Italian dictionary. Coming soon …

I’m been kind of obsessed with adding dictionaries (and just as importantly) dictionary games to Surface Languages for some time now. It has proved more difficult than I imagined:(

Difficult but extremely interesting in a nerdy sort of way. I am a geek so this isn’t a problem, but it has still been time consuming, and I have other things to do. Once the first dictionary is up and running, I’ll update anyone who is still with me on my Italian and Polish learning. Loving both – but guess which is easier?

Luckily, the summer still hasn’t started, so I haven’t been distracted by wanting to spend too much time outside. Apart from morning walks with the hound, and the odd bit of compulsory lawn mowing.

Oh. And I have some pots … Geraniums mainly ..

So, where am I dictionary wise?

Well, there is a hidden Italian dictionary on the site. As the functionality isn’t complete, you can’t find it from any menus.  But, I hope to have it finished by the end of this week or next depending on what else I have to do in the meantime.

And then on to dictionary games!

I intend to add lots. Yes, I am the sort of person who reads dictionaries for fun, and it strikes me that dictionaries and word search games are like raspberries and cream, hand and glove, carne y uña, and so on. (I learnt that last one recently).

Adding dictionary games will be like a walk in the park (on a summers day) and I can’t wait.

Pax to you all,


Italian Dictionary. Update

It is raining throughout Europe. We (the UK) are having to import wheat for the first time in a decade – (actually I’m gluten intolerant but it is not a good thing).

Wheat crops are being grubbed out and replaced with Barley – because of the rain.  And yet our politicians are still resistant to the concept of renewable energy. You know the sun, waves and the like. When will politicians learn that climate change is happening, and happening now?

We have a bunch of muppets running the UK.

And I’m being charitable.

Really, really charitable.

Additionally, there are paw marks all over the kitchen floor and a slug (quite a big one – probably driven inside by the inclement conditions outside).

Is there any good news?

Yes. I now have an Italian dictionary of around 500,000 words imported into a sqlite database.

This means among other things I can create Italian dictionary aps. But first things first, I’m going to create a dictinoary page on SL and write some neat code to access it and some cool dictionary related games.

Eat your heart out, branded dictionary people.



A free Italian dictionary with more than 100,000 words …

It is June, it is raining and our dog has very damp paws. His paws are like sponges and there are enormous wet paw marks on the floor. Happy days. (I’ll post of picture of said hound soon).

I haven’t posted for a while, and that is partly because my every waking moment (slight exageration) has been spent on trying to create dictionaries using wiktionary (as permitted by the creative commons license).


I looked into licensing dictionaries to add to SL and the cost is prohibitive. I naively thought that a big dictionary could be licensed for maybe £100 a year. It turns out that the real cost is prohibitive. Add some 00’s kind of prohibitive. Welcome to the real world.

But I need dictionaries …

1. I need them for part of my secret and as yet unstarted project. But dictionaries will be required.

2. I need them so I can create free dictionary aps for iPhone and Android devices.

3. There are a lack of free dictionaries (of a decent size) on the internet for languages with fewer speakers.

4. I want a dictionary page on SL with dictionaries and dictionary games – designed to work well on tables, pads and phones.

And so my only option was to create dictionaries myself. The way to do this is to use the data from wiktionary, parse it using some whizzy coding, create a flat file, index it and create a database.

I started with Italian (as I’m learning the language), and assumed that I would crack this relatively trivial task within days. An hour here. An hour there. Bing. I would have a dictionary.

It turns out, that while the Wiktionary is very easy for a human to read, it is a non-trivial task to write a program to parse it, and spit out a dictionary. In fact, it is a tedious, unforgiving and difficult.

Anyway, I’m a l33t programmer and I have teh skillz:)

So, after a lot of frustration, I have almost written some code to parse the Wiktionary and produce a dictionary.

I almost have an Italian dictionary with hundreds of thousands of words.  And when I do, I will add it to SL. I hope it will be as good or better than any of the expensive branded dictionaries.

It is, as they say, coming soon …