Sunday, November 01, 2009

Look Up Latin Words and Make the World a Better Place!

It used to be that Latin students and teachers could only dream of owning a copy of A Latin Dictionary: Founded on Andrews' Edition of Freund's Latin Dictionary: Revised, Enlarged, and in Great Part Rewritten by Charlton T. Lewis, Ph.D. and Charles Short, LL.D. Retailing at $240, this authoritative reference has been out of reach for most poor but proud Classicists, who have had to make do with a school or departmental copy.

Now, Latin students and teachers can consult Lewis and Short whenever they want! And they don't have to carry around a five pound book either!

Latin teacher and entrepreneur Clint Hagen of A Third Way Technologies (a3w) has created a wonderful new version of this Latin dictionary, Glossa, which has both web-based and desktop capabilities! And it's free (thanks to a Creative Commons license), though the author does ask that you consider making a charitable donation to one of his favorite worthy causes, if you find the software useful.

The content of the dictionary is in the public domain, having been published in 1879, but until recently only available as a rather unwieldy tome! Web 2.0 has led to the creation of Glossa, as well as other virtual versions of this venerable reference (notably Lexidium for the iPhone/iPod Touch).

According to A3W's homepage, "Glossa combines a unique interface with a commitment to full exploration of a Latin word's possible meanings. The type-ahead suggest feature allows words to be found easily as you type, and the database gives you full definitions of words, including examples from Latin literature and etymologies. The sidebar shows you where you are in the dictionary, giving you the ten words before the current entry and the ten words after." This is a wonderful feature, building in the look and feel of a traditional dictionary, while adapting it to modern technology!

You can even hyperlink to dictionary entries, which I think will definitely also prove quite useful!

magnĭfĭcē! (the adverbial form of magnĭfĭcus, courtesy of Glossa!) Well done, A3W! (Glossa even supplies macrons and breves!)

Visit A Third Way Technologies and try it out for yourself!