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ABC Dictionary of Chinese Proverbs (Yanyu)
176pp. November 2001
ABC Dictionary of Chinese Proverbs (Yanyu)
Editor: Rohsenow, John S.;
This Chinese-English dictionary of proverbs (yanyu) consists of approximately 4,000 Chinese proverbs alphabetically arranged by the first word(s) (ci) of the proverb according to the Hanyu Pinyin transcription and Chinese characters (standard simplified), followed by a literal (and when necessary also a figurative) English translation. Additional data such as brief usage notes, sources, parallel expressions, cross-references, and famous instances of use are provided where available. The proverbs are supplemented by an index of key words (both Chinese and English) found in all entries and of all topics addressed. The author has provided a scholarly introduction analyzing the definition, structure, usage, and history of these yanyu in traditional and contemporary China as well as a bibliography of collections and relevant scholarly studies of yanyu.

This work, the first such scholarly collection to appear since the Reverend Scarborough’s 1926 collection, will be of use not only to sinologists in a wide variety of fields, including anthropology, literature, sociology, psychology, and history, but also to non-Chinese readers interested in Chinese culture or comparative ethnolinguistic and paremiological research.

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ABC Chinese Dictionary Series
"Chinese is universally renowned as a language laden with proverbial expressions. John Rohsenow’s delightful and easy-to-use new dictionary not only confirms this impression, but opens the treasure house of Chinese folk wisdom to a general English-speaking readership. The richness of its contents makes it a useful scholarly tool for Sinologists and folklorists, and the clarity of its English translations and Chinese romanization make it appealing and useful to language students at any level and to anyone who may need a pithy aphorism." —Modern Language Journal (89, 2005)

"Rohsenow begins his book with a magesterial and inclusive discussion of the multifaceted aspects of Chinese proverbs, both as an oral and literary mode of formulaic and sapiential language. A massive index of English key-words allows non-Chinese speakers to locate individual proverbs, making this book of great use to Sinologists but also the scholars who work comparatively but do not know the Chinese language. The publication of ABC Dictionary of Chinese Proverbs is a major event for Sinologists and international paremiologists." —Wolfgang Mieder, chair of the Department of German and Russian, University of Vermont, and editor of Proverbium

Editor: Rohsenow, John S.;
John S. Rohsenow is associate professor of linguistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Read an exerpt from the introduction (PDF).