I've been thinking about Chinese dictionaries for a while. Thanks to this about the future for Chinese-English dictionaries on Laowai Chinese, I've been pushed into action. I'm launching the unimaginatively named 3000 Hanzi Dictionary Project. I've listed my vision below. If you're interested in helping, join the mailing list.
3000 Hanzi Dictionary Project
The world needs a more humane Chinese dictionary. What does that mean? A more humane dictionary means a dictionary made to help people, with features designed to help people learn and use the language. A humane dictionary is not divorced from technology: on the contrary, it uses technology with care and precision so that the dictionary can better serve its purpose.
The 3000 Hanzi Dictionary Project has two goals. To create an English-Chinese dictionary and a Chinese-English dictionary. Entries in the dictionary will contain the optimal information needed to understand the word and understand its usage.Since the 3000 Hanzi Dictionary Project is a community-backed project, it will be available via an open source or copyleft license (to be determined).
Community projects like CC-CEDICT are inspiring. But the goals of that project aren't the goals of the 3000 Hanzi dictionary project. It is far healthier to create a new project, based on these goals, to promote competition and to fulfill the needs of different audiences.
- A dictionary should be humane.
- A dictionary should have features for learners and native users.
- A dictionary should describe how a language is used, and not "what's correct".
- A dictionary needs systems in place to simplify editing.
This is a huge endeavor, the success of which will depend on the help of interested people like you. There are lots of ways you can help, both big and small. If you're interested, then join our mailing list. We'll have a list of tasks and sub-projects you can help with up soon.