The Chinese Bible and Personal Books

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Posts 34
Matt | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Sep 8 2011 12:21 AM


Please forgive the length of this post. This is my first appearance on the Logos forums. I love Logos 4 and have already successfully formatted and compiled a 100+ page book using the Personal Books feature that looks and works great. My thanks to the Logos people for providing such a useful tool. I’ve also created a few test documents in the Chinese language and these personal books appear to function properly except for one glaring difficulty.

I've run into a limitation with Logos itself which did not become obvious until I tried to make a Chinese-English dictionary in Personal Books for use with the Logos Chinese Bible (The Holy Bible. Chinese Union Version. Shangti Edition, Traditional Script.). Normally the Logos word-lookup feature allows you to right-click a word (in a Bible or other book) and select a dictionary type resource from the menu in order to jump to its corresponding dictionary entry. For instance, in the ESV Bible if I right-click the word "beginning" (Gen. 1:1), I have the choice of looking this word up in various Bible dictionaries or English dictionaries. This works flawlessly in English because a single English word is a unique lexical entry that can be matched to the headword in a dictionary resource.

But in Chinese one character sometimes, BUT NOT ALWAYS, equals a lexical entry. For instance the character kuai4 () used by itself means “fast” and the character le4 () used by itself means “pleasure” but the two characters in combination form a third word (快樂 kuai4 le4) which means “happy.” This third meaning is different from—and independent of—its component characters. Most Chinese words are formed in just this way using two or more characters together in combination to form a unique word. So one must distinguish between a character (one single ideogram) and a word (a lexical unit carrying a unique meaning) which may be just one character or a combination of two or more characters.

The Chinese word for “beginning” in Genesis 1:1 of the CUV is 起初 (two characters). If I right-click the first of these characters (), I can select it and look up its meaning alone; if I right-click the second character (), I can look up its separate meaning as well. But there is no way to look up the combination 起初 which carries its true lexical meaning.

This problem is seen even more clearly with proper names in the Chinese Bible. The Chinese translators followed the principle of transliteration to translate names from Hebrew into Chinese. Therefore most names in the Chinese Bible are composed of multiple characters (most Hebrew names are polysyllabic). For instance Methuselah (Gen. 5:21), which is just one word in the English Bible, is in the CUV 瑪土撒拉 (ma3 tu3 sa la), a four character combination. It appears that at present Logos has no means of being able to distinguish a multi-character name or word in order to initiate a lookup in a corresponding language dictionary resource. I suspect that it may require some kind of markup in the Bible version itself ???

Of course there are currently no other Chinese language resources (lexicons, dictionaries, etc.) available to use with the Chinese Bible in Logos, but I would like to compile a Chinese-English dictionary in personal books. I’ve already created a short test dictionary and (voila) it appeared as a resource in the right-click menu (when I select a character which is contained in my test dictionary). The dictionary lookup feature works fine for single-character words (Logos opens the test dictionary and jumps to the correct location) but there is no way to look up multi-character words, which make up, in fact, the majority of the words in the Chinese language.

So it appears that at present there is no way to construct a Chinese dictionary for use with Logos!


Posts 278
Ben | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 8 2011 1:24 AM

" but I would like to compile a Chinese-English dictionary in personal books."

静候佳音Big Smile

2 Peter 3:18  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Posts 50
Eric S. Hatfield | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 8 2011 2:23 AM

I am preparing to study Chinese and I know enough already to see your issue.  My question is, when you compile the dictionary, can you pass it along to me.  I'll be happy to donate to the cause.



Posts 34
Matt | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 8 2011 4:37 AM

As a follow-up, here is the sample Chinese dictionary I'm using in .docx format. open it up and read the instructions, then compile it in PBB. (I hope this attachment works).

3808.Sample Chinese Dictionary.docx

Posts 1432
Tonya J Ross | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 8 2011 2:25 PM

This is a known issue in the program in general.  I've added a link to your thread in the existing case, but I don't have any information about when the issue will be addressed.

Posts 34
Matt | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 8 2011 6:02 PM

Thanks Tonya! I guess this project will have to go on the back burner until the technology catches up.

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