tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri May 29 17:48:50 2009

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Re: Dictionary Formats

Doq (

My first dictionary was an MS Word file where the format on the  
Klingon->English side was

mu' - [same word written with Lawrence's pIqaD font] - (noun) word {TKD}

That is to say, the romanized spelling of the word, followed by the  
pIqaD representation, followed by the part of speech, followed by the  
definition, followed by the source, so I could always go back and  
check to make sure I had not erred. You will err from time to time and  
when you argue about it with someone else, it's a really good idea to  
have the source of the word noted.

The English->Klingon side had a similar format.

I started doing another version in MS Access, intending to include  
canon usage, but didn't get very far. The exercise convinced me that I  
don't like MS Access.

I did the whole thing over again in JFile, a database application on  
the Palm Pilot. This offered two advantages over the MS Word file:

1. Each word is entered once. There is no English->Klingon side, so  
there are fewer opportunities for error, and there's less than half as  
much work, since there are often multiple English words in the  
definition. My one most significant error in the original Word file  
was putting the wrong definition with the wrong word. Nasty boo-boo,  
that. Only did it once, that I know of, but it came back to bite me.  
In a single-entry database, that's not a problem.

2. Searches find the definition side just fine, so it doesn't have to  
be sorted, though I did tend to sort it by Klingon word so that I  
could browse the list.

I got really good at Graphitti- the data entry method for the Palm. A  
couple thousand entries will do that for you.

The next time I rebuilt the database was in Bento, a Mac-based  
database. I cheated, this time. I converted the JFile database to  
comma delimited and imported it, making a few modifications to it once  
it was imported.

I included binary fields (check mark option boxes) for categories,  
like body parts, food, weapons, etc. to help finding words while  
composing. It seemed like a cool feature, though I have not found  
myself using it much.

I still notate source, and other usage-related notes for anything  
special about a word, like marking the irregular plurals and their  
corresponding singulars. Then I got the Klingon suite for my iPod  
Touch. It's not as detailed or current, but it is quite handy and quick.

The more times you rebuild your dictionary, the more familiar you  
become with more of the words.

You could use Excel or any other flat-file or relational database.  
Databases are better than spreadsheets, in that they give you a form  
view so that you can see all the data for a single entry, instead of a  
spreadsheet's tendency to make a record too wide to see all at once,  
if you have many fields. I tend to go nuts with metadata -- stuff like  
the date of entry, page number, etc. for sources, significant useage,  

The trick is consistency. Change your format midstream and your data  
becomes chaotic rather quickly, unless you go back and change all the  
previous stuff to match what you've already done.

Been there.

Done that.

Many times.


On May 26, 2009, at 3:48 AM, Ted Williams wrote:

> Hello,
> I am trying to come up with a dictionary as I learn new words.  Does  
> anyone happen to have a user friendly format they would be willing  
> to share?
> Ideally, I would prefer that it be a dictionary of words that I can  
> enter in as I learn them or as opportunities to use them arise.   
> Nothing will help me more in learning thlIngan Hol than a build-your- 
> own-dictionary, but to be honest, I am not that computer savvy.
> Any help would be appreciated.
> Thank you,
> ~teD
> _________________________________________________________________
> Windows Live?: Keep your life in sync.

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