500 Common Chinese Idioms
An Annotated Frequency Dictionary
Routledge – 2011 – 314 pages
500 Common Chinese Idioms is the ideal tool for all intermediate to advanced learners of Chinese. Based on large corpora of authentic language data, it presents the 500 most commonly used Chinese idioms or chengyu, along with a variety of synonyms, antonyms and the most common structures, enabling the reader to make educated guesses about the meanings of hundreds of unfamiliar idioms.
Key features include:
This practical dictionary is suitable both for class use and independent study and will be of interest to students and teachers of Chinese alike.
'The authors have done a magnificent job explaining this important dimension in the use of Chinese. Learners will appreciate the care they have taken to ensure that the material is maximally relevant and clear. The dictionary will be an invaluable aid to both comprehension and production.'- Professor David Crystal
"Grounded in corpus research, this dictionary has a number of laudable features: with focused attention on learner usage, entries are clearly analyzed, exemplified and contextualized."- Zheng-sheng Zhang, San > Diego State University, USA
"500 Common Chinese Idioms is…possibly the first lexicographical work that thoroughly and consistently lists the Chinese characters, pinyin, and English translation for entries and example sentences. This feature makes it more complete and considerate than most Chinese idiom dictionaries and turns it into a learner-friendly textbook….students will appreciate the authors’ copious examples…Readers will find the well-written allusions to be an enjoyable experience as if they were reading a literary piece of work….(This is) an indispensable reference for readers.….As a frequency dictionary, 500 Chinese Common Idioms presents a beautiful marriage between a dictionary and a textbook… (It is) a quality resource in any Chinese learner and teacher’s library…. Its value extends beyond a supplementary textbook, a dictionary, or a collection of idiom stories." - Journal of the Chinese Language Teachers Association
"An important part of Chinese culture, idioms have a long history in China. Proper use of idioms often reflects education level and language skills. Because Chinese idioms are frequently associated with literary allusions, quotations, or metaphors ingrained in Chinese history and literature, they are rather challenging for non-native learners of Chinese to understand or use appropriately. Keeping learners' usage in mind, Jiao (Univ. of Pennsylvania), Kubler (Williams College), and Zhang (emer., Renmin Univ. of China) present the 500 most commonly used idioms, based on frequency statistics of large corpuses of language data used in both China and Taiwan….Readers will find the number of the entry, the idiom in simplified and traditional characters, Pinyin Romanization, English translation, example sentences, comments on usage, allusions, a note on sociolinguistic function, near synonyms, and antonyms. Material in the appendixes includes the common structural patterns of Chinese idioms. This volume is suitable for intermediate to advanced learners of Chinese when used in conjunction with a standard Chinese-English dictionary. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above." - K. T. Wei, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
"A beautiful marriage between a dictionary and a textbook."
- Hsiang-Hua Chang, Oakland University
1. Introduction 2. Technical Terms Employed in the Dictionary. 3. Dictionary: Entries Arranged According to Frequency 4. Appendices Appendix A: Phonetic Index of the 500 Highest-Frequency Idioms Appendix B: Stroke Index of the 500 Highest-Frequency Idioms Appendix C: Frequency Chart of the First 1,000 Idioms According to The People’s Daily Newspaper Corpus Appendix D: Common Idioms not Included in the Body of the Dictionary. Appendix E: Additional References and Websites for Chinese Idioms
The three co-authors are all involved in the teaching of Chinese as a second/foreign language.
Liwei Jiao is Lecturer in Chinese at the University of Pennsylvania. His publications include The Routledge Advanced Chinese Multimedia Course: Crossing Cultural Boundaries (co-authored with Kun-shan Carolyn Lee, Hsin-Hsin Liang and Julian Wheatley, Routledge 2009).
Cornelius C. Kubler is Stanfield Professor of Asian Studies at Williams College. He has authored or co-authored nine books and over 50 articles on Chinese language pedagogy and linguistics.
Weiguo Zhang is Emeritus Professor of Chinese Linguistics at Renmin University of China. He is currently Visiting Professor and Co-director of the Confucius Institute for Ireland at University College Dublin. He has published several books on computer language.