XinHua Dictonary - Xīnhuá zìdiǎn 新华字典

October 1st, seventy-two years ago, New China is officially established! Congrats (Zhùhè 祝贺) to China - my mother country’s 72-year-old birthday (shēngrì 生日)! Today, I’d like to introduce you a small, but very important book that has been developed along with the establishment of New China, which is Xinhua Dictionary - Xīnhuá zìdiǎn 新华字典”.

     "Xinhua Dictionary" is the first modern Chinese-Chinese language dictionary in New China. In 1948, five professors of Beijing University gathered in a simple cottage still shrouded in gunfire in Beijing, and discussed about a Chinese dictionary with great enthusiasm and excitement. They know, a small and affordable dictionary is essential for China’s literacy and development. They know that, around the Revolution of 1911 (Xīnhài gémìng 辛亥革命), the Qing government did a survey, there were just a bit more than 3 million Chinese people who were literacy. It shows that, among the total population of 0,4 billion Chinese at that time, the literacy rate is only 1%.

     In October 1953, the first edition of Xīnhuá zìdiǎn” was published! Its publication, met the urgent needs of eliminating the large-scale illiteracy in New China. Xīnhuá zìdiǎn” has accompanied generations of people to learn Chinese and has been one of the most important reference books for Chinese people, especially in the 50s, 60s and 70s; it has made great contributions to China's literacy.
Since then, Chinese government has never stopped with revising and enriching it. In August 2020, the 12th edition of “Xīnhuá zìdiǎn” was issued. The results of the seventh national census in 2021 show, the China’s literacy rate is 97,33%! We may say, Xīnhuá zìdiǎn” has contributed enormously in creating the miracle!  

     On April 12, 2016, Mark Frigardi, Senior Vice President of Guinness World Records (Jínísī shìjiè jìlù吉尼斯世界纪录), officially announced in London that, "Xinhua Dictionary - Xīnhuá zìdiǎn" is the "most popular dictionary in the world" and the "Best Selling Book regularly revised". Until July 28, 2015, "Xinhua Dictionary" has a global circulation of 567 million copies. It is the first modern Chinese dictionary in New China, published by the Commercial Press (Shāngwù yìnshūguǎn 商务印书馆). It is also an essential reference book for Chinese learners in countries and regions around the world.

     Why could this pocket dictionary have such big achievement?  “Xīnhuá zìdiǎn” 新华字典 is the first pocket dictionary in China with vernacular (báihuàwén 白话文) annotations and examples, which means, it uses the words and expressions that most people are using and hence easy to understand. 新华字典is small and cheap (piányí 便宜). So far, the price of it is still on the level of a half kilo pork. Also, 新华字典 is keeping up to date in terms of scientificity, standardization and practicality. From the 12th edition, many new words such as, "Chūxīn 初心 original intention", "diǎn zàn 点赞 thumb up", " èr wéi mǎ 二维码 QR code" etc. have been added; each page of the dictionary has a QR code, after scanning the code, you may not only listen to the pronunciation of each word, and also watch how it should be written.

     We would like to talk more about this pocket dictionaly on the 2nd Monday evening this month: October 11th from 20.00 to 21.00 o' clock during our cultural forum session. You are welcome to join the online session. The meeting link will be issued at our website under 'cultural blogs', two days before October 11th. If you are an advanced Chinese learner and are interested in owning a latest edition of 新华字典, you may let us know or consult the Commercial Press site: Enjoy Chinese learning.

Miào lǎoshī

Source: 百度百科, 得到听书