ABC Dictionary of Proverbs (Yànyǔ)

By Prof. John S. Rohsenow

yanyu book

The 2014 software edition of the Chinese-English ABC Dictionary of Chinese Proverbs (汉英谚语词典, Hàn-Yīng Yànyǔ Cídiǎn), edited by John S. Rohsenow, is now for viewing with Wenlin Mianfeiban, or even better with Wenlin Wanzhengban, providing instant look-up for the Wenlin dictionaries. Modern Language Journal describes Rohsenow's dictionary as “delightful and easy-to-use … open[ing] the treasure house of Chinese folk wisdom to a general English-speaking readership … appealing and useful to language students at any level and to anyone who may need a pithy aphorism.”

The Wenlin software edition adds new dimensions of accessibility to this valuable text. For Wanzhengban, the complete ABC Comprehensive Chinese-English Dictionary, the Wenlin Zìdiǎn (character dictionary), and more are included. Full integration with Wenlin’s electronic dictionaries means that readers will have instant access to the wide variety of dictionary entries available for exploring nuances of Prof. Rohsenow's fine translation, and for understanding deeper meanings of Chinese proverbs. This new software edition is of interest to English and Chinese readers in general, and to specialists in a wide variety of fields, including anthropology, linguistics, literature, sociology, psychology, and history.

Originally published in book form by the University of Hawai‘i Press, the ABC Dictionary of Chinese Proverbs consists of approximately 4,000 Chinese proverbs alphabetically arranged by the first words (詞/词 cí) of the proverb according to the Hànyǔ Pīnyīn transcription and Chinese characters (standard simplified), followed by a literal (and when necessary also a figurative) English translation. Additional data such as brief usage notes, sources, parallel expressions, cross-references, and famous instances of use are provided where available. The proverbs are supplemented by an index of key words (both Chinese and English) found in all entries and of all topics addressed. The author has provided a scholarly introduction analyzing the definition, structure, usage, and history of these Yànyǔ in traditional and contemporary China as well as a bibliography of collections and relevant scholarly studies of Yànyǔ.

“I am grateful to Tom Bishop and the able staff of Wenlin Institute for making available this updated electronic version of my ABC Dictionary of Chinese Proverbs (Yànyǔ), and especially for its accessibility and interactivity with Wenlin software, which was so valuable, I might add, in the production of the original manuscript!” —John Rohsenow, Professor Emeritus of linguistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago

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