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Old 01-20-2012, 03:30 PM   #1
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Kindle (for PC) French dictionary problem

Whenever I try to search for a word such as "l’étoffe", I get "No definition found." I am sure this is because of the l', but it's impossible to highlight just the word itself. Is there any way around it?
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Old 01-20-2012, 04:35 PM   #2
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Unfortunately, the answer is no. There are two reasons for this:

1. You cannot select parts of a word.
2. The Mobipocket word segmentation algorithm wasn't properly implemented in the Kindle code.

For example, if you look up "l’avait" in the default monolingual French Kindle dictionary you'll get the entry for "laver" instead of "avoir" because the Kindle app apparently treats all quotes as punctuation characters and deletes them before the string is passed to the dictionary lookup code.
Unfortunately, the actual Kindle behaves exactly in the same way, which is rather annoying, because Mobipocket Reader on which the Kindle app is based doesn't have this problem.

If you want to use foreign language Mobipocket dictionaries with ebooks on the PC, I'd recommend using Mobipocket Reader instead, because it allows you to search multiple dictionaries and it'll find words such as "l’étoffe."
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Old 01-20-2012, 04:57 PM   #3
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Really? I guess I won't be buying a Kindle then.

So how do people use Kindle in France? This is a big problem.

Last edited by carnivroar; 01-20-2012 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 01-21-2012, 12:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carnivroar View Post
So how do people use Kindle in France?
I guess most of them either don't use the dictionary that often or use other ebook readers better suited for French.
Check out the E-book reader with best dictionary look-up feature ? thread for some Kindle alternatives.

BTW, there's also a French MR subforum. Why don't you ask the French MR users for some recommendations?

When I encounter this problem, I simply copy the word (using Select, Right Arrow and Space), delete the article and the apostrophe and then look up the word manually. However, this method works only with uninflected words.

In spite of these annoying shortcomings I like my Kindle 3, because you can install any number of Mobipocket dictionaries and it's relatively easy to convert dictionaries from other formats to the Mobipocket format.
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Old 01-21-2012, 01:14 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Maria144 View Post
Unfortunately you can't..
Well that's stupid. How can something that has been on the market for years not be capable of performing a simply dictionary search? As a (novice) programmer myself, I cannot imagine what could be so hard about fixing it.
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Old 01-21-2012, 01:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doitsu View Post
I guess most of them either don't use the dictionary that often or use other ebook readers better suited for French.
Check out the E-book reader with best dictionary look-up feature ? thread for some Kindle alternatives.

BTW, there's also a French MR subforum. Why don't you ask the French MR users for some recommendations?

When I encounter this problem, I simply copy the word (using Select, Right Arrow and Space), delete the article and the apostrophe and then look up the word manually. However, this method works only with uninflected words.

In spite of these annoying shortcomings I like my Kindle 3, because you can install any number of Mobipocket dictionaries and it's relatively easy to convert dictionaries from other formats to the Mobipocket format.
I asked there, thanks.
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Old 01-21-2012, 02:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carnivroar View Post
As a (novice) programmer myself, I cannot imagine what could be so hard about fixing it.
It should be rather trivial to fix, in particular since the Kindle developers have access to the Mobipocket Reader source code, but I guess not enough people are using French dictionaries and even fewer complain about it.
This might change if more French customers buy the Kindle, but this bug would probably only be fixed for the latest generation of Kindles anyway.
In a way, you're lucky that you're interested in French, because lookup dictionaries don't work at all for many other supported languages, e.g., Russian and Greek.
In that respect the Kindle software is a big step backwards from Mobipocket Reader. But as I said in my other post, the advantage of the Kindle is that you're not stuck with the default dictionaries and there are a lot of good Mobipocket dictionaries available that'll work on the Kindle.

Last edited by Doitsu; 01-23-2012 at 08:01 AM.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:58 AM   #8
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Why does Amazon's 'Electronic French Dictionary' work with some MOBI books but not with others (for instance ones I convert from PDF to MOBI). In the latter case, the dictionary reverts to the English one.
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Old 01-29-2012, 07:06 AM   #9
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The language code of the book is probably not set to French.
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:10 PM   #10
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if you use a dictionary of the k4 non touch it will work for every word : plural and verbs and even with '.
i tried it.
If the book and the dictionary are set to the french language.
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:10 PM   #11
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if you use a dictionary of the k4 non touch it will work for every word : plural and verbs and even with '.
i tried it.
If the book and the dictionary are set to the french language.
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pportnawak View Post
if you use a dictionary of the k4 non touch it will work for every word : plural and verbs and even with '.
i tried it.
Dictionary lookup of French words consisting of a letter, followed by an apostrophe and the rest of the word does NOT work properly in the Kindle for PC app and on the Kindle 3. Therefore I seriously doubt that they fixed this issue on the Kindle Touch. You might get a definition, but is invariably for the wrong word. (see attached files)
Feel free to prove me wrong. Simply download a French PD novel, search l’avait (or any other similar word), do a dictionary lookup and take a screen capture.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	K3_FrenchDic.JPG
Views:	98
Size:	107.9 KB
ID:	82520   Click image for larger version

Name:	K4PC_FrenchDic.JPG
Views:	86
Size:	31.8 KB
ID:	82521  
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:28 PM   #13
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I wont say that the "l'avait" issue has never caused an outburst of "French"! But, that is not the main problem I have encountered. I'm using a Kindle DX with the built in French - English dictionary. It simply is not advanced enough, too many words for which it has no definition. Can anyone recommend a better dictionary. If there is one I'd prefer monolingual French, such as le Robert.
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Old 02-26-2012, 01:45 AM   #14
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I use Merriam-Webster French-English Translation Dictionary, Kindle Edition, ISBN 978-0-87779-793-7. So far, it's adequate for me, but I am not trying to read very sophisticated French.
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Old 02-26-2012, 02:54 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebenist View Post
I wont say that the "l'avait" issue has never caused an outburst of "French"!
Unfortunately, Amazon doesn't seem to care.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebenist View Post
I'm using a Kindle DX with the built in French - English dictionary.
AFAIK, all Kindle models only come with free monolingual dictionaries. If yours has a French-English dictionary, you probably installed it yourself unless the DX comes with a special bilingual dictionary package.
(If your DX did come with a bilingual dictionary, what's the title and the publisher?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebenist View Post
Can anyone recommend a better dictionary. If there is one I'd prefer monolingual French, such as le Robert.
The Kindle comes with a free large monolingual dictionary: Dictionnaire français de définitions by Synapse Développement.
It's not the Le Robert, but its 130000 entries should contain enough definitions for your purposes.
For more information on how to install it, see this Amazon UK help page.
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