03 January 2011

ULD 3 update

I’ve been merrily lexicographizing version 3 of the Universal Language Dictionary.

Now planning to publish it under the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 License.

I’ve been forced to scale back my plans for the initial publication. I was originally planning to include 20 languages, then 16, then I whittled the list down to 12. Now that I have seen how much time it takes to look up each item in “reliable sources,” sometimes checking two or three sources for confirmation, I realize I will never get the first pass completed with that many languages.

Also, writing clearer definitions for each of the concepts can be time consuming. I have to narrow down a lot of the entries and focus on the most universal (easily translated) senses. This is very contemplative work.

So I’m going to start out with just seven tongues: English, Papiamentu, Japanese, Indonesian, Lakota, Esperanto and Tango. I am vaguely familiar with 5 of the 7 languages so I am fairly confident that the entries will be as qualitiferous* as I want them to be.

After I get the first pass through the lexicon done I will invite comments and see if anybody wants to add more languages. Although a few people have occasionally offered to type in the vocabularies of the their native languages, I don’t think it would be a whole lot of fun to key in 1,800 or more dictionary entries. Seriously, it gets tedious after the first 200 or 300 items. The rapid progress we made on the early version of ULD back in the early 1990’s was done before the graphical worldwide web existed, before Facebook and YouTube were entertaining people to death. I have some doubts about being able to achieve such rapid completion under current conditions.

*Qualitiferous (kwal-ih-TIFF-er-us): an unforgettable (to me) word coined in an awkward moment in 2005 by a weird acquaintance of mine.

1 comment:

Rursus said...

What is it? A dictionary yes, but not just any dictionary. How are the words to use derived? Based on statistics? Then in what language?