What is New in Version Four

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Wenlin 216x93.png Wenlin User’s Guide

This section provides an overview of features and updates
published in Wenlin Software for Learning Chinese, Version Four.

New In Wenlin 4.0

New in 4.0:

Wenlin 4.0 introduced many new and updated features, including:

  • Improved ABC Chinese-English dictionary with numerous additions and revisions. Chinese characters are included for all example sentences.
  • New high-quality ABC English-Chinese dictionary edited by John DeFrancis and Zhang Yanyin. (Available as a [book] from UH Press!)
  • Both Chinese and English entries are marked with grade levels {A}/{B}/{C}/{D}/..., based on graded word lists prepared by PRC specialists in teaching the two languages. Chinese vocabulary grade levels are based on Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK), the official test of Chinese proficiency.
  • Wenlin’s Zìdiǎn (字典 dictionary of Chinese characters) has been greatly improved and now includes for the first time a new electronic edition of the 2000 year-old Chinese dictionary, (说文解字) Shuōwén Jiězì (created by Richard Cook, including an 11,246-character Seal Script outline font.)
  • Flashcard improvements: support for words rather than only single characters; more flexibility about question types; a documented XML file format that could be shared with other software.
  • For Pinyin transcriptions of common Chinese words (grades A/B/C/D), changes in tone are indicated while preserving the original tone, using either a dot or a line below the vowel.
  • Text with sound: a sample dialog from the John DeFrancis textbook Beginning Chinese is included, with sound recordings for each sentence. Choose Sample Texts from the File menu.
  • Wenlin now allows users to open an unlimited number of separate resizable windows and sub-windows.
  • Right-click for pop-up menu for cut/copy/paste/look-up/pronounce; double-click for highlighting whole word.
  • Toolbar has new tools, a new appearance, and greater flexibility.
  • New commands: Recent Files/Words/Fonts (in the File, Dictionary, and Font menus, respectively).
  • New Search menu command: Search Dictionaries (like Search Files, but search the dictionaries). Search:Find/Replace now includes powerful Regular Expression (PCRE) support.
  • Full Unicode Unihan 6.0 support for more than 75,000 Chinese characters.
  • Users now have direct access to Wenlin’s CDL technology, including the ability to edit/create an unlimited number of custom Chinese characters.
  • New commands in the Options menu: Show/Hide Dictionary Items, for showing/hiding various dictionary details (like simple/full form characters, pinyin, English pronunciation, etc.); and Advanced Options, with several more things that can be customized for special uses.
  • Instant Look-up displays explanations of dictionary part-of-speech abbreviations.
  • Wenlin users now have access to the Wenlin Source Code (mostly in the C programming language), to help customize and improve the program. If interested, please contact Wenlin Institute for details.

New In Wenlin 4.1

New in 4.1:

Wenlin 4.1 contained new and updated features, including:

  • Availability both on CD-ROM and for downloading.
  • New flexibility in the location of required files (the “Tushuguan” folder), as described in Appendix C.
  • Updated Zìdiǎn (字典 Chinese character) dictionary.
  • Updated Cídiǎn (詞典 Chinese word) dictionary.
  • Updated Yīng-Hàn ( (英汉[-漢] English-Chinese) dictionary.
  • Updated Shuōwén Jiězì (说文解字 Ancient Chinese character) dictionary.
  • When the Simplified Characters option is turned off, full form characters are now shown in all English-Chinese entries and in all example sentences in Chinese-English entries.
  • The Stroking Box can now run without stopping, in parallel with any work you are doing in other Wenlin windows.
  • A new command in the Help menu: Check For Updates, for conveniently making sure you have the most recent version of Wenlin.
  • On Mac OS, the Help menu now provides this Guide in Apple Help form, conveniently searchable with the Spotlight tool.
  • Several new Advanced Options.
  • Complete Unicode 6.2 CJK character set support, including approximately 85,000 CDL descriptions.
  • Corrections for various defects in version 4.0.

New In Wenlin 4.2

New in 4.2:

Wenlin 4.2 contained new and updated features, including:

New in 4.2.1:

Wenlin 4.2.1 had updated dictionaries, and fixed some programming defects that were in version 4.2.0:

  • With the Brush tool, using the Ignore Stroke Order option produced random recognition results.
  • Classic character flashcards (.wenlinfc) were unusable.
  • In the Conversion bar, mouse click on the rightmost choice didn't work.
  • On Mac, menus weren't adjusted properly in the presence of dialogs.
  • In Flashcards, the Zìdiǎn @@ abridgment notation wasn't hidden.
  • On Mac, the Enter key wasn't handled the same as the Return key.

New in 4.2.2:

Wenlin 4.2.2 fixed a programming defect in the Search Files feature, for Windows only; and fixed other minor defects.

New In Wenlin 4.3

New in 4.3:

Wenlin 4.3 fixed programming defects in 4.2.2, including a problem with the Separate New Windows option. It also has new and updated features, including:

  • For the sound recordings of Mandarin syllables, MP3 format is used as a compact alternative to WAV. The complete set of MP3 files for all the Mandarin syllables takes only one fifth as much space (65 megabytes instead of 310 megabytes), while still providing great sound quality.
  • A new set of Fonts, called Source Han Sans is supported as a free download, with convenient new methods of selection.
  • The Show/Hide Dictionary Items dialog includes a checkbox: Replace ∼ (tilde) with the headword in dictionary example sentences. This works for Cídiǎn and Yīng-Hàn entries, including both Hanzi and Pinyin for Cídiǎn entries.
  • Regular expressions are now better supported, with a check box in the Find/Replace and Search dialogs. The checkbox facilitates the very useful regular expression features, which previously may been unknown to most users.
  • The 5,762 newly encoded Unihan Characters in Unicode CJK Extension E are now supported, following the publication of Unicode 8.0, and bringing the total number of CDL descriptions to 103,510.
  • Dragging the mouth tool across a string that includes two or more adjacent Hanzi results in pronouncing only the most likely Pinyin syllables based on context.
  • The List Character by Frequency window is easier to navigate. You can scroll all the way to the top and bottom easily, and can also type the number and the list scrolls according to what's typed. Formerly, only 500 lines were in the window, and when you got to the bottom you had to press a triangle button to get the next 500.
  • A Shift-click on the conversion bar arrow buttons, or Shift key plus (Page-)up/down arrow keys, skips to the beginning or end of the conversion list. This is useful for navigating long lists. If you know it's a rare character you're seeking, then you can jump to end of list and work backwards; or if you somehow missed the character early in the list, then you can easily jump right back to the beginning.
  • Dictionary windows include search web buttons, for direct access to search engines: Google, Google Translate, Baidu, Bing, and Yahoo.
  • Zìdiǎn entries include a new ▷Unihan button to display Unihan property data (if present). If you have a Unihan folder inside the Text folder (which is inside the Tushuguan folder), then the button calls up the property info for that Hanzi. If you don't have such a Unihan folder, then a window displays information including a link to download it, and installation instructions.
  • Cídiǎn entries include a new ▷words with ... button.
  • The path to sound files is remembered from one session to the next in user preferences. If you have the sound files in a non-standard location, for example, on an external flash drive, you can play one simply by dragging it onto Wenlin, or by opening one of the files in Wenlin. Formerly that sound path was remembered for the current session only. Now, we store the custom sound path in the user preferences, so that it remains active from one session to the next.

New in 4.3.1:

Wenlin 4.3.1 had updated dictionaries; fixes (another) programming defect in the Search Files feature, for Windows only; and improves the display of toolbar icons on Mac OS when a light-on-dark color scheme is in use.

New in 4.3.2:

Wenlin 4.3.2 has updated dictionaries; and has features needed to support a new add-on, the ABC Etymological Dictionary of Old Chinese (EDOC).

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