ 'become vacant', and –Ύ‚­ 'regain sight') and orthographic variants (interchangeable forms such as ‹H ki and Šσ ki).

Homophones pose a serious challenge to learners because:

  1. There are many homophones in Japanese.
  2. The differences between homophones are often subtle.
  3. There are numerous orthographic variants.
  4. Usage is sometimes contrary to expectations.
  5. Writing in Japanese often involves uncertainty over orthography.
  6. The treatment of homophones in existing reference works is inadequate.

The approximately 600 usage notes clearly show the differences and similarities between the meanings of about 1410 homophones. Each sense is accompanied by numerous compounds and examples, which greatly contribute to an in-depth understanding. Since these differences are often subtle and confusing, this feature should prove to be of enormous value to the student.

Click here for details. Return to Top.

Six Lookup Methods

A major feature of this dictionary is the speed and facility with which entries can be looked up. Although we have departed from the traditional method of ordering characters, we have not overlooked the needs of the traditionally oriented user. You have a choice of six methods of locating entries.

  1. By pattern: The Pattern Index lets you locate entries quickly and effortlessly by identifying geometrical patterns based on the SKIP system.
  2. By scanning: The SCAN Method offers a powerful shortcut for locating characters of high stroke-count almost instantaneously without counting strokes.
  3. By reading: the On-Kun Index lists the characters alphabetically by their on and kun readings.
  4. By radical: The Radical Index lists the characters by their traditional radicals and stroke-count.
  5. By meaning: The List of Kanji Synonym Groups arranges the characters in semantic groups listed alphabetically by their headwords.
  6. Directly: The Direct Method allows characters to be located from their geometrical patterns without the use of any index.

Return to Top.

Labeling System

A labeling system including status, subject, functional, and orthographic labels provides guidance on etymology, style, function, level of formality, etc. Thanks to these labels, which are absent in other character dictionaries, basic and frequent meanings are clearly distinguished from rare and archaic ones.

Click here for details. Return to Top.

Degree of Importance

Although meanings are given up to the advanced level and beyond, the degree of importance of each character sense is indicated by various typographical differences and status labels for four levels of study. In addition, the degree of importance (frequency of occurrence and grade) of each character is indicated. For these reasons, the beginner and advanced student can use the dictionary with equal facility.

Click here for details. Return to Top.

Reference Data

To round out a practical and useful reference work, especially for the more advanced student and the developer of teaching materials, various appendixes give the user quick access to valuable reference data. This includes frequency lists, a list of kanji synonyms, abbreviations of place names, and others.

Click here for details. Return to Top.

User-Friendly Design

Click here for details. Return to Top.


@

Go to
To top
My activities
Languages
Unicycling
Yiddish
My family
DESK
Unicode

Dictionary
Reviews
Overview
Details
Learner's
Electronic
iOS
Order Now

Features
Core
Ordering
Meanings
Compounds
Formation
Synonyms
Usage
SKIP
Lookup
Labels
Importance
Others