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A dictionary that understands grammar

9 Comments

Australian software company Dependency has recently released its iPhone app EDICT with Grammar to the Apple store for $4.99. EDICT with Grammar is a Japanese-English dictionary built on the 20,000 most common words from the famous Monash University EDICT dictionary, but with an incredible twist - it understands the Japanese grammar rules so you don't have to.

For beginners especially, one of the most frustrating aspects of using an electronic dictionary is needing to know the root word in order to look it up. But beginners don't always know (or remember) enough grammar to work out the root word. So they're stuck.

But when using EDICT with Grammar, users can enter the word just as it is... たべなかった (tabenakatta) and it will tell them straightaway that this is the past tense of the negative of たべる (taberu) meaning “to eat.”

Obviously, the user can search for English and romaji, but because the iPhone already comes with multiple keyboards the user can enter hiragana/katakana directly into the search as well by enabling their preferred Japanese keyboard. This makes it useful as a Japanese to English dictionary as well.

Enabling the built-in “Chinese Traditional Handwriting” keyboard also lets users draw a kanji directly on the screen of the phone and EDICT with Grammar will display the results in a fraction of a second. Searching for kanji also has wild card support, so searching for “日本?”will find all the three letter kanji combinations starting with 日本 - it will find 日本語、日本人、。。。Very handy when you only vaguely remember the kanji.

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9 Comments
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That's a cool feature/idea. Calling it an "incredible twist" is a bit of a stretch for me, though.

Does the search support romaji? For true beginners, a romaji search for "tabenakatta" would be good, if that worked.

Disclosure: I am one of the developers of a Japanese vocabulary study application, Japanese Flash, so I guess this could be competing with a portion of our app... but I welcome healthy competition - so welcome!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

i think that when somebody communicates anything, that the computer should be able to translate every thing. five dollars is nothing, not communicating is a big problem. if i saw an extra five dollars on my internet bill i wouldn't cry. now i gotta look into this jappy appy.

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@ Mark: I believe they are saying "incredible twist" as most dictionaries I've seen don't do that. You need to enter in the proper noun/verb or whatever. Same with English. If you've created a dictionary with similar abilities, then I would venture to say that you're marketing strategy is NOT working as I haven't seen or heard of it and I do look out for stuff like this. Best of luck!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The app "Kotoba!" does that stuff too and it's free! And to hand-write a kanji or type in Japanese all you have to do is go to keyboards in iphone/ipod/etc settings and add the Chinese handwriting and the Japanese keyboard to your keyboards. You can also search kanji by "skip" and "multi-radical". It's a great app. :)

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Sometimes the app Kotoba! crashes (more often on Ipod than Ipad2), but it is a nice tool for translation from Japanese to English to improve understanding. Sometimes even better than dictionaries build and sold just for this single purpose.

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i've been using that application since 2010 with my android phone. that's why i didn't bother buying an electronic dictionary when i was there.

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and it's free

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For the ultimate Japanese dictionary, search "japanese language tools" on google... their pda system is simply the best

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Mark,yes it lets you search grammar with romaji... and it let's you do it multiple levels deep. so it knows that oishikunakatta is the past tense of the negative of oishii.

kotoba is a great app too, and it is free. but it's also 100Mb download compared with less than 1Mb for EDICT with Grammar.

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