The “problem” with Chinese grammar and dictionaries (CH-ENG, ENG-CH)[color=#0000BF] in short [/color]is:
Chinese grammar for the Westerners was written by the Westerners (I mean the first textbooks) and they simply imposed Western languages’ grammar onto Chinese. When you get deeper and deeper into Chinese, you may notice that parts of speech (as many other notions of the Indo-European languages’ grammar) do not fit into this language structure. Parts of speech in the dictionaries are mainly for the Westerners, so that they can get a clue how to use them.
Chinese linguists started to oppose this Western description of their language and were trying to write their grammar in a way they understand it and so far no one accepted that approach in the West, as it would be too difficult for our alphabetically wired mind to understand it.
The best way to learn Chinese is by remembering the context of vocabulary and phrases that they appear in. This is the most “natural” way to acquire that language, it doesn’t impose our grammar understanding on Chinese. ([color=#0000BF]It is a bit short reply and there are many things here that could be elaborated on,eg. whether it is possible not to impose your mother tongue language onto the language you learn…, or whether “grammar” is a good notion to describe language and which approach do we take to describe languages… etc. I hope that my reply at least explains this what you wanted to know about the missing information in dictionaries) [/color]
What he said. And also, you’re right in that this information is totally unnecessary to learn any language, not just Chinese. The fact that many English speakers could not tell you the difference between an adverb and an adjective should make that clear. You are better equipped to learn a new language than babies are, and they know nothing of parts of speech. Context will teach you everything.
Of the dictionaries I use (with Pleco), Tuttle, Oxford and ABC all provide this information; the free ADSO dictionary also seems to have it. Maybe you want to try one of these?
I think it’s important to at least distinguish between nouns, verbs and verb-object compounds, particularly in the beginning. It will improve your comprehension later on, when characters you already know as a part of one or two phrases appear independently in different contexts.
[quote=“Dragonbones”][quote=“pqkdzrwt”]Why is it that most chinese-english dictionaries, free and paid for do not include information such as if a word is a noun, verb, etc…
DeFrancis’s ABC Comprehensive CED has this info. Highly recommended.[/quote]
Seconded. This is far and away the best available Chinese-English dictionary anywhere in the world. And even then it’s a bit out of date, since it’s about eight years old and the Chinese language has developed a lot since then.
Thanks for all the feedback. I do use the ABC via pleco, and it does seem to have the clearest definitions out of the others.
And just to be clear I wasn’t trying to imply that grammar was required for learning a language, I believe the best way to learn is by using/reading, however I sometimes wonder when I see examples like in CEDICT where the word has a different meaning as a noun or a verb or whatever, and it just lumps them all together as if its the same word.
Cant wait until I can read chinese books on chinese grammar so I can understand what the chinese believe is a better way to describe their language (: