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 facilitate 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:

Geoffrey Hunt and Tim Grove have been developing the SooSL program for recording signs and signed sentences of any sign language in the world. It's primary advantage for sign language lexicons is that it makes video data primary, rather than an add-on. Another important design feature is that its interface uses icons rather than text, and thus is much more user-friendly for Deaf users. SooSL is presently being tested in a small number of sign languages to adjust as much as possible before the official release in late 2013.