This dictionary adopts the International Phonetic Alphabet to Romanize the Minnan dialect and is arranged alphabetically by Minnan pronunciation. A few modifications have been made to facilitate typesetting. In the Minnan phonological system described below, each initial and final is illustrated by example characters. A single underlining of the character indicates the colloquial reading of the word, while a double-underlining indicates the literary reading of the word.
As a dialect dictionary, this book includes only words unique to Minnan, rather than words also found in Mandarin. The bulk of the Minnan vocabulary presented here is based on the Xiamen dialect. A small number of Taiwanese words are also included, and they are specified as such.
The Minnan dialect has the most extensive system of paired readings, which are normally referred to as literary and colloquial readings. Literary readings are usually used in reading literary texts or in more erudite speech, while the colloquial readings are used for casual speech and in informal settings. These paired readings of the same word are distinguished and marked throughout the text.
Whenever possible, simplified Chinese characters are used in the dictionary. However, due to the rareness of some characters and to computer font limitations, the complex forms are occasionally used.