Venkat Ramdass sent me a link to his site linguos with the following explanation:

Linguos is unique in its function as phonetic search engine. Sort of a ‘soundex’ for non-Latin scripts/languages. It lets you spell terms phonetically and using the English alphabet. For example, if you want to search for the equivalent of ‘book’ in Arabic, you would pick Arabic, type ‘kitaab’ and search. The idea is to eliminate the need for complex keyboards and transliteration schemes. Linguos also handles English phonetics well when searching. For example, ‘george’ instead of ‘jorj’ will still find the right results in your target language. An additional, experimental feature is the ability to input your search terms in one language and search in another language. Basically a true cross-language or “any to any” language search. This works best in alphabetic and syllabic languages.

If I click on the “Cyrillic” tab, I can type on my Latin keyboard and it will search the web for the equivalent in Cyrillic, saving me a trip to, and it can do this for Indic, Semitic, CJK… Well, check it out. It’s quite wonderful. And it has no ads!


  1. I selected Hebrew and typed heharim gvohim yoter, and all it showed me was a page that had gvohim and yoter (whereas “ההרים+גבוהים+יותר” gets 20.4 kGhits). Am I missing something? Is there something special I have to do to tell it to transliterate?

  2. To test, I tried “haegul” after selecting Korean… and the first hit was “Katherine Heigl Online – The premiere website devoted to the wonderful actress Katherine Heigl”. It makes sense, your own personal phonetic brainstorming tool.
    All the other results were in Korean though.

  3. Thanks, boaby, that explains a bit. So now I tried one word at a time, and it gave me actual Hebrew hits, but with not one of the romanizations I gave did it produce the Hebrew I was going for. heharim came closest, with “הֶהָרִים”, but still not close enough to be usable. That explains why heharim gvohim yoter didn’t find anything: it mis-guessed all of my common words/spellings with various uncommon ones, too uncommon for any of their intersections to co-occur on any page in the index. Hopefully it will improve over time, but for right now it seems useless for Hebrew.

  4. baoby, I believe if you had typed “hangeul”, linguos would have retrieved the results you were looking for.

  5. As an aside regarding searches in Cyrillic, you can use a virtual Cyrillic keyboard in the Russian language Google search page. On my computer and browser, at least, I can launch it if I go to page, click on the link to use Google in Russian and then click on the little icon next to the search bar that launches it. It also allows me to type the Cyrillic characters directly on the keybaord while it is active.

  6. And on macs you can use all the different keyboards virtually, by nationality as well as language, by clicking the flag in the top right corner of the screen.

  7. I thought “Indic” referred to all Brahmi-derived scripts, but here it only refers to Brahmi-derived scripts used in India.

  8. Thank you all for checking out Linguos. It is obviously, still a work in progress. The basic principle behind Linguos is that while transliteration or a keyboard helps input accurate text, when you are searching, you want to retrieve misspellings and minor variants.
    You can exclude a variant by clicking on the red ‘-’ (minus) sign next to it. Still figuring out a better UI to accomplish this :)
    The ‘interactive’ link next to the ‘search’ button switches to the traditional suggestion box drop down, that shows variants as you type. You can pick and choose which ones you want to use.
    Please keep the feedback coming. You can also send me feedback directly at

  9. It’s much easier to type Cyrillic if you use the Phonetic keyboard layout or the Transliterator extension for Firefox.

  10. Everyone in the wedding party will be carrying an automatic weapon, so we’re pretty much prepared for anything.

  11. @Simon
    Yes, my attempt at spelling “Hangeul/Han’gŭl” was wrong. A simple case of human error.

  12. Another alternative to would be to install a Russian keyboard layout, though then you need to learn the layout (or print yourself a chart) — I have done that with a couple of alternate keyboards (mainly “U.S. International” which is just a Latin alphabet with diacritic marks) and it works pretty well. Depending on what version of Windows you are using (if you are using Windows) this is pretty easy to access via control panel. I’m sure there is a way to do it on Mac too but I do not know it.

  13. I used to use a Russian keyboard layout, but I find much easier.

  14. Bob Violence says:

    One semi-relevant thing I just discovered recently is that Google returns Hanzi results for searches in pinyin as long as you set the language to “Chinese” — although its pinyin vocabulary seems to be much smaller than linguos’. And they don’t seem to have any similar support for romanized Arabic, Korean, Japanese etc.

Speak Your Mind