Thread: Dictionary FAQ
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Old 04-27-2011, 06:47 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Vienna, Austria
Device: Kindle 2
Dictionary FAQ

Apparently there are a lot of problems with the dictionary support on the kindle fire and the k4s. This FAQ is not valid for them.

since there seem to pop up similar questions about dictionaries quite frequently i decided to write a little faq. maybe it contains some errors, but it might be useful to some people

Q: How does the kindle decide which dictionary to use
A: You can change the primary dictionary under menu -> settings -> menu -> change primary dictionary. This dictionary will be used for every book, with one exception:
Each book has a language-metadata entry. If a book is- say german- and you have a german dictionary on your device it will be used regardless of your dictionary.

Q: How can I look at / change the language metadata of a book.
A: Windows users can install mobihandler which will show the metadata file in your file explorer under properties. (note that dictionaries have a different language metadata which for example shows up in the mobipocket reader)
To change the metadata you best use the gui for the mobi2mobi perl script.

Q:Is it possible to use more than one dictionary for instant lookup at a time
A: No. But it is possible to have instant lookup for a dictionary -> press enter -> instantly look up within this dictionary from another dictionary.

Q: What does with / without inflections mean?
Ordinary dictionaries only show the infintive form of most words. Commercial mobi and prc dictionaries usually know inflections. So if you read: forbade, forbidden,... the dictionary will jump right to forbid)...
Self created dictionaries usually don't know inflections (unless someone has invested a lot of work)

Q: Where can I find dictionaries to buy/download for free
Most commercial dictionaries are drm protected and made for the old mobipocket reader (amazon bought mobipocket, used their software for the kindle and stopped developement on mobipocket).
So one of the best sources still is keep in mind that you have to de-drm all books from that page (but still the best german to english/italian/spanish/french and vice-versa dicts- ). And of course the obvious

For free dictionaries look at this post:

Webster 1913: (according to arno schmitt it's fundamental to use a dictionary of the same era with the book you're reading- So I yearn to get this german classic on the kindle )
Some people even wrote inflections for their free dictionaries:
French-romanian / English Romanian

Amazon has a free version of the quite extensive Duden Universalwörterbuch (german-german)- which you can download freely to your PC with kindle for PC. (They are having technical difficulties with the kindles themselves though). The downloaded book in this case is DRM protected and needs to be de-drm before it can be read on your kindle.

This list is not complete at all- just google

Q: Is it possible to create my own dictionary
Yes. If you have a tab deliminated txt file, or a stardict dictionary it's quite easy.
Or the mobipocket guide <-- Create a dictionary from scratch.

Q: How can I add inflections to my dictionary?
A: You need to modify the HTML source (after you convert your stardict/tab delimited txt). A minimal dictionary source file with inflections is demonstrated in this post.

Q: Where can I find a chinese/japanese dictionary?
A: While it is possible with the fonthack to display chinese and japanese fonts, it has been reported that dictionaries don't really work. Your best bet is the duokan firmware, which has stardict dictionary support.

Q: Is there dictionary support for pdf
The kindle 3 has dictionary support for pdf, the kindle 2 doesn't, but there's a hack for putting the firmware of the kindle 3 on your kindle 2

Q: Is it possible to use the dictionaries I have purchased for my kindle (or elsewhere) on my Android device / Iphone?
If your dictionaries are DRM-free there is one possibilty I know of (please post if you know any other):
(I don't know how well this works with dicts purchased in the amazon store, you have to de-drm and probably rename to .prc and then it may work)

Last edited by eschwartz; 03-01-2015 at 07:21 PM. Reason: add note on inflections
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