The General Association of Chinese Culture (GACC), a department of the Taiwanese government, today launched the Chinese Language Knowledge Database 中華語文知識庫 (中华语文知识库 zhōnghuá yŭwén zhīshì kù) – An online dictionary that details the differences between the Chinese used in mainland China and that used in Taiwan. The dictionary is available as both Taiwan and Mainland versions).
The main feature of the website is the 差異用詞（差异用词 chāyì yòngcí） literally “difference words” which looks at the variation in meaning between words used in China and Taiwan. In the image below you can see the entry for 土豆（tŭ dòu） which in China is a “potato”, and in Taiwan a “peanut” (in Taiwan the word used for potato is 馬鈴薯 mǎ líng shŭ).
This example is one that most native speakers should know, though I am sure there some obscure differences or subtleties that aren’t as straight forward. As ChineseHacks is based in Taiwan we are constantly checking words for China/Taiwan variations to ensure that our posts are relevant to all audiences, so I am sure we’ll be making use of this dictionary in the future.
In addition to the “difference words” dictionary, there are many other sections including Chinese Character Art, which shows examples of Chinese characters and their usage throughout the ages, a learning resources section, videos, a Peoples’ Dictionary (a forum for curating dictionary entries), and a regular discussion forum.
An Example of Chinese from the Song dynasty
With the website being completely in Chinese it’s clear that the target audience is native speakers of Chinese, though the website should also prove a valuable resource for foreign students at an intermediate or advanced level of Chinese.
The one caveat with the website, which is also an issue with the Taiwanese MOE dictionary, is that due to the way the website has been created it seems impossible to link directly to a dictionary entry – regardless of what you search for the URL in the browser address bar stays the same. The addition of a permalink for entries would be a welcome improvement.