Teochew Dictionary on Your Mobile Phone Part 2: 潮州音字典

Two weeks ago we looked at 潮汕字典, a mobile app that allows us to check the Teochew pronunciations of written Chinese characters just about wherever we are. This time round we review 潮州音字典 ("Teochew-sound dictionary"), an app with similar function and a whole lot more.

潮州音字典 is easy to use.  To look up a particular word or short phrase, you only have to key in the relevant Chinese character in the search bar of the app's main page and then click the magnifying glass icon on the right.

The result will be returned in a single page, with the sound of each Chinese character presented through its transliterations in peng-im  and Teochew-Chinese characters (often a homophone), as well as audio reading(s). 

The Teochew sounds are based on the standard high Teochew (modeled after the speech in the historical Teochew prefectural city) and, where applicable,  there are also indications of dialect variations spoken in Swatow 汕头, Gek-yor 揭阳, Thenghai 澄海, Jaopeng 饶平, Teo-yor 潮阳, Huilai 惠來, and Pholeng 普宁. However the Teo-yor, Huilai and Pholeng variants currently lack the accompanying audio files.

In cases when a character has more than one way of reading, the sounds will be marked appropriately to show if it a literary reading (文), vernacular reading (白) , or surname reading (姓) etc.

Beyond teaching the pronunciation of Chinese characters in Teochew, the results also display their pronunciations and explain their meanings (字义) in Mandarin. In other words, 潮州音字典 functions as a Teochew-sound and a bilingual Teochew-Mandarin dictionary at the same time.

If you are unsure of the Chinese character you are looking up, there is little to worry. 潮州音字典 is structured to work like any Chinese dictionary you would have learned to use in your Chinese class in school. Just click on the menu selection on the top left hand corner of the app's main interface and you find a list of other options to search for your character. These include using a Teochew peng-im index (潮州话拼音索引), a Hanyu pinyin index (汉语拼音索引), a Chinese character component radical index (汉字部首索引) or a Chinese character stroke-number index (汉字笔划数索引).

In addition, there is further mean to conduct an advanced search (高级搜索) by which you specify the initial, vowel and tone (in either Teochew or Mandarin) of the character you are looking for. 


The 潮州音字典 mobile app is available for free download to both Android users on Google Play and iPhone users on iTunes App StoreThe project actually started about four years ago as a website www.czyzd.com, which continues to serve the needs of desktop and laptop users.

All things said, it must be observed that 潮州音字典 costs nothing, but yet has comprehensive dictionary content and a slick user-friendly interface. If there must be something to moan about, it is only that it does not yet contain English to cater to those of us who aren't so familiar in reading Chinese.

Still, we give full marks for an amazing app, and you would too, after watching this video about the selfless dedication and hardwork of the young couple from Teochew who made it possible.


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