By: Nigel Wiseman and Ye Feng
Whether using the Practical Dictionary as a source of terminology, as an editorial support, or to learn how the Chinese define their terms, understanding the indexing philosophy is worthwhile. The index is huge, nearly 200 pages. It includes every term, book, medicinal, formula, acupoint and western medical correspondence found in the text. The authors designed it as a translators' glossary to save translators and scholars the need to buy a stand-alone gloss. Because the definitions section is organized like a standard dictionary, there is no need to use the index for English terms. Thus, the index is organized for those who begin their search in Chinese. For example, if you look for ``dispersion'' in the index, you won't find it. But, you will find xiao in the first tone, the three characters and terms associated with it, as well as xiao in the first tone followed by fa in the third tone, all of which are linked to ``disperse,'' or ``dispersion.''
So, for English, search directly in the text. For Chinese, you can begin in the index. However, because the Pinyin entries are listed in alphabetical order by tone (1, 2, etc.) in both the index and definitions sections, you can begin in either depending upon your need for defintion. If you know neither the Chinese nor the English for a term, you can still find it reasonably fast. Just find the definition for a related body-part, pattern or symptom. Once there, check for words in small capitals. These are further entries. Also look for the labels ``Compare, Synonym,'' and ``See.'' These are cross references to related definitions. The abbreviations ACU, MED, TRT and WMC which appear in small boxes point to treatment-related references such as acupoints, medicinals, formulas and western medical correspondences. For example, if you want a defintion or treatment but know neither the Chinese nor the English for a term related to urination, look under ``urine.'' There you will find references to associated symptoms, patterns, and treatments.
For every search, the shortest route depends upon what you know and what you need to know.
If you know the functional class of a medicinal, and need only the nomenclature, look in Appendix II.
If you know the functional class of a formula, and need only the nomenclature, look in Appendix III.
If you know the latin, Chinese or English for a medicinal, and need only the nomenclature, use the index.
If you know the Chinese or English for a formula, and need only the nomenclature, use the index.
If you know the Chinese or English for an acupoint, and need only the nomenclature, use the index.
If you know the channel for an acupoint, and need only the nomenclature, look in Appendix IV by aphanumeric designation.
If you know the English for term, look in the text itself in aphabetical order, regardless of whether you need the nomenclature or the defintion.
If you know only the Chinese for a term, look in the index first.