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The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Have a textbook or grammar book that you find particularly helpful? What about a learning tip to share with others?

RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby Tspoonami » Thu 08.09.2007 11:41 pm

An espresso machine and a dry bar!

(I couldn't help it...)
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby Koryo » Fri 08.10.2007 12:21 am

whiterabbit wrote:
tanuki wrote:
Example sentences.

The Kenkyusha J-E dictionary mentioned in the OP is full of usage phrases and example sentences.

1. Indeed, but it's a far cry from a fully searchable collocation database like the Bank of English and the 英辞郎. And although this could be changed on the dictionary end, in typical implementations, you can't search it. You can only view the given examples for a headword. With a good collocation database you should be able to search the entire database for given pieces. E.g., ていたら

One note: while the 英辞郎 would be very useful for a Japanese speaker learning English, it's usefulness is much more limited the other was around since the source language is generally English, and the purpose of a collocation database is to provide completely native word context. I.e., not just, "Oh, but this was translated into language X by a native."

On a related note, can anyone confirm that all the example sentences in the Kenkyusha 和英大辞典 are translated from the Japanese? I had assumed this was the case, but some entries have a seemingly disproportionate number of examples using 彼, etc. and this feels odd.

2. More dynamic searching. You should be able to search all headwords, readings, and examples of all dictionaries with wildcards if you so choose. As miniature computing advances, this is becoming more and more feasible to implement in an electronic dictionary.

3. An option for automatic de-inflection when searching, including casual inflections and contractions that beginners initially have difficulty recognising. E.g., so that かいとく finds 書く. This would be especially nice in conjunction with superjump-type features. On at least Casio's new dictionary, if you see 掛けたり in one definition, you can't use superjump to get to 掛ける.

4. I'll add more ideas if I think of any.
Last edited by Koryo on Fri 08.10.2007 12:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby Infidel » Fri 08.10.2007 1:39 am

1. Kodansha's Communicative E-J dictionary. That other may be the best J-E, but this is the best E-J.
2. A hard rugged non-plastic case. My books that I carry with me everywhere are very tore up.
3. Built in vocabulary lists organized by theme. Shopping, Emergencies, telling time, etc,. Like my Barron's Japanese Vocabulary pocket book.
4. Vocabulary lists and Kanji lists based on the 4 JLPT tests and by Grade and possibly, by chapter for some of the major Educational texts, like Genki.
5. Pitch markers. Preferably bold-non bold or Large case, lower case rubi to depict high-low rather than a simple accent marker. I was impressed how much easier it was to learn pitch accents with Japanese Step-by-Step with its upper-case/lower-case approach.
6. The dictionary should also note the standard vs. non-standard written forms, and perhaps when. Thus, if there is a kanji but it is normally written in kana, except in formal letters, then there should be a notation. That way students don't learn bad habits.
7. A flash card program that uses Pimsleur like or Kanji-Gold like timing to determine repetition rate. The program would have kana/english, kanji/english, and kanji/kana modes, all reversible using the vocabulary lists above as well as a moderate and hard mode that ignores the generated lists and concentrates on words the user has previously had trouble with. A hint option would be good too. So can hit "hint" and get an example sentence with the word.
8. It would be very nice if looking up a kanji also showed another kanji that is often confused with it.
9. Personal vocabulary list that remembers the last 100 words you looked up, and automatically adds them to your flashcard program.
10. Semi-cursive examples and look-up would be great too for those of us that try to read handwriting.
11. A conjugation breakdown like we get with jdic when we hit [v]
12. Onomatopoeia should be included in the vocabulary lists.
13. Inclusion of most contractions, because they seriously trip up the new student.
14. A lot of kanji are small and hard to make out, or blurry in a picture, or even have no apparent radical so it could help if lookup is a bit forgiving. Maybe an "expand search" option, so that if the first list doesn't have the kanji, it uses some fuzzy logic to list alternate kanji that would look similar if the font was small or blurry. If stylus entry is used, then it should forgive the stroke order and look only at the end shape after hitting expand.
15. A particle guide.


that's off the top of my head, I'll probably think of something else later.
Last edited by Infidel on Fri 08.10.2007 2:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 08.10.2007 9:04 am

One other thing to keep in mind is cost; if everything that everyone is suggesting were put into a dictionary you might end up with a $500 unit; sure, it might be worth that, but I don't know how many people would be willing to pay that much.
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby Tux » Fri 08.10.2007 3:23 pm

Hi!

What I would have liked is a camera and a pattern recognition program so I could take a photo of a text and let the dictionary find out what it means. I am horrible at writing with a stylus and I am not so good at deciphering kanji. It might get quite expensive though, but I expect the developers will decide what they will include in the end. Another thing I think is important is that the dictionary should not bee to strict on the stroke order when writing with the stylus.

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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby Pork Chop » Fri 08.10.2007 3:40 pm

how about using a flash drive instead of the card slot technology available on most models?

how about the ability to load stuff like EDICT (WWWJDIC) and maybe something on the level of ALC?

Sample sentences, sample sentences, sample sentences.... I say include the Oxford Japanese-English dictionary just for their sample sentences.

The ability (like ALC) to search on phrases that appear in sample sentences (either in English or Japanese).
Maybe there are different ways to say "we're only just friends"; it sure would be nice to be able to compare them in context.

The green goddess is good, but don't leave out Genius or the others. Sometimes they cover holes in each other.

otherwise clay got most of 'em
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby clay » Fri 08.10.2007 3:52 pm

The green goddess is good, but don't leave out Genius or the others. Sometimes they cover holes in each other.


That would be nice, but the more name brand dictionaries added, the higher the price.

The ability (like ALC) to search on phrases that appear in sample sentences


That would definitely be nice.

Adding EDICT would be a first. I think that would an excellent supplement.
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby skrhgh3b » Fri 08.10.2007 4:32 pm

the ideal electronic dictionary could also pronounce the japanese language entries for you.
i have a three-way japanese/chinese/english dictionary, and the chinese dictionaries have sound files for pronunciation, the english dicitonaries have british and american pronunciations transcribed with IPA for anyone who's taken a LING 101 class, but the japanese dictionaries have no pronunciation information whatsoever. short of sound files, an electronic version of the NHK nihongo hatsuon akusento jiten would be great.
more unique (but useful!) dictionaries would be great too, like a dictionary of giongo and gitaigo.
Last edited by skrhgh3b on Fri 08.10.2007 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby vhcoffee » Fri 08.10.2007 5:11 pm

My vote:
A boatload of searchable example sentences similar to those found on the alc.co.jp site, but lots more. Conversational examples as well as literary examples. A lot of the dictionaries have that "English for unexpected situations" book in them, but that is more helpful to Japanese speakers.
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby clay » Fri 08.10.2007 5:24 pm

Maybe a number of searchable/browsable glossaries - Conversational Japanese, Japanese prefectures, famous haiku (Japanese and translated English), etc.
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby witega » Fri 08.10.2007 7:27 pm

A multiple radical kanji look-up like the one on WWWJDC.

And I'd add a vote for the ability to do multi-kanji look-up. That is, once you've found the first kanji in a compound, somehow 'reserve' it so that when you look up the second the dictionary knows to put the two together and search on the compound as a whole--instead of having to look up both and then start trying various possible combinations of readings.
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby WatashiNoKeKi » Sat 08.11.2007 3:28 pm

The ruby text(furigana) would be key for me, as long as it could give both On and Kun as many of the 'Learn Kanji' books do.

Something like the Microsoft IME provides in its handwriting recognition 'Drawing Pad' would be awesome, where you can stylus in kanji and it will look up similar entries as you draw the character. That way you don't necessarily have to draw a whole 20-stroke kanji to find it in the top 5-7 entries of a list.

I don't know if any do this now, I have yet to buy one but the purchase is in the immediate future.

-R
Last edited by WatashiNoKeKi on Sat 08.11.2007 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby Gundaetiapo » Mon 08.13.2007 12:40 am

I haven't used a pocket sized electronic dictionary, but would consider doing so. The only features I need are

- Large collection of words
- Sample sentences for most words, including common idioms
- Search capability of the sentences/idioms
- Furigana with the kanji
- Sound samples. I wonder if it is asking too much for sound samples of the sample sentences.

Maybe currently existing electronic dictionaries do all these already.

When is this English-targetted dictionary slated for?
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby Chikubi » Mon 08.13.2007 1:30 am

- Palmtop-ish would be nice (vs clamshell, takes longer to open haha), with a large screen.

- Instand power-on, my Chinese electronic dictionary instantly powers on, I used friends electronic dictionaries and it takes forever to start up.

- But most importantly it HAS to have stylus pen. I use it to look up characters almost 99.9% of the time (and the recognition system is really great, even if you write sloppy, it still manages to match it with the correct character you're looking for).

- And my dictionary also gives sentence sample along with the meaning of a character.

- Ease of use!

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Last edited by Chikubi on Mon 08.13.2007 1:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: The Ideal Electronic Dictionary

Postby Infidel » Mon 08.13.2007 4:51 am

Palmtop-ish would be nice (vs clamshell, takes longer to open haha), with a large screen.


I'm more worried about wear and tear than the .4 seconds it takes to open a clamshell. My cellphone and japanese vocabulary book I take everywhere with me are about as banged up as can be.
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