When I first looked at 漢字英釋大辭典 from Shanghai Jiaotong, I thought, “They must have been pretty bored to publish a 29,000 character Chinese-Chinese-English character dictionary (and then call it a cidian).” But then as far I can find it is the largest collection of characters ordered by pinyin. This in itself is kind of fun. I mean, with the new GB encoding you can supposedly type either 24,000 or 30,000 (depending on what I read), but that is not the same as a book. The next largest character dictionary ordered by pinyin I know of is 新華字典 with 10,000, though there are a couple of versions of Shanghai Cishu’s Cihai that are ordered by pinyin and have I think 17,000 or 19,000 characters or something like that, but that’s a word dictionary and so requires a lot more page flipping in between characters.
I have no idea why I made this post. I know nothing about the phonetic elements in Chinese characters, but I’m curious. Like most people who study Chinese I’ve noticed how certain elements tend to congregate with certain sounds, so such a large dictionary ordered by pinyin is yet another potential toy for me. I guess I ought to read Karlgren?
Thoughts and comments invited.
PS It’s not anything special as a character dictionary.