Site Revamp in the Works (yes, really)

Salvete, everyone!

Update (12/12/2018)

Progress is coming along swimmingly. Or at least as well as once can expect given that we're tackling probably the most complex core feature to be introduced: our inflector tool that will aid with automatically inflecting Latin words. The need for such a tool is three-fold:

  1. To search more intelligently for variations of Latin words, not just search for matches against their dictionary forms.
  2. To provide full declension/conjugation tables for word entries and search results.
  3. To aid in future learning resources (games and quizzes), where we need to check for correct answers.

Since the inflector tool will be a cornerstone for so many of the site upgrades, we want it to go beyond the basic five declensions and four conjugations. Despite Latin being relatively rigid in its syntax, it nevertheless falls prey to thousands of years of convention and change. And we want to do our best to handle those changes and exceptions to grammatical patterns (which can certainly pile up the deeper you dive into the grammar). Our end goal is to cover most of the key peculiarities (such as correctly declining irregular adjectives, nouns, defective verbs, etc.)—at least within the scope of academic Latin.

Once the inflection tool is done, we are sailing into smoother waters, where the progress will be more immediate. Thanks for patiently waiting!

Original Update Message

I wanted to share with you what the state of Latdict is, and what the next few months will be looking like.

Yes, Updates have been slow. Or non-existent. The bottleneck truly is me, but we have taken steps to alleviate that by doing two things: 1) better scheduling of time after work-hours (this isn't my dayjob), and 2) getting some much needed help. The key word in that subject is we, which means that the website is getting some much needed time for a revamp. The site's infrastructure is old and will be getting much-needed optimization to help reduce server costs. Once this has been completed, everyone will start seeing some of those many features that have been promised for years now.

In addition to that, we have the amazingly talented Whitney Wallace joining our team, and with her extensive background in education she will be providing much added value to some of these new features. Just to provide a list of what we're looking to add with the site revamp: advanced search (including filtering by parts of speech), auto-inflection to enhance searches and make search results more meaningful, learning games/quizzes, and fleshing out student/teacher resources. That's just our starting list, but we did have other items in our backlog that didn't make it past the chopping block for this first phase of the site revamp.

Thanks again for hanging in there, everybody, and for your continued support of the site!


What is Latdict?

Latdict is a powerful dictionary tool to aid those wishing to lookup Latin words or their English equivalents. Latdict currently boasts 39,225 Latin word entries, and 229,345 searchable English words.

What’s so Great about Latdict?

Several Latin dictionaries currently exist on the web, but most of them provide raw, cryptic or otherwise unwanted results. I created LATdict because I was tired of dealing with irrelevant search results and digging through cryptic codes that described a word's function and history. When I finished creating LATdict, the dictionary exhibited the following features:

  • Latdict uses an effective and efficient search algorithm, based on experience working with other websites that provide a query-based service.
  • Latdict also ranks entries based on how often they appear in Latin literature; Latin can have several different words for the same term, but some words are more popular than others. Latdict utilizes the information to provide more common words at the top of dictionary search results.
  • Latdict spells everything out in plain English (or Latin). One thing that constantly pains me about Latin dictionaries is that they often omit information about their entries, such as omitting declension, conjugation, and other auxiliary information. Other dictionaries might list this information, but provide it in a raw or otherwise cryptic format. Latdict goes out of its way to specify information about each entry. In fact, Latdict also provides other information as well, including the age of the entry, its area of use, its geographical influence, its frequency, and the source of the entry.

What’s Coming up?

Two Words: Advanced Search

Yes, I am still working on this! Still one of the largest unfulfilled requests is the ability to perform advanced searches. I plan to rectify this situation once I finish the grammar section. “Advanced Search” will have the following features:

  • Search a particular part of speech (verb, adverb, adjective, etc.)
  • Search by word commonality, geographic location(s) used, time periods used, or source
  • Search by declension or conjugation

Once that is complete, I hope to start having inflection matching. This means that you will no longer have to search for a word in its dictionary form (e.g. nominative/genetive for nouns and adjectives, principle parts for verbs). This will really help casual visitors who are wanting to look up words but know absolutely nothing about Latin inflection. The real challenge with this feature, however, is the fact that there are so many exceptions to each inflection pattern that it will be hard to get most of them down.

Latin Reading