Dictionaries are important for language learning. Visual dictionaries are especially important for young language learners. This is especially true for Chinese learning. Visual dictionaries normally have both pictures and words next to each other. The vivid pictures make Chinese learning much more fun because learners can easily make the connection between the image and the Chinese word. As the images show the meanings of the Chinese words, learning Chinese vocabulary become easier.
There are some great Chinese visual dictionaries for kids. Below let’s have a look at the 4 most popular ones:
DK Mandarin Chinese – English Bilingual Visual Dictionary
DK Publishing is famous for its high-quality publication with vivid images. This dictionary is no exception. Beautiful images make the words more memorable. Each label has Chinese characters, pinyin and English. Some people like all the 3 elements, others prefer to have only Chinese characters and Pinyin and they argue that the images show the meaning already. Well, you can judge it yourself. Here is one example,
McGraw-Hill’s Chinese Illustrated Dictionary
This highly- rated dictionary features 1,500 words and terms in Chinese. All the commonly used words are listed in characters as well as pinyin. The best part of the dictionary is that it contains a CD which provides pronunciation of the words, which is very helpful.
Mandarin Chinese Picture Dictionary: Learn 1,500 Key Chinese Words and Phrases
This dictionary is another great book from Tuttle Publishing. It features 1,500 Chinese words and phrases with good photos. The words are grouped into 40 different themes or topics, ranging from basic Chinese such as meeting someone new to culture-specific topics like celebrating Chinese holidays and eating Chinese food.
What makes this book unique is that all the Chinese words and phrases have online audio recordings by native Mandarin speakers.
It is a great dictionary for general Chinese learning, especially good for students who are preparing for HSK and AP exams.
The Usborne Internet-Linked First Thousand Words in Chinese
Like all Usborne books, this dictionary is very child-friendly. This book is available in many languages such as Spanish, English, Arabic, French, Italian and so on. It is a classic first vocabulary book for kids.
First Thousand Words in Chinese has interesting and labelled pictures, featuring 1000 everyday words in Chinese. The Usborne Quicklinks website offers pronunciation of the words. A definitely good visual word book for little ones.
Collins Mandarin Chinese Visual Dictionary
This dictionary is another great one with vivid pictures and clear text. All the words have both English and Chinese. The Chinese part has pinyin, which makes it extra helpful for some Chinese learners. What makes this dictionary stand out is that there are some sentence examples which can be used in the topic situation on the topic overview page, just like the one below.
All of the above Chinese visual dictionaries are great not only for Chinese learners, but also for ESL program for Chinese students. The visuals show the meaning, and therefore become the bridge between the target language and the mother tongue. So it is a good idea to have a visual dictionary in the classroom too.
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