Pat tells me about an offshoot of Wikipedia called the Wiktionary, “a collaborative project to produce a free multilingual dictionary in every language, with meanings, etymologies and pronunciations… We started on December 12, 2002 and already have 22143 entries in the English version. Anyone can edit any definition; log in is optional. See the Wiktionary FAQ for more information about the project, and the help page for information on how to use and contribute to Wiktionary.” Pat points to the entry for ‘butterfly,’ which has words in languages from Aja-Gbe to Zulu, and adds:

Good fun. Also, it has Unicode support, which is a great thing, and it’s under one of those wacky GNU documentation licenses, so there are no worries about copyright—anyone can do as they wish with the content.

So have fun, everyone.

One thing that annoys me: the box at the upper left-hand corner has the word “Wiktionary” followed by a dictionary-style pronunciation, which is (without the IPA symbols) WIKshunree—in other words, it’s based on the British pronunciation of “dictionary.” Surely it would be better to do without a pronunciation than be that parochial. (And no, I don’t think I can edit it. It’s a logo.)


  1. Let’s pick a word and translate it to pieces, eh?
    (And I second your emotions on the transcription of “dictionary.” Of course, I shouldn’t talk, given the truly hideous rendering in that rather sorry Linguablogs icon. (Not my fault! Much!))

  2. I pronounce it WIKshun(schwa)ree. And Longman’s has a schwa or half a schwa there too.
    There’s a German venture called LEO – link everything online – by Munich techies. http://www.leo.org – click on Deutsch-Englisches Wörterbuch. They have unsolved queries too. It’s much admired by some lawyers I know. Very frustrating because it’s just as unreliable as everything else bilingual.

  3. How does the American pronunciation of dictionary differ?

  4. In the US we say DIKshun-airy, with a secondary stress on “air.”

  5. Since no one else has chosen a word, and since it’s topical, let’s work on the word “dictionary.”
    It has a paltry 28 entries!
    I’ll do Welsh… and… Hindi I suppose… and…
    C’mon folks!

  6. Sounds good to me! Just wait till I get home and have access to my mighty dictionary collection…

  7. The entry for dictionary doesn’t seem to have grown much.
    I added the Tibetan, as I remembered seeing it recently at the Tibetan & Himalayan Digital Library[1], and with a little time with a Unicode character map even managed to include the native script version. I think. (As I can neither speak nor read Tibetan, and have only a basic understanding of how the Extended Wylie transliteration works, it could be gibberish. If anyone who reads this has a Tibetan dictionary and a browser that can display Tibetan Unicode, perhaps you might verify it.)
    [1]. Worth looking around, incidentally, if you like that sort of thing. Particularly the map of Sera monastery. Not very much in the way of texts or linguistic information, yet, but I’m looking forward to their reference grammar.

  8. Thanks for reminding me; I was caught up in other stuff and didn’t get around to it. I’ve just added Albanian, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Basque, Fulani, Hausa, Igbo, Kurdish, Somali, Swahili, and a raft of Turkic languages, and while I was doing it somebody kept adding Slavic languages—was that one of you? If it was, you might have seen a miscellany of languages being added and thought “That must be Languagehat!” Small Wikiworld, eh?

  9. OK, I’ve added Tamil. The rest of you linguabloggers are falling down on the job.

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