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The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

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The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby clay » Thu 08.09.2007 1:39 pm

Believe it or not, a friend of mine is in talks with a major electronic dictionary maker about making an electronic dictionary specifically for those learning Japanese. As you may know, electronic dictionaries now, while useful for those learning Japanese, are made mainly for native Japanese speakers learning English.

He would like input from the Japanese learning world about what features/functions you would like to see. In other words, what would be the ‘perfect’ electronic dictionary for English speakers learning Japanese (all levels)?

Here are a few features that are open for discussion:

-kanji input (by stylus)
-the Kenkyusha 5th edition J-E dictionary (simply the best)
-a quality J-J, E-E, and E-J dictionary
- perhaps a children's level J-J dictionary
- backlighting
- the main feature: the ability to display furigana for all the kanji on the screen
- search feature to show a list of kanji compounds for a given kanji in any position
- menus in Japanese and English (user-selectable)
- maybe the Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary

Can anyone think of anything else? Any of these ideas good / bad?
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby RpgN » Thu 08.09.2007 2:03 pm

Make it for the ds so that people can take it on the go, also the ds has a handy stylus. I'm not sure if your friend can do that though...
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby richvh » Thu 08.09.2007 2:40 pm

Dedicated electronic dictionaries are just as portable as a DS, and that's what Clay's talking about.
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby Teh_Freak » Thu 08.09.2007 3:00 pm

Having text read to the user would be a great feature (kinda like the system developed by PENTAX), but that may get pretty pricy.
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby Daiki » Thu 08.09.2007 3:03 pm

To put it simply, an english version of this:

http://www.thejapanshop.com/product.php?productid=17162
Last edited by Daiki on Thu 08.09.2007 3:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby hungryhotei » Thu 08.09.2007 3:17 pm

I think that a kanji dictionary with an animated stroke order would be really beneficial.
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby clay » Thu 08.09.2007 7:02 pm

Thanks! Animated stroke order is something I forgot. A lot of people love that.

Of course Japanese pronunciation (speech) is possible, but is it really necessary? Japanese pronunciation is so regular. Any opinions?

When (if) you use an electronic dictionary, what features do you use the most or wish it had?
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby hungryhotei » Thu 08.09.2007 7:25 pm

clay wrote:
- search feature to show a list of kanji compounds for a given kanji in any position


I often use a similar feature on my current dictionary (searching for compounds starting with a certain kanji in 漢字源) but find it to be quite inefficient since I usually have to scan through pages of compounds to find the one I want and occasionaly they are not even listed. I normally use this feature when I am struggling with unusual readings, so what would be very useful would be the ability to enter more than one kanji. For example, if I came across the word 小豆 and wanted to look it up, it would be much easier if I could search for compounds starting with 小豆 than with compounds starting with 小.

clay wrote:
Of course Japanese pronunciation (speech) is possible, but is it really necessary? Japanese pronunciation is so regular. Any opinions?


Personally, I would not want to pay much extra for speech recordings. Having a dictionary on it with pitch accent marks could be useful though.
Last edited by hungryhotei on Thu 08.09.2007 7:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby tanuki » Thu 08.09.2007 7:56 pm

Example sentences.
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby Harisenbon » Thu 08.09.2007 8:07 pm

Flash Card Options (Ala Stackz!)

If there was a dictionary with flash card capability, I'd pick it up in an instant.

an SD card reader would also be nice (for updating dictionaries/custom dictionaries/ exporting flashcards, etc)
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby clay » Thu 08.09.2007 8:36 pm

Flash Card Options (Ala Stackz!)


Now that is an excellent suggestion. (not that the others aren't!)

Similarly, I would like to have a true testable word memo function. Most dictionaries simply list words you save in the word memo. It would be nice to have quiz/flashcard options too.

Example sentences.


The Kenkyusha J-E has a plenty!
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby whiterabbit » Thu 08.09.2007 9:24 pm

tanuki wrote:
Example sentences.


The Kenkyusha J-E dictionary mentioned in the OP is full of usage phrases and example sentences.
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby whiterabbit » Thu 08.09.2007 9:27 pm

Harisenbon wrote:
Flash Card Options (Ala Stackz!)

If there was a dictionary with flash card capability, I'd pick it up in an instant.

an SD card reader would also be nice (for updating dictionaries/custom dictionaries/ exporting flashcards, etc)


What would the flashcards program do? Can you describe how it would work? I guess you want to randomize a word list and cycle through showing the word and then the definition from one of the onboard dictionaries, like you can do with the Canon Wordtank G55?

If "exporting flashcards" would entail exporting pages of dictionary content, I don't think that will be an option.
Last edited by whiterabbit on Thu 08.09.2007 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby whiterabbit » Thu 08.09.2007 9:31 pm

Daiki wrote:
To put it simply, an english version of this:

http://www.thejapanshop.com/product.php?productid=17162


Daiki, I think what the Japanese language learners really desire is ruby for all the kanji in the defs.
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby Harisenbon » Thu 08.09.2007 10:30 pm

whiterabbit wrote:
What would the flashcards program do? Can you describe how it would work? I guess you want to randomize a word list and cycle through showing the word and then the definition from one of the onboard dictionaries, like you can do with the Canon Wordtank G55?

If "exporting flashcards" would entail exporting pages of dictionary content, I don't think that will be an option.


I think the fastest way would just be to look at the stackz! page. It's one of the best flashcard programs I've seen out there (I actually paid money for it, and bought a pocket PC to be able to use it on the road. I haven't used a paper flashcard in over 2 years)

Their site is horrid, but here's the description of how the flashcards work http://stackz.com/Stackz/stz.htm
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