My Prisma Dutch-English Dictionary – Oops

The two Dutch language learning books I ordered arrived today; one’s a success, the other, not so much. The success is Assimil’s Dutch with Ease; I’ve little to say about it at this point, other than it looks as good as all of the other Assimil stuff I’ve used or am using currently.

The not-so-great success – okay, I’ll be honest, the failure – is a Prisma Nederlands-Engels dictionary. It’s for speakers of Dutch, but I figured as long as it gave the Dutch words with English translations, I’d be okay; I primarily wanted it to do word lists.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take one thing into consideration: I never imagined that just because it’s for native speakers of Dutch, that none of the Dutch noun genders would be listed. So while I can look up words while reading with it, I still won’t know whether they’re de or het nouns.

I requested the New Routledge Dutch Dictionary via OhioLINK at my university, and it came in today. It lists the genders of nouns, and seems like a really nice dictionary. Unless I can find something of similar quality with a similar price, I’ll probably be picking up a copy soon.

WordReference.com Now Has German and Russian Dictionaries

WordReference.com used to have a German dictionary, but for whatever reason, they had to take it down. If I remember correctly, the publisher of the dictionary decided they didn’t want WordReference.com to offer it for free.

I was pleasantly surprised, however, when I went to the site yesterday to look up a French word, and saw that they have a German dictionary again, as well as a new Russian one. This makes it so that the site now offers translations for:

Pretty cool.

For those wondering, the new German dictionary being offered is the Pocket Oxford-Duden German Dictionary (2008 version), and the Russian is the Pocket Oxford Russian Dictionary (2006 version).

A Free Online Monolingual German Dictionary

I discovered a free, monolingual German dictionary online a few days ago. It’s part of Das Digitale Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache des 20. Jh., or DWDS. You can access the dictionary, as well as word information and the text corpus which the information is based on, here. I’ve looked up a few words in the dictionary, and while the definitions can at times be quite short, sentences or snippets of text are shown to give the word some context.

If that’s not your cup of tea, but you still want to try a monolingual German dictionary, you might want to check out Langenscheidt’s Großwörterbuch: Deutsch als Fremdsprache. It’s now available in paperback as well as in CD-ROM format.

Lingro.com – Awesome Online Dictionary

I recently came across lingro.com through my ‘net travels, and while it could be improved in many areas, it’s already one of my favorite tools. While the site has a regular dictionary look-up, what I really love is the overlay feature (or “web viewer” as they call it). You go to lingro.com, select your target language, and enter a website URL; once the page loads, every word on the page is clickable. Click one, and a pop-up window appears with the meaning of the word. There’s also a toolbar at the bottom of the window that you can type a word into, to look up a word that isn’t on the page. (It’s also helpful to look up compound words, as many that are logical in nature don’t have a unique entry.) Here’s what it looks like:

Screenshot of Lingro.com in Action

Once you’ve made an account, Lingro keeps track of all of the words you look up. It also maintains a list of all of the sentences that the words appeared in, which makes it all that easier to add sentence items to your SRS application (I recommend Anki).

The site also has a rudimentary flashcard system, but it really is that: rudimentary. I’ve already poked the developers to add an “export” feature. 🙂

The dictionaries themselves are all open source, meaning they’re free, and they always will be. Furthermore, they’re largely user-built, so if you hit a word that isn’t in the dictionary you’re using, add it. If you’ve ever used the German dictionary dict.cc, Lingro works more or less the same way. The definitions aren’t always as good as you’d find in a commercial dictionary, but the ease of use – click the word, get a definition – still makes it a worthwhile tool.

Lingro currently has dictionaries for English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Polish and Swedish.

Grimms Deutsches Wörterbuch

I discovered through the WordReference Forums today that the whole Grimms Deutsches Wörterbuch, which consists of 32 volumes, is available for free online. The project page for this is here; the direct link to the dictionary itself is here.

The Grimms Deutsches Wörterbuch is rather like the Oxford English Dictionary, except that it’s for German (obviously). I’m not sure as to how helpful it would be in actual language learning, but I’m sure it’d still be fun to dig around through. You can read more about the dictionary and its history here.

The German equivalent to Merriam Webster?

I was wondering about something: why have I never seen the equivalent of a German Merriam Webster online?

For English, many commercial or professionally made dictionaries provide a free online version to anyone who wants to use it. The one that quickly jumps to my mind is the Merriam Webster online dictionary. For German, I’ve yet to see one – at least for native German speakers. Off the top of my head, the only German<->English dictionary that I can think of that is professionally created, available for free online, is PONS. However, there is no Langenscheidt Online, no Duden Online.
All of the other German<->English dictionaries that are online are user-created, dict.cc and dict.leo.org being the two major ones that I know of.

Are there dictionaries online for German speakers provided by German dictionary companies, or is the field a mere void? If so, I find that pretty odd.

Google Translate now has a dictionary

Google recently released their new dictionary feature on their translate page. While they offer fairly simple translations (and don’t give any contextual information about the translations – yet), something I thought was pretty cool was that they do offer a large number of “related phrases” for whatever you search for. For example, if you search for an English-German translation for “language”, for the translations, you get:

1. Sprache f 2. (Fach)Sprache f 3. ordinäre Sprache 4. Spr, Sprache

While I won’t list all of them (you can see all of them here), here are some of the related phrases that are offered:

Certainly, it needs a lot of work – plural forms aren’t given, irregular verbs aren’t marked, nor are the irregular forms given, etc. But I think it’s a good start, and the related phrases thing is nice, even if the definition section leaves a bit to be desired.

The languages available right now are:

  • French <-> English
  • German <-> English
  • Italian <-> English
  • Korean <-> English
  • Spanish <-> English