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Old 06-20-2022, 08:01 PM   #1
mbrisco
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Post What are your favorite dictionaries (for KOReader or not), and your tips/hacks?

Mine are:

* Wiktionary. Every month, this GitHub packages the entire English Wiktionary into a StarDict format for use with KOReader. It's formatted great and works great.

* Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the behemoth. A great dictionary, but maybe not so suited for KOReader due to the length of each definition and the time it takes to scroll through them to find the right sense of the word you're looking for. But certainly the authoritative voice, the most words available, and my absolute favorite. A fellow MR person optimized it for KOReader; it can be found here (I once owned the Concise OED in 2 volumes, and they don't provide an offline version, so I feel good about having a copy offline for my e-reader in this format. Ask yourself if you feel the same.) I've made further optimizations for it in KOReader but haven't had the chance to upload my version anywhere.

* Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (SOED). This is the IDEAL dictionary for KOReader in my opinion. It has the exact same definitions as the OED above, but the language has been made more concise without losing precision. And it doesn't have all the attestations. It's much better for casual lookups, without losing the OED's definitions. I own this IRL and on various digital formats (Mac app, iOS app). The only cons: it doesn't have quite the same coverage as the OED and leaves out some nonce or near-nonce usages (i.e. senses that are only used once).

So all in all, the SOED is my favorite because it follows the OED practice of listing senses in the order of their historical development. The oldest meaning first, the newest one last. Helps identify which meaning the book you're reading meant depending on what year it was published, and just plain better from a linguistic perspective.

Wiktionary is good for up-to-date etymologies, but the ordering of the senses is essentially random so I don't like it as much after finding the SOED.

---

Only problem is that the SOED doesn't exist in a well-formatted StarDict format anywhere. The existing one floating around uses images instead of bullets, and no one's taken the time to fix it. I tried and had some success, but was faced with the further issue that the entries are not indented properly and just jumbled up. Newer digital versions (like the Mac version) have the entries in their proper indentation and HTML nesting, but it's hard to extract the HTML to create a StarDict since the underlying database's definition blobs seem to be encrypted even though it looks real nice in the app interface itself. Please reach out if you have a nicer StarDict or HTML version of the SOED on hand, would be cool to optimize it for KOReader.

Merriam Webster and the like are complete crap because they quite literally change definitions on a whim based on recentist and localist political winds and donor money (probably because dictionaries aren't making a lot of money otherwise these days, since everyone expects them for free, similar to newspapers), which I find quite dystopian and extremely unreliable. Some old dictionaries like Johnson's are cool too because they're written in such a casual manner that makes them fun to read, but I haven't found good StarDict versions of them yet.

Last edited by mbrisco; 06-20-2022 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 09-05-2022, 09:24 PM   #2
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Someone, wink wink, has spent a lot of time and energy and finally created a StarDict version of the SOED with modern formatting, complete with synonyms for all the conjugations, declensions, phrases, etc and it works great on KOReader. If only he knew how to distribute this to people who wanted it... bar none the best dictionary possible for native English speakers for book reading (and in general), I think.
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Old 09-06-2022, 06:47 AM   #3
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I use the Advanced Learner's 8th edition, but if you think that this is better, a PM with a link to a place that will keep it for sometime (have some holidays more to do ;o), would be greatly appreciated.. 👍
Edit: Keep in mind that I'm not a native English speaker..
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Old 09-06-2022, 03:26 PM   #4
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What he said ;o). (My go-to is currently a wiktionary dump, FWIW).

(@shamanNS might also be interested, as he was looking into something similar a few days ago).
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Old 09-06-2022, 05:48 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mbrisco View Post
Someone, wink wink, has spent a lot of time and energy and finally created a StarDict version of the SOED with modern formatting, complete with synonyms for all the conjugations, declensions, phrases, etc and it works great on KOReader. If only he knew how to distribute this to people who wanted it... bar none the best dictionary possible for native English speakers for book reading (and in general), I think.
Do you know where to get this or do you have it?
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Old 10-06-2022, 05:34 PM   #6
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I would also be very interested in the version of the SOED that has been mentioned in this thread. Is it available somewhere?

I currently mostly use the English Wiktionary.
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Old 10-06-2022, 07:30 PM   #7
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Some last minute work on the CSS to make it more e-ink friendly, looks like. Will probably be out soon
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Old 10-21-2022, 07:48 PM   #8
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Will probably be out soon
Hi, any updates on this?
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Old 10-21-2022, 10:13 PM   #9
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I'm using the OED 2nd ed as my Nr 1 dictionary on KOReader, with GNUCIDE as Nr 2. I'll check out the SOED if/when it's available, but I love the wealth of info in the not S version anyway
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Old 10-28-2022, 09:24 AM   #10
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I'm using the OED 2nd ed as my Nr 1 dictionary on KOReader, with GNUCIDE as Nr 2. I'll check out the SOED if/when it's available, but I love the wealth of info in the not S version anyway
I just think the default OED (and most other external dictionaries you can add) is formatted horribly, with these strange blocks I presume are referencing missing symbols, although I also prefer it if we were only judging the content. I think the Koreader wiki describes how to make them more visually consistent with GCIDE using HTML, but I'm too stupid to figure out, and I suppose they can't distribute these nice pre-formatted versions because of licensing -_-
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Old 10-28-2022, 10:06 AM   #11
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I'm using the OED 2nd ed as my Nr 1 dictionary on KOReader, with GNUCIDE as Nr 2. I'll check out the SOED if/when it's available, but I love the wealth of info in the not S version anyway
Where can one get the OED 2nd edition for KOReader?
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Old 11-09-2022, 06:59 PM   #12
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Where can one get the OED 2nd edition for KOReader?
Anyone? And I would be interested in the shorter version referenced above.

Edit: I’ve found a site that purports to have it but it looks dodgy.

Last edited by Martinoptic; 11-09-2022 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 11-16-2022, 01:00 AM   #13
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Lightbulb SOEDrich 2022-11-11



Finally, the wonderful fellow has seen it fit to release what he has. StarDict SOED optimized for KOReader!

This is the version styled to work with e-Ink (grayscale):
This one is identical to the e-Ink version but uses color (not the best colors and not a lot of time spent on the color choices, but you can play around with the CSS and suggest better ones here):
Notes
  1. KOReader uses the `sdcv`utility for its internal StarDict lookups. This utility has a bug where it returns synonym matches before primary matches, which is not the designed order for this dictionary (or any dictionary, probably). The `sdcv` repository looks abandoned and they seemingly don't respond to issues or anything, so maybe @NiLuJe can take things into his own hands for the KOReader build as far as this goes.
  2. KOReader uses MuPDF to render its dictionary. MuPDF added support for small-caps with version 1.16 in 2019, but KOReader is stuck using version 1.13. There is a stalled effort to bump MuPDF to 1.17 in KOReader, even though 1.20 is the latest version. If we can get at least 1.16 on KOReader, the dictionary will look even better because the CSS uses small-caps to indicate linked headwords within entries (which just show up as bold right now). Again, appeal to @NiLuJe.
  3. MuPDF also doesn't even support CSS pseudo-elements even in its latest release for whatever reason, which makes "special notes" blocks in the dictionary entries look rather unremarkable, so that may be fixed in a future version.
  4. KOReader doesn't support highlighting text within dictionary lookups. You can chain look up words from dictionary entries by holding down on them. This lack of highlighting makes it almost impossible to know what word you're holding down to lookup and often you end up selecting multiple lines instead of a single word. Once again, @NiLuJe, plz
  5. I advise shrinking the KOReader dictionary font size for a better experience with this dictionary. I use font 14 but I have young eyes, so you might go for something larger if you want. The default is 20 in the KOReader settings.
  6. I advise reading the SOED guide if you want to get the most out of the dictionary, though most things should be straightforward. First line is the word, pronunciation, part of speech, earliest use date. Then the entry, which can be followed by quotation and example usages in phrases. Afterwards, you have compound phrases that use the word. Then at the end you have derived words, like conjugations. Some entries also have special notes at the end. The last thing in each entry is the etymology. In the download, there is included a list of the HTML tags used in the dictionary and what each of them marks.
  7. You can look up phrases. This dictionary is great for that. It'll link you to the main entry since StarDict doesn't support linking to anchors (I think), but if you scroll down, you'll find the phrase you looked up, guaranteed.
  8. This takes advantage of bidirectional StarDict synonyms to minimize file size (the same word can point to multiple entries, and the same entry can have multiple words pointing to it), so it's only about 32mb for the entire dictionary.

The fellow in question welcomes any mistakes or suggestions. This is the 6th edition, and several fixes have been made on it already by the fellow to fix mistakes that were present even in the base dictionary.

---

@Martinoptic This is the first time he's uploaded it, so I'm curious what that other dodgy site you found earlier is. PM me
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Old 11-16-2022, 06:47 AM   #14
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splendid mbrisco, I've been waiting for this announcement for some time now. the shorthand OED is so tighty and uncluttered compared to the standard OED, while maintaining the same quality that is inherent in the latter.

thank you for following through and to the acquaintance of whom we owe the pleasure.
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Old 11-16-2022, 01:34 PM   #15
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1. I thought this had been fixed? (Or... something). Not familiar with the format, so not happening as far as I'm concerned . Upstream is *NOT* dead, though, it might just appear as slow & silent if you're not bringing a patch to the table .

2. It might happen one day, but it's a *titanic* effort (I handled the last update, and this one, despite most of the work having been done already, is even worse). Not a fun experience.

4. You might have better luck nagging @hius07 or @poire-z, as I couldn't give a rat's ass about highlighting .
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