There’s a nice new addition to the list of online dictionaries: Louise Fisher, Wayne Leman, Leroy Pine Sr and Marie Sanchez have published an online Cheyenne Dictionary. The online version was compiled using LexiquePro.
I’ve been thinking a bit about web dictionaries and interfaces recently as part of the field methods book (recently finished the chapter on ways of producing materials useful to a speech community) and there are a couple of different online models.
- There is the interface that puts a published print dictionary on the Web without changing the format. That is, you just get text without links or anyway to search the database without just using search in the whole document.
- Then there’s the version, such as we see here, where you still get all of the entries in a single page but there are also ways of exploiting hyperlinks. For example, the Cheyenne dictionary has hyperlinks within it and in the new across the top to jump to the first word in each alphabetical section. This is a nice compromise between something that is able to be printed and something that exploits the usefulness of links in a word document.
- finally, there are the programs which give you a dialogue box in which you type the word that you want to look up. TshwaneLex allows you to do this, for example.the dictionaries differ in the extent to which they allow fuzzy searching in such dialogues. This has the advantage that if you know what you’re looking for it can be quite quick to find, and it’s probably less daunting because the user is presented with less information on the page. But it makes random browsing for cool and interesting stuff more difficult.
To be honest, I can’t decide which interface I like best. Therefore it’s probably just as well that I’m not allowed to put any of my lexicography work on the Web.
Anyway, congratulations to Chief Dull Knife College and the dictionary compilers, and thank you for sharing your language with us.
[edited to fix issues arising from voice recognition software.]