Chinese Medical Characters 1: Basic Vocabulary
by Nigel Wiseman & Zhang YuHuan

Learning Chinese is very probably the most rewarding single investment that a student of East Asian medicine can make. A knowledge of Chinese provides access to the knowledge and experience of East Asian physicians over a period of two thousand years. By learning Chinese, one gains entry into a library of information a thousand times larger than any that exists in English or any other Western language. One gains the ability to communicate with Chinese physicians in their own language and to share their knowledge and experience. Ultimately, one gains the ability to think in the language that has been used by generations of Chinese doctors and scholars to record their experiences and considerations about traditional Chinese medicine.

The current text presents the first 100 characters based upon frequency of use in medical texts, as well as an overall program designed to help the student acquire the necessary tools for building a thorough vocabulary. This first volume (in a series of five) presents the basics of Chinese characters along with the etymologies of the 100 most commonly seen characters. Designed as a workbook, it offers students practice in learning to read, recognize, and write the characters and provides the basic tools that students need to become familiar with the written language of Chinese medicine and thereby enrich their studies.This book is more than just a fine collection of practical instruction.

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: December, 1994
Paperback; 350 pages; 7 x 10; $19.95
Contains practice pages for each character.
Appendices; Index; Illustrations of traditional and simplified characters.
ISBN 0-912111-42-9
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