Chinese Medical Characters 3: Materia Medica Vocabulary
by Nigel Wiseman & Zhang YuHuan
Volume 3 of the Chinese Medical Characters series presents both simplified and complex forms for 100 characters that are frequently encountered in materia medica study, providing an in-depth look at the most commonly used characters in the field of medicinal therapy. Significs and stroke counts, commonly used equivalents, character composition, explanation of meaning, and examples of character combinations are included. The stroke sequence showing how to write the character is presented, and space for students to practice writing the characters is provided. The appendix contains a systematic list of the characters presented in the text as well as all characters presented in Volumes One and Two of the series.

By gaining familiarity with the words and meanings that make up many medicinal names, readers will discover additional insights into the substances themselves. The frequent occurrence of these characters in medical Chinese makes this text a must for any practitioner seeking to expand their knowledge of Chinese language and medicinal therapy. Because the basic nomenclature of materia medica has become effectively standardized in English, this text is an excellent supplement to materia medica study using any of the common texts.

People propose ideas about Chinese medical language that are not justified by the facts. Among these myths is the idea that Chinese medical language is so "fuzzy," with so many variable meanings that it cannot be translated without the intervention of someone with very special qualities. This is not the case. See this very interesting comparison which contains the entire Chinese text of Ten Lectures on the Use of Chinese Formulas by Professor Jiao Shu-de. This comparison color-codes every character that you will learn how to read in each of the "Chinese Character" books. What it demonstrates is that with a relatively small vocabulary, and a reasonable understanding of Chinese grammar, you can read very useful information in Chinese. Clearly, this level of knowledge does not make you a translator or an expert on the linguistics of the Chinese language. However, it does give you access to information that you might otherwise depend upon others to provide. The comparison file is very large (167 pages); there is a short sample here.

 

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Publication Date: 7/1/2006
Paperback; 217; 7x10; 19.95
This is the third volume in the Chinese characters series.
ISBN 0-912111-76-3
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