Chinese Language Knowledge Database Launched

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).

Chinese Language Knowledge Database

Differing Words Dictionary

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).

Potato/Peanut entry in the Chinese Language Knowledge Database

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.

Other Sections

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.

Song Dynasty

An Example of Chinese from the Song dynasty

A Useful Resource for Intermediate Students

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.

Visit both the Taiwanese and Mainland Chinese versions.

6 responses to “Chinese Language Knowledge Database Launched

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  2. Why does it say “Taiwanese version”? Only Communist China uses “simplified Chinese”.

    HK, Taiwan, and many overseas Chinese people still use the unchanged writing system, so this should be called the “Traditional Chinese version”, right?

    (Not to mention Japanese and Korean people, who also did not alter their traditional Chinese culture studies according to the Communist Party).

    1. Hi anon, It’s called the “Taiwanese” version because the pronunciations and words detailed are specific to the that used in Taiwan, not just Traditional characters.
      It’s sort of like how a British and American English comparison dictionary would work – obviously English is used in other countries, too, but this version would only be about UK and US English.
      Hope that clears it up!

  3. A tool i found was also useful is the Chinese-English online dictionary nciku. It has a handwriting tool that makes looking up Chinese characters really easier.

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