Saturday, September 20, 2008


Adso is an open source to dictionary and engine for Chinese text. The Adso project started in 2001. Its gist translation and dictionary interface are online at the Adsotrans website Adsotrans. Its software and database are freely available for download at the site as well.


With over 185,000 entries, Adso is the largest open source Chinese-English dictionary compilation on the Internet. It differs from other projects in providing part of speech and ontological data on word entries, and in reviewing user contributions. Project data is generated collaboratively by users and drawn from related projects including CEDICT and the Linguistic Data Consortium.

The Adso software engine provides text segmentation, hanzi-to-pinyin, gist translation, annotation, gist extraction and semantic analysis services. It is heavily used as a translation aid for Chinese-English translation. Adso also supports a specially-defined XML language which customizes software output. This has made it useful as preprocessor for statistical machine translation software such as GIZA++ or for reverse-index search engines such as Lucene.


The Zihui was a 1615 Chinese dictionary, edited by Mei Yingzuo during the late Ming Dynasty. It was the first dictionary to introduce the modern radical-stroke system. The ''Zihui'' has 14 fascicles with 33,179 character entries. While the ancillary first and last fascicles explain topics like stroke order and , the main ones are named after the twelve Earthly Branches. The Qing Dynasty scholar Wu Renchen published the 1666 ''Zihui bu'' .

The ''Zihui'' is renowned for establishing the system of 214 radicals, which dictionaries today still use as the basis for the collation of Chinese characters. It also introduced the "radical-and-stroke sorting" principle of arranging characters under a radical according to the number of residual strokes. Since the famous 1716 Kangxi dictionary adopted these 214 graphic elements, they are commonly called the List of Kangxi radicals rather than "List of Zihui radicals".

In order to make this lexicographical advance into the logically arranged 214 radicals, Mei Yingzuo simplified and rationalized the original system of 540 radicals in the Shuowen Jiezi. Some ''Shuowen Jiezi'' radicals contain few characters, which is an inefficient arrangement. For instance, its "man radical" 男, which compounds the "field radical" 田 and the "power radical" 力, only lists three: ''nan'' 男 , ''sheng'' 甥 , and ''jiu'' 舅 . The ''Zihui'' more efficiently lists ''nan'' 男 under the "power radical", ''sheng'' 甥 under the "life radical" 生, and ''jiu'' 舅 under the "mortar radical" 臼.

In modern Chinese usage, ''zihui'' means "glossary, wordbook, lexicon; ".

Zhongyuan Yinyun

Zhongyuan Yinyun , literally meaning "The phonology of the Central Plains", is a rime book from the Yuan Dynasty compiled by Zhou Deqing in 1324. An important work for the study of historical Chinese phonology, it testifies many phonolgical changes from Middle Chinese to , such as the reduction and disappearance of final stop consonants and the reorganization of the . Though often termed a "rime dictionary", the work does not provide meanings for its entries.


''Zhongyuan Yinyun'' continued the tradition of ''Qieyun'' and other rime books. However, due to the phonological changes took place from the Sui Dynasty to the Yuan Dynasty, the information needed to be updated in accordance with the then phonological system.

From the middle of the 13th Century to the end of the 14th Century, Beiqu underwent quick development. The author of Sanqu , Zhou Deqing, delved into the research on Beiqu, discovering that it created many problems by not adhering to the rules of classical poetic composition. He thought that in order to better develop Beiqu , one would need to make a definite standard, especially in respect to language. According to his own experience, he was able to propose a set of rules for composing and reciting Běiqǔ, which came to be known as ''Zhongyuan Yinyun''.


In the earlier rime books, characters are first grouped by tone, then by rime. However, in ''Zhongyuan Yinyun'', the selected 5,866 characters , commonly rhymed in songs of the time, are first grouped into 19 rime groups, then further into four tonal groups: , , , . The traditional is assigned to the aforementioned four groups according to contemporary rules. This novel way of dividing the traditional four tones is known as "dividing the level tones into ''yin'' and ''yang'', assigning the entering tone to the other three tones" .

Within each rime-tonal group, homophonic characters are further grouped together, with each homophonic group separated by an empty circle. As a common character, whose pronunciation every literate person is supposed to know, is used to head each homophonic group, ''fanqie'' spelling is not employed, as in the earlier rime books, for indicating the pronunciations of the characters.

Zhou regarded the principal works of the Four Great Yuan Playwrights as foundational to verse in general; he considered their works to be "rimes joined with nature, words able to connect with the language of the world" , and at the same time also distinguished where the playwrights used rimes in non-standard places.

''Zhongyuan Yinyun'''s second half, Zhengyu Zuoci Qili , employs various examples to explain in detail both the rime charts' methods of use as well as issues concerning Beiqu's creation, standards and other aspects.

List of rimes

*歌戈韻 Ge-Ge
*家麻韻 Jia-Ma
*車遮韻 Che-Zhe
*齊微韻 Qi-Wei
*支思韻 Zhi-Si
*魚模韻 Yu-Mo
*皆來韻 Jie-Lai
*蕭豪韻 Xiao-Hao
*尤侯韻 You-Hou
*寒山韻 Han-Shan
*先天韻 Xian-Tian
*桓歡韻 Huan-Huan
*監鹹韻 Jian-Xian
*廉籤韻 Lian-Qian
*真文韻 Zhen-Wen
*侵尋韻 Qin-Xun
*庚清韻 Geng-Qing
*江陽韻 Jiang-Yang
*東鍾韻 Dong-Zhong


In respect to contemporaneous and later Beiqu works, ''Zhongyuan Yinyun'' has played a very strong guiding role; moreover, many later rhyme works have regarded it as a model on which they based their interpretations. Up until the flourishing of Nanqu , ''Zhongyuan Yinyun'' still held a tremendous influence.

Zhongwen Da Cidian

The Zhongwen Da Cidian is an unabridged Chinese dictionary, edited by Zhang Qiyun and others. The first edition had 40 volumes, which were published from 1962 through 1968.

This encyclopedic dictionary includes 49,905 Chinese characters arranged under the traditional 214 Kangxi radicals. Each character entry shows the evolution of graphic forms , gives pronunciations, and chronological meanings with sources. Words, phrases, and four-character idioms are given under the head character entry, arranged according to the number of in their components. "There are many phrases under some characters," note Teng and Biggerstaff , for example, 3,417 under ''yi'' and 1,398 under ''huang'' .

Although the ''Zhongwen Da Cidian'' closely resembles the first edition 1960 Dai Kan-Wa jiten , it is not listed under works consulted. The ''Zhongwen Da Cidian'' was the best available reference work of Chinese until 1993, when the ''Hanyu Da Cidian'' was completed.

Zhonghua Da Zidian

The Zhonghua Da Zidian was an unabridged Chinese dictionary of published in 1915. The chief editors were Xu Yuan'gao , Lu Feikui , and Ouyang Pucun . It was based upon the 1716 ''Kangxi Zidian'', and is internally organized using the 214 Kangxi radicals. The ''Zhonghua Da Zidian'' contains more than 48,000 entries for individual characters, including many invented in the two centuries since the ''Kangxi Dictionary''.

Each character entry includes the fanqie spelling from the Jiyun, the modern pronunciation given with a common homophone, different meanings , classical quotations, and two-character compounds using the character. Although Teng and Biggerstaff acknowledge the ''Zhonghua Da Zidian'' "is very comprehensive and is very carefully compiled," they note three defects. The index, which is arranged by number of , can be inconvenient . The margins do not have characters to help locate entries under a radical. The two-character phrases may be listed under either component.


The Yupian is a circa 543 CE Chinese dictionary edited by Gu Yewang during the Liang Dynasty. It arranges 12,158 character entries under 542 , which differ somewhat from the original 540 in the ''Shuowen Jiezi''. Each character entry gives a fanqie pronunciation gloss and a definition, with occasional annotation.

Baxter describes the textual history:
The original ''Yùpiān'' was a large and unwieldy work of thirty ''juàn'' , and during Táng and Sòng various abridgements and revisions of it were made, which often altered the original ''f?nqiè'' spellings; of the original version only fragments remain , and the currently-available version of the ''Yùpiān'' is not a reliable guide to Early Middle Chinese phonology.
In 760, during the Tang Dynasty, Sun Jiang compiled a ''Yupian'' edition, which he noted had a total of 51,129 words, less than a third of the original 158,641. In 1013, Song Dynasty scholar Chen Pengnian published a revised ''Daguang yihui Yupian'' . The Japanese monk Kūkai brought an original version ''Yupian'' back from China in 806, and modified it into his circa 830 ''Tenrei Banshō Meigi'', which is the oldest extant Japanese dictionary.


The Yunjing is the oldest existing rime table. Current versions of the ''Yunjing'' date back to the 1161 and 1203 editions published by Zhang Linzhi .

In theory, the ''Yunjing'' is a two-dimensional representation of the Middle Chinese phonological system. The preface lists 36 initial consonants ; see the link below. The Yunjing contains 43 charts , each of which tabulates combinations of a particular final rime with various initials , in up to four tones. A detailed description of this native Chinese phonological system can be found at the rime table article. For further information about the ''Yunjing'', see Coblin and Pulleyblank .