Category Archives: Dictionary
There is a surprisingly large number of dictionaries now available as add-ons, phone applications as well as dictionaries available for your Nintendo DS, PDA, and other hand-held devices. This review page will be slightly different. Rather than writing pros and cons, I’m simply going to list the items and their descriptions to save on reading space. The pros/cons will be obvious I think. ^^
If you happen to have a Nintendo DS then you’re in luck when it comes to studying Japanese. Not only is it not region coded (meaning you can buy games from all over the world in any language and the DS will play it, no matter where you bought your DS), but it has become very popular in the educational department. Lots of dictionaries, study aids, and games geared for learning have been made. I just happen to have one myself and its a lot of fun. I’ll get into more detail about using the DS as a learning tool in another article, for now though, I’m going to talk about a few very popular dictionaries.
This dictionary is my number one recommendation for DS Japanese multilingual dictionaries. Though it was originally made for Japanese people to learn English with, I find that it’s an amazing tool in reverse as well. Also, I know all the Japanese is correct too! Even though the interface is in Japanese, it’s very straight forward and you can use it without knowing any Japanese.
The following features come with it:
*Handwritten kanji/kana lookup *kana tables, *qwerty keyboard, *words looked up will show kanji and kana however in the description the dictionary does not have furigana, *saves several words looked up for easy backtracking, *sample sentences/usages, *text size change, *jump feature (kinda helps knowing Japanese to use this feature, ジャンプ is the button to press to use it).
Sadly though the jump feature will only jump through English words and not Japanese ones, so it’s not necessarily all that helpful. Neither is the feature to sound out English words. It also does not have many onomatopoeias, as well as sometimes there isn’t a clear definition of a Japanese word but rather just it used in context.
This dictionary is a great starting spot I feel because it helps get you in the monolingual mindset, which is where you want to be ASAP! I bought mine cheaper from Play Asia, even though I linked Amazon so you could compare.
My Japanese Coach
This is a very popular study tool out there, though I personally do not like it for its constant romaji. The dictionary attached with it however might be what you’re looking for with +/-12k words for roughly $20 could be useful to the beginner who may feel overwhelmed by the dictionary from above. It’s best feature is that you have audio of the words spoken by a native. That in itself is very valuable.
Sadly for the DS these are the only two multilingual dictionaries currently available for Japanese. There are more covered in the Monolingual page.
Tagaini Jisho is a free, open-source Japanese dictionary and kanji lookup tool that is available for Windows, MacOS X and Linux and aims at becoming your Japanese study assistant. It allows you to quickly search for entries and mark those that you wish to study, along with tags and personal notes. It also let you train entries you are studying and follows your progression in remembering them. Finally, it makes it easy to review entries you did not remember by listing them on-screen or printing them on a small booklet.
Tagaini Jisho also features complete stroke order animations for more than 6000 kanji.
rikaichan is a pop-up Japanese-English/German/French/Russian dictionary extension for Firefox.
- Simple to use, just hover the mouse on top of a Japanese word.
- Automatically de-inflects verbs and adjectives.
- Has an optional toolbar that allows you to manually type the word to lookup.
- Detailed kanji view shows meaning/keyword in English, on/kun readings, and other information.
- Hiragana, katakana and half-width katakana are treated the same making it possible to lookup stylized/emphasized words. (Polarcloud.com)
I love using Rikaichan myself, though I normally keep it disabled to save load times until I need it. Here is a pic of the pop-up.
Though probably less well-known than the others, this little add-on is really nice because it doesn’t just go from Japanese to English, but English to Japanese. It’s a pop up hint dictionary that you can save words to a list and later practice with a game called PenPen. It is also compatible with Korean and Chinese.
This is a really new add-on that’s hit the Mozilla world just this past December. It is very similar to the others as it is a pop up dictionary that also has the ability to add words to a study list. So far its been updated well, though there are claims that the names dictionary has issues. I could not find more specific information on it except that it uses a lot of the same dictionaries as Polarcloud.
If you know of anymore cool add-ons let us know in the comment box!
There are so many phone applications out there that are just crazy! A lot of them come standard with the phone (like the Droid) and some you have to pay for extra. If you are not studying with your smart phone then you need to get with the age! haha, these little buggers are an awesome tool for study Japanese.
There are tons of iPhone apps out there that are great for dictionaries. In fact, I found a site that already goes into great detail about various Iphone Japanese Dictionaries. Since the site also has great pictures of all the programs, I think it’d suffice it to just let you go look there. The dictionaries covered are: iEijiro, Kotoba, Japanese, PRG Eng-Jpn, ptsEjiro Viewer, ptsWeaijiro, SlovoEd Compact E-J/J-E, and Wisdom E-J/J-E.
Reference dictionary with the following:
Droid & Nexus One Support
Text to Speech Keywords
Dictionary & Wiki as backup!
Dictionary Words Update Online
Dictionary find closest match
Now with THESAURUS!
Whether it be a phone, pda, or something I don’t even know, there are a few dictionaries out there that are very versatile.
Though the link above goes to the Android’s app, supposedly this one can go no all sorts of hand-held platforms.
The Oxford Beginner’s Japanese Dictionary is the perfect tool for adult language learners who need basic vocabulary at their fingertips fast.
- Two way: Japanese-English/ English-Japanese;
- Over 10,000 words and 14,000 translations;
- Carefully selected vocabulary, suited to beginner level;
- Clear, accessible layout helps you find information easily;
- Handy explanations show you which translation to use;
- Japanese script throughout included;
- Extra information on grammar an usage;
- Plus a complete Learning and Lifestyle Kit to accelerate your learning and enjoy the lifestyle.
The Oxford Beginner’s Japanese Dictionary is here presented in MSDict electronic format. MSDict offers best experience in mobile reference and is available for any handheld platform.
- Quick dynamic search of words while you type
- Transcriptions facilitating pronunciation
- Hyperlinks between different related words
- History to see the last 50 words you have looked up
- Support of multiple dictionaries installed at a time
- Support for memory cards
I couldn’t find any reviews about this product, but $15 isn’t a lot to pay for it to test it yourself.
There are tons more multilingual dictionaries out there, these were just a highlight. If you’re looking for a dictionary for your smart phone, ds, pda, or such, simply type “your device’s name” and “Japanese dictionary”. Don’t get to caught up in this simply because you’ll want to convert to monolingual as soon as you’re comfortable.
A lot of people are really getting high-tech when it comes to dictionaries. Though perhaps not what I would consider the best use of your money, these dictionaries can come in mighty handy if you don’t already own a newer phone, pdaish like thing, or DS. Because of the overwhelming number of dictionaries out there like this, lets cover some of the standard stuff you should look for. It’s very similar to the books/internet needs but a little different.
*lots of vocabulary
*thorough Kanji information: pronunciation, definition (compound kanji too), radical/stroke count look up, etc.
*try to get JP scripts and not romaji
*good size/battery life/sturdy
Some extra features that may cost you a little more money but are very worth it is:
*ability to look up words in a definition by tapping on them-jumping features (stylus/interactive type)
*Japanese word games
There are a lot of brands out there, both made from US companies and Japanese ones. Though I ultimately feel this should be bought monolingual, if its something you’re dying to get now, well go for it. Some brands are Casio, Sharp, Zaurus, Canon, and Seiko. Because I personally have no experience with these little buggers and do not know any one who owns one, I’m afraid I cannot provide more detailed information. There are however lots of user reviews out there. Just make sure to research before buying, and please comment on yours: whats good/bad!
As to continue from my previous post on Dictionaries, the guidelines for finding hardback books apply in part to internet dictionaries too. One should also be very careful as to the source they’re pulling this online dictionary from too. Unlike printed mediums that have a lot of process and red tape to pass through, any ol’ body can put up a dictionary online and call it correct and good (not that this stops books from being lousy).
When in doubt, check a few sources. Nothing sucks worse than trying to unlearn a meaning that you already applied so heavily. Despite there being a few bad dictionaries out there, there are a lot of great places to find definitions for Japanese. In fact, you can find whole phrases, sentences, and so much more! I love the internet, btw, because of the immense amount of knowledge you can get free. (Of course, granting that you have a skeptical eye for ciphering out the garbage/lies.)
Also on a side note, I will not be discussing add-on programs that allow for streaming dictionaries in this post. This post is devoted to sites themselves. There will be another post later on that will talk about all the niffy cool add-ons like Rikaichan!
Also, all things covered must fit my internet guideline! FREE!
Dictionary Reviews: All-in-One Dictionaries
The following dictionaries kind of offer a one stop general world of yumminess in terms of many definition, kanji, sentences, and even sounds!
This dictionary I’ve recently stumbled across is actually really nice! It will translate both JP script and romaji. That alone is really nice of this dictionary. While this dictionary to me covers also being a Kanji dictionary, it’s a great stepping stone for a person to use when just starting out.
Another great thing about this resource is that there are several different categories that you can look up. Also, unlike a lot of other dictionaries, this one has a Japanese dictionary site that allows you to search words as if you were a Japanese person trying to learn English. Here is a sample from the English site when typing “にほんご” / “nihongo” from the kanji words section：
pronunciation: nihon, nippon
kanji characters: 日 , 本
translation: Japan, Nippon
日本の: nihonnno: Japanese (a.)
日本人: nihonjin: Japanese (people) <<< 人
日本語: nihongo: Japanese (language) <<< 語
日本晴れ: nihonbare: glorious [ideal] weather <<< 晴
日本刀: nihontou: Japanese sword <<< 刀
日本酒: nihonshu: sake <<< 酒
日本一: nihonnichi: the best, largest, highest in Japan <<< 一
日本海: nihonkai: the Sea of Japan, Japan Sea <<< 海
日本画: nihonga: Japanese painting <<< 画
日本製: nihonsei: made in Japan <<< 製
日本学: nihongaku: Japanology <<< 学
日本風: nihonhuu: Japanese style <<< 風
日本海流: nihonkairyuu: the Japan current <<< 海流
日本国籍: nihonkokuseki: Japanese nationality <<< 国籍
日本人形: nihonnningyou: Japanese doll <<< 人形
*Dictionary for Kanji words, Kanji characters, Katakana loan words, geography and travel related areas, history and tradition terms and subjects, manga and video games, as well as political and media terminology. (just can’t beat this for a free thing!)
*easy to use interface
*Can go into the Japanese section when you progress to step up game
*use of romaji for pronunciation of kanji (only for English site side, JP has kana for kanji pronunciation.)
*basic translations with no sample sentences or explanations for nuances
Probably one of the most well known internet dictionary writers for Japanese, Jim Breen offers a great multitude of stuff on his free webbie. To be honest, for me to list all the things this website offers would take a lot of time. I really recommend that you look at everything it offers, here are some highlights:
JP to Eng dictionary, Name dictionary, 23 other dictionary types for specific vocabulary, translation box, 22 different ways to look up kanji, a multi-radical kanji look up index, stroke count visual aids in video form, Example sentences search, ability to have new entries and amendments reviewed so the dictionary stays updated and correct, and several other features thrown around.
Sounds like a mouthful huh? Well it doesn’t stop there, to talk specifically about a great feature within the dictionary is sound files! And we’re not talking text to speech either, but rather real natives speaking! It’s wonderful really. So head on over and check out this pimp site.
*easy to use interface
*so many good things all rolled into one, this really counts for about 100 points! whee!
*kanji/kana script used
*versatility with a regularly updated database
*vocabulary for beginners and native like proficiency users
*ability to even customize the website for your liking! what’s better than that?
*romaji entries aren’t all that great, not interchangeable with kana/kanji it seems
*so many options at first it may seem a little overwhelming
http://jisho.org/：Denshi Jisho – Online Japanese Dictionary:
Another really great well-rounded online dictionary that is highly praised is the Denshi Jisho. They have the following things on their site:
Word search that shows kanji, kana, eng definition, sentences, kanji details, and external links where that word will be.
Kanji and kanji by radicals look up will show the following for each kanji, stroke count, kun,on, name readings, meanings in multiple languages, radicals and parts, how common, when its taught, links for words containing, beginning with, ending with and sentences using the kanji, codes for the kanji, as well as their indices in other dictionaries (like classic nelson, kanji in context, and kodansha’s).
Sentences will show the sentence in JP and Eng, with links for kanji details, external links where the sentence could appear, and you can report inaccuracies.
There is also a forum’s page and a very useful links page.
*really easy to use
*takes kana/kanji/romaji though all entries will appear in kana/kanji best to not use romaji
*easy on the eyes color scheme
*versatile and large database
*romaji doesn’t always work well
*sentence examples are a bit stiff and not as native sounding as they could be
*is a hobby project that sometimes is put on the backburner to real life and needed money, though in my opinion it doesn’t lack credibility at all (donate to make better hehe)
Dictionary Reviews: Word Dictionaries
This dictionary is really useful for internet terminology, or pretty much all IT computer related terms. When you’re starting to search around on the internet you’ll notice a lot of terms now being used that’re not always clear because you’ve only learned the English equivalents. This is also a really nice resource if you’re changing your os into a JP one. Also remember that this dictionary is for Computer related terms only. It is not a general dictionary. Here is an excerpt:
分野 ： //
*English term, JP term, acronyms, related words, definition, and links in the definition for words that may be unknown as well.
*easy to use, quick and easy indexes
*English page as well (scroll to the bottom)
*New terms added all the time (shown in a bar on the left)
*top most selected words for searching shown in bar on left
*JP page has more links to related news, media, ect.
*to get multilingual abilities, it times hoping around between to pages
While not one of my favorite online dictionaries, this one might seem a bit more friendly to the absolute beginner. Perhaps while you’re studying kanji/kana you’re hearing a word over and over again and just don’t know how to find it in a real dictionary, this one can come in handy. Since the dictionary is in romaji only, it’s going to hold you back if you use only this. I’d recommend as soon as you know your Kana, to switch dictionaries fast.
As for its word credibility, so far its seemed decent when I did use it. There is a good limit though on the number of entries I’ve noticed. A simple word like blood can confuse you because the three definitions aren’t always interchangeable with the word blood in every context.
*For absolute beginners with no ability to use kanji/kana
*easy to use interface
*limited definitions, no explanations on words
*romaji only, cannot look up words in Japanese text.
*some romaji spellings are wrong!
For a great simple to use dictionary that is JP-Eng and visa versa, the Free Online Bidrectional English-Japanese Dictionary is nice. Here is an excerpt and explanation of their entries from their website:
This dictionary is based on EDICT by Jim Breen and is powered by ALISE (A Little Internet Search Engine). PSP is offering free use of this dictionary as a public service to all internet users and as an example ALISE’s power and capabilities.
Word 1 Word 2 Description にほんご 日本語 Japanese language にほんごきょうほん 日本語教本 Japanese text book(s) にほんごのうりょくしけん 日本語能力試験 test of Japanese language ability にほんごワープロ 日本語ワープロ Japanese word-processing
As you can see, theirs is in an easy to read table format
*kana!!, kanji, and English definition
*easy to use interface
*several words and usage for a single entry (see how nihongo/にほんご showed several things you could have been looking for)
*cannot use romaji to look up words
*must have the ability to input JP script (or just can copy and paste if able )
Dictionary Reviews: Kanji Dictionaries
As before, Kanji Dictionaries are dictionaries that focus on teaching the kanji as a separate entity, with radicals, on/kun readings, stroke counts, common compounds and so forth. These dictionaries are not really focused on how they’re used, specific definitions, ect, but rather if you come across a random kanji you’ve never seen before.
Though I wouldn’t claim that this is one of my most favorite dictionaries, I do like it for the drawing diagrams. It shows three types: printed, calligraphy, and common pencil drawn form.
*shows different types of kanji’s forms
*various types of search engines
*a bit difficult to use
*extensive with kanji but not with its dictionary side (hence why i only listed it here in the kanji dictionary section)
*limited information on the kanji
*not compatible with romaji
This next dictionary is a very nice one too. It’s basically sorted by radicals in a convenient left hand frame with all kanji’s that have that radical. It delivers as a kanji dictionary and offers a great resource of compounds. I really like that part of the dictionary. Though the layout is a little messy, Kiki’s got good intentions and I would like to see how it develops over time.
*good information on kanji
*easy look up system in frames
*kana, kanji no romaji
*disorganized front page
*no sample sentences with kanji
*no romaji imputing
*not many ways to look up kanji
While this may have seemed like a lot of dictionaries to look at, there are countless more out there. Never stop looking around for what may be the next newest, best, dictionary out there. For multilingual dictionaries however, these are really popular and will give you a great start! Stay tuned for Dictionaries Part III – Internet (monolingual).
Welcome to the start of my reviews on tools. I’ll be covering a large variety of programs, games, websites, books, and such to help you out on your journey in learning Japanese. I will do my best to layout how to use, get, or find the tools and what people are saying about them. Though some of these tools will be lumped together, don’t forget that you can still go out and research any of them even easier. So without further ado…
Why have thou forsaken me bookstore!
One of the most common places to look for Japanese dictionaries is a bookstore. We all assume that walking down those isles of tightly bounded books written by experts and lovers of knowledge would certainly provide what we need in learning a language. Surely!
While some bookstore probably, maybe will, I know that in my experience, it really hasn’t got what is best. There are some tools though that you may find in your favorite place of places, but feel free to break through the physical world and go into one of the best resources out there, the internet.
Since there are so very many different forms for dictionaries right now, and a lot of resources out there in each format, I’m going to cover Paperbacks first. The other formats (like hand held devices, internet, and gaming systems) will come later. This also includes Japanese to Japanese dictionaries. There is just so much to cover!
This is most likely the first resource that will pop into your mind. Who can learn a new language without that good ol’ love-able dictionary? This is easy enough to figure out, but how do you know the dictionary you’re picking up is worth the money you’re going to pay? Researching online is really convenient, but make sure to ask yourself the following questions to see if it is a keeper:
-Does this dictionary have English to Japanese/Japanese to English? (seems simple enough but you’d be surprised, one way dictionaries aren’t always the most helpful.)
-Does this dictionary use Kanji and Kana? (Romaji is the devil. If you’re looking at a dictionary that doesn’t use kanji/kana but only romaji, set it down and run in the opposite direction. While it wouldn’t hurt for romaji to be there -in addition- you’d really want it to be there, not at all.)
-Does it have a wide variety of words? (This one is a lot harder to tell, pocket dictionaries are cute to carry on the go, but honestly, they’re not always beneficial. Use those kinds for supplement, but you really want to buy a dictionary that is large with many many Common words. Think of some words you use a lot and see if they’re in there!)
-Does this Kanji dictionary provide me with all the information I need: (You need to find one with readings, stroke order, etymology, common compounds, and references. This is an important addition to a regular dictionary because you may see a new kanji and want to know more but can’t figure out how to find it in your dictionary.)
-Is this dictionary mono-lingual? (Once you have some exposure into the language you’ll really want to try switching over to a mono-lingual dictionary. That’s just fancy talk for saying a Japanese dictionary for Japanese speakers, no English at all. It’s kinda like how when you were in middle school looking up new English words in an English dictionary.)
-Is the order traditional to Japanese or English in the Japanese listings? (If you didn’t know, Japanese dictionaries are ordered by kana (あ、い、う、え、お、か、き、く, ect) rather than our traditional a, b, c, d… Though this isn’t as important in a multi-lingual dictionary, you do want to make sure your mono-lingual one is in the traditional format for Japanese.)
Dictionary Reviews: Word Dictionaries
Kodansha’s Furigana: Japanese – English Dictionary/English – Japanese Dictionary:
There is actually three books of this kind. One is a Japanese to English only, then an English to Japanese, and one that combines both books. All three of these are considered really great for a beginner before monolingual. The reason this is pretty pimp for beginners is there is furigana (kana that shows pronunciation) on all the kanji. This means you can begin to already decipher words you hear without worrying if the kanji is correct. Kondansha’s products themselves are very versatile and the company is known for its reliability in correct presentation of information. Another really great thing about these dictionaries is they offer sentence examples of the word. This is especially nice if you’re doing AJATT. So a quick sum:
*furigana over all kanji
*easy layout, easy to read and understand
*example sentences of some words
*decent number of words covered for beginners
*if you get one way dictionaries, might be a hindrance
*a little pricey
*limited entries compare to some other dictionaries
Random House Japanese English – English Japanese Dictionary:
Random House’s dictionary is probably one of the second most picked dictionaries out there for Japanese learning. Random House of course has a name for itself that is pretty reliable. Though there is a lot of disadvantages to this dictionary, it is said to have over 50,000 entries.
*lots of entries geared towards meeting all levels versus just one
*contains both Eng-JP and JP-Eng
*easy to follow in the English section
*romaji crutch for those needing it
*more Eng-JP entries than JP-Eng entries
*use of romaji extensively, no furigana
*no sample sentences
Langenscheidt’s Pocket Dictionary: Japanese/English English/Japanese
Like the Random House’s dictionary, Langenscheidt’s dictionary one is very similar in its romaji setup, kanji, with no furigana. This one however has more references and some sentences and explanations. Though it is meant for on the go, and has limited entries, its still well rounded and praised by people buying them.
*best praised variety of words that include modern/slang types
*on the go, sturdy construction
*romaji crutch for those needing it
*stroke count kanji list, kana chart
*both Jp-Eng, Eng-JP
*use of romaji extensively, no furigana
*can’t use kanji look-up if you don’t know stroke count of kanji
*compact size makes print smaller, less overall words
Oxford Beginner’s Japanese Dictionary:
I must say for a beginner’s dictionary, Oxford Beginner’s Japanese Dictionary is kinda impressive due to how its setup.
*JP to Eng side is in traditional JP order
*kana symbols, phrase finder, culture/social guide, dates, and more covered
*blue print for JP makes it easier to read for some
*various terms meant strictly for beginner learning
*doesn’t take you to advanced level
*some explanations are very limited, sometimes unclear
*limited vocabulary due to size
*very little kanji
Dictionary Reviews: Kanji Dictionaries
So far we’ve covered dictionaries that are based on finding words you hear or finding words that correlate to the English word you already know. Now we’re going to talk about a group of dictionaries that serve the purpose of teaching more about a specific kanji. I’m going to start out with my absolute favorite one(though it sadly has one major flaw) that I use myself.
Also a word to those who may not understand such, but a Kanji Dictionary is not made to be a way to go about learning kanji (like RTK) but rather is a reference guide to find/understand kanji you may not remember/have never seen before and its common compounds. Trying to use these books to learn kanji would be like trying to get an pig to fly.
The Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Dictionary:
To sum up this awesome addition to your bookshelf:
o 2,230 entry characters, including all the kanji in the Joyo and Jinmei Kanji lists
o 41,000 senses for 31,300 words and word elements show how each character contributes to the meanings of compounds
o 1,200 homophones with core meanings explain differences between closely related characters
o 386 variant forms used in prewar literature and in names
o 1,945 stroke order diagrams show you how to write each kanji stroke by stroke
o 7,200 character readings, including name readings
o Over 2,000 cross-references and five appendixes give instant access to a mass of useful reference data
All those numbers seem so overwhelming, but it really just equals out to easy mode once you realize how simple the dictionary is. However, there is argument to the ease of the ‘SKIP’ system that it uses. I find it straightforward, but some people argue that its rather hard to use. So far in my studies I’ve not come across a single kanji that it didn’t have. That doesn’t mean that they’re all in there, by no means, just that it really covers the most useful kanji out there (and I am more of a beginner than I am an advanced learner so far lol).
*lots of features
*detailed information on stroke count, meaning, vocabulary, ect.
*durable binding and smaller book
*beginner-intermediate user’s level, some advanced
*inexpensive considering Kodansha’s overall quality
*multicolored is helpful to some
*It uses romaji for sounds, though it will show the kanji/kana counterpart, there is no furigana, it major downfall sadly
*difficult for some to use
*is not the Kanji dictionary for an advanced language learner
*is not a substitute for a standard dictionary people!
*some claim the multicolored font is distracting
The New Nelson Japanese-English Dictionary:
If you’re not familiar with the original Nelson dictionary (which is currently out of print), then it might be a little easier for you to look at the New Nelson Dictionary without any preconceived feelings about how it should be. That said, this kanji dictionary has a lot of haters and lovers all wrapped up in one. Though the original seems to have a lot more popularity, it is extremely outdated.
*high quality entries
*more for advanced users than beginners (ie. no stroke counts)
*meant as pure reference as a reader
*quality book build, sturdy, easy to read
*has a compact version that packs punch
*system of looking up kanji is debated to be extremely hard
*not meant for ease to beginner learners
*not as thorough as older edition, some desire more kanji.
*large and cumbersome book
NTC’s Japanese-English Character Dictionary:
NTC’s Character dictionary does not have many complaints on its layout or entries, and receives a fair amount of praise out there.
*Lots of information that is helpful to beginners-advanced users (stroke count, phrases, cross references, compounds, ect.)
*sometimes contain detail explanations of meanings
*multiple ways to look up kanji for the quickness
*shows alternate way to draw the character out to help you read (print, pen, ect)
*large and heavy
*limited on number of kanji covered overall compared to some other kanji references
*the look up systems are not like the JP-JP kanji dictionaries, you’d have to learn new system
As it stands your head may be spinning, considering these resources are only the tip of the iceberg as to what is out there in paperback that is multilingual. Fear not though, you can never go wrong with just trying something out. I often give the advice of get it free if you can (ie, try to find someone who use to study Japanese that will hand over materials), but if not, used bookstores, and buying used online is second best. I have found a lot of the used books I’ve ordered through places like Amazon always are in good quality, and super cheap!
I wouldn’t recommend buying a lot of dictionaries that are multilingual either. If you have lots of internet access throughout the day, you really only need one for on the go anyways. There are lots of dictionaries online that are super useful, though if you’re on a trip of some kind or at school without internet, or your internet goes down for a bit (or hell your computer crashes and burns into a firey pit!) you don’t wanna be caught without a dictionary.
Also, you’ll be upgrading to a monolingual in no time anyways, so don’t worry about finding the “best of the best of the best” in your initial step. Once you’re further in the language you’ll know what you want and how you feel finding things. Good luck and stay tuned for Dictionaries Part II – Internet (multilingual).