Electronic dictionaries (電子辞書 denshi-jisho?) are small handheld computers with integrated reference materials. While their main use is Japanese-Japanese reference, most Japanes Market models feature several types of internal dictionaries. Japanese-English and English-Japanese dictionaries, Japanees Market as well as in-depth kanji dictionaries, are also standard for most models.
A pocket-sized Japnese Market electronic dictionary
Some electronic dictionaries are geared towards Jappanese Market translation into foreign languages, containing Chinese, German, French, Spanish, Korean, Japanse Market or several English dictionaries. Models may also have memory card slots that can be used for database expansion.
Internal dictionaries Japannese Market are often from several publishers. For example, Japanee Market a single electronic dictionary may contain a Japanese Kojien Apanese Market dictionary, an Oxford English dictionary, and a Kenkyusha Reader's English-Japanese dictionary. The "jump" function, Japaese Market also known as "skip-search", allows users to move between the dictionaries when looking up words.
- 1 History
- 2 Standard Japamese Market features
- 3 Makers and Models of Electronic Dictionaries
- 3.1 Canon
- 3.2 Casio
- 3.3 Sharp
- 3.4 Seiko
- 3.5 Instant-Dict
- 4 External Japanesee Market Japnaese Market Jpanese Market links
The first electronic dictionary produced for the Japanese market appeared in 1979 under the name Pocket Electric Translating Machine (ポケット電訳機 Poketto Denyakuki?). Physically, it was very similar to the electronic dictionaries produced today. Due to the high price of memory chips, the model was quite expensive. However, it was praised for its speed and efficiency. Several major Japanese electronics manufacturers now produce their own versions of the machine.
As the market for electronic dictionaries expanded through the 1980s and 1990s, there have been claims that the rise of the electronic dictionary has caused damage to the Japanese market for paper dictionaries. In 2002, Casio alone sold approximately 2.8 million electronic dictionaries, whereas the domestic market for paper dictionaries stood at 10 million copies. Although this indicates a decrease of 5 million copies when compared with the paper dictionary market in 1992, paper and electronic dictionaries continue to share general use in Japan. Companies producing paper dictionaries have searched for more specialized market niches as a result of these developments.
Electronic dictionaries resemble miniature clamshell laptop computers, complete with full keyboards and LCD screens. Because they are intended to be fully portable, the dictionaries are battery-powered and made with durable casing material.
Some features are likely to be found on every model of electronic dictionary. These include a Japanese-Japanese dictionary, Japanese-English and English-Japanese dictionaries, and a kanji dictionary in which characters can be found by stroke count, radical, or phonetic value. Some knowledge of Japanese is necessary for use of these features, as Japanese words appear in kanji, katakana, and hiragana) rather than rōmaji.
Top models may also include a Classical Japanese dictionary, medical or legal dictionaries, Japanese and English thesauri, an English-English dictionary, travel dictionaries, dictionaries of idioms and colloquialisms, a dictionary of foreign words used in Japanese, stroke order animations, voice output, pen entry for kanji and kana, language-learning programs, a calculator, PDA-like organizer functions, encyclopedias, or rechargeable lithium batteries.
Makers and Models of Electronic Dictionaries
The Canon, Casio, Sharp, and Seiko companies dominate the electronic dictionary market in Japan. Japanese-Chinese dictionaries are also available from Chinese and Taiwanese producers. While older models were exclusively aimed at Japanese customers, current products such as the Canon Wordtank series are also used by non-native Japanese speakers and beginning students of Japanese.
Canon currently has 12 models of electronic dictionary on the market in Japan. Of these, two are for Japanese-Chinese translation, two are designed for study, three are for Japanese-English translation, three are "compact" style, and two are primarily for Japanese-only use. At present, Canon is the only company offering English-language manuals for its products.
The Canon Wordtank models are the most popular among English speaking Japanese language learners. The reason why is that Canon is the only maker with models that offer English menus and English reference guides. Canon models also include stroke-order animations, useful for learning how to write the kanji. This feature appears to be unique to Canon.
Casio currently has 27 models on the market in Japan. They contain a range of specialized functions, including Chinese, Korean, Italian, German, and English translation, Buddhist terminology dictionary, and features for both study and daily use. Several models of Casio dictionaries come with slots for inserting data cards containing additional, specialized dictionaries.
Sharp currently has 15 models on the market in Japan. They contain features for English and Chinese translation, features designed for business, study, daily life, and travel. Several models contain the contents of Japanese encyclopedias, as well.
Seiko currently has 23 models on the market in Japan. Nine are designed for daily use, five for Japanese-English translation, seven for other foreign languages, and two for high schools students. Several models of Seiko dictionaries come with slots for inserting data cards containing additional, specialized dictionaries. The Seiko RM-2000 was the only dictionary available that was marketed specifically to English speakers just starting to study Japanese. It was based on the Kenkyusha Romanized English-Japanese/Japanese-English Dictionary but is no longer being manufactured.
Instant-Dict, an English/Chinese electronic dictionary, first launched in Hong Kong in 1989 which has since become the leading consumer brand in the Greater China market. Instant-Dict manufactured by Group Sense (International) Limited currently has 14 models on the market in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore. Several models of Instant-Dict dictionaries come with slots for inserting data cards containing additional, specialized dictionaries. One model has built-in camera.
- Report on the Current Generation of Japanese denshi jisho - Nov 2005
- Guide des dictionnaires électroniques de japonais (epwing) - Oct 2004
- Japanese-English Electronic Dictionaries - 2004?
- Results of a questionnaire on electronic dictionary usage in Japan
- Instant-Dict - Hong Kong
- Instant-Dict - China
- Instant-Dict - Taiwan
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