Dictionary creation tools

Tools for collecting lexical data:

The Rapid Word Collection method uses a systematic method based on "semantic domains"  to collect words in a workshop organized in the language community. Jeff Webster used this method in a workshop in Nepal.

The Searchable Semantic Domains and Questions website contains a list of nearly 1800 semantic domains. They are organized in a hierarchy under nine major headings so that similar domains can be found together. 

Software for organizing and analyzing lexical data:

FieldWorks Language Explorer (FLEx) is the lexical and text tools component of SIL FieldWorks. It is an open source desktop application designed to help field linguists perform many common tasks. It can help you:

  • record and manage lexical information
  • configure and export dictionaries (we recommend Pathway)
  • interlinearize texts
  • analyse discourse features
  • study morphology
  • collect and organize cultural and other notes

To learn more... FLEx Tutorial.

WeSay helps non-linguists build a dictionary in their own language. It has various ways to help native speakers to think of words in their language and enter some basic data about them. The program is customizable and task-oriented, giving the advisor the ability to turn on/off tasks as needed and as the user receives training for those tasks. WeSay uses a standard xml format, so data can be exchanged with linguist-oriented tools like FieldWorks. Team members can collaborate via USB flash drive, email, and via network connections. Distributed teams can all work on the dictionary at the same time,  online or offline, using WeSay's "Send/Receive" feature.

To learn more... WeSay Help.

Software for creating sign language lexicons:

SooSL can be used for for creating a sign language dictionary:

  • It can be used for any sign language in the world.

  • It uses videos to show the signing clearly for signs, example sentences and comments in a sign language.

  • It has an indexing system so users can find signs without knowing a spoken language.  This indexing system uses location, handshapes, movements, and non-manuals. The indexing will be significantly enhanced in a future version by adding sign types and simplifying the indexing of movements and locations.

  • Written glosses and definitions can be included in multiple languages and scripts, with a finder list for finding a sign from its written gloss.

  • It supports multiple senses, dialect variants, and grammatical category.

  • Images and text explanations can be added.

  • Publication is as simple as providing people with a copy of SooSL and a read-only version of the dictionary. Output to web pages is planned.

  • Wherever possible, it uses icons rather than text menus to make it more friendly for Deaf users.

  • There are Windows and Mac versions, available free of charge under an open source license from soosl.net.  

  • A demonstration database is also available to illustrate how to use the program.

  • It has been tested in a number of countries, including the USA, Kenya, India and Japan.

To learn more... SooSL.