The eighth edition of the Oxford Advanced Learner’s English-Chinese Dictionary, one of the most popular English-Chinese dictionaries in China, was released in Beijing on Aug 27, the first day of the Beijing International Book Fair that will last until Aug 31. A ceremony was held to celebrate the launch of the dictionary, which also marks the 35th year of co-publishing between the Oxford University Press and The Commercial Press.
"In the 1980s, when Chinese people were eager to learn English, we published the title," said Yu Dianli, president of The Commercial Press. "The dictionary is still among the top choices for English learners."
The Oxford Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary is the first dictionary written for non-native learners of English, and its success is well rooted.
The principles that it applies, such as clear definitions using simple language, extra usage notes and tips for learners, a large number of examples and help with pronunciation, set the model for all learner’s dictionaries that followed and still remain at the heart of the Oxford Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary, according to Patrick White, head of ELT Dictionaries and Reference Grammar.
At a symposium on bilingual learner’s dictionaries held in Oxford earlier this year, participants from the Oxford University Press and The Commercial Press, as well as Chinese academics, discussed why the Oxford Advanced Learner’s English-Chinese Dictionary has been so successful.
The first reason on which all agreed was the strength of the partnership between the two publishing houses, both of which have a long tradition of excellence in dictionary publishing, White said at the dictionary launch event.
The other reasons proposed for the success of the Chinese version focus on the quality of the lexicography and the innovations that have been introduced into the dictionary over the course of its different editions, White added.
Compared with the previous version, the content of the eighth edition has increased about 20 percent, including adding 1,000 new words and terms, 79 pages of illustrations and writing guidelines.
Dictionaries evolve with society and history, and from the Oxford Advanced Learner’s English-Chinese Dictionary, one can get a glimpse of changes in Chinese and Britain society, because it now has more Chinese-derived words, Yu said.
He said the Oxford dictionary series, including the Oxford Advanced Learner’s English-Chinese Dictionary, performs very well in the market, although sales of English dictionaries have been declining in the past few years. Every year, the publishing house sells more than 1 million copies of the title, Yu said.