Site Revamp in the Works (yes, really)

Update (7/1/2019)

Salvete, everyone! Progress has been ongoing on two out of the three following features I had listed out in a prior update:

  • To search more intelligently for variations of Latin words, not just search for matches against their dictionary forms.
  • To provide full declension/conjugation tables for word entries and search results.

Essentially, we are writing a parser/assembler from scratch, which is painstaking. While Latin is considered a very academically rigid language, the fact remains that it still has several irregularities, plus a language that persists across millennia has a habit of changing, and we wanted to write our parser/assembler to account for some of the major deviations (like providing optional old poetic variations of declension endings). Like the website itself, the parser/assembler will be open-sourced to the public. It's intentionally been created as a self-contained component to keep it decoupled from the website.

So, I addressed "two out of three" of the features in the works. The third feature is: Adding tools, quizzes and games to the learning resources section. This has taken a back seat until the other two features are better hooked in with the parser/assembler. But it's certainly next on the roadmap!

Finally, I want to apologize for the slow responses to emails I have been receivign from every one of you. Rest assured, at the very least I can say with certainty that I have read every single message that has hit my inbox. I still aim to respond to each of you in kind—but for those of you asking for me to evaluate tattoos they want to get, let me hit you with a blanket statement: Don't get a tattoo of anything in a language you don't speak confidently. But if you insist, there's a Latin subreddit just for tattoos.

Back to the grind now. Also, there's now a fun little Critical Role easter egg in the search form, because I can do that.

Love you all,

—Kevin

P.S. When the new site launches, we are probably going to kill the ads. The amount of revenue is just enough to cover for the site's hosting costs, but for me it's also a tax nightmare, and most people have ad blocks anyway (I sure do!). But on a moral level, I also want to stop putting us further down what Mikko calls a "Free Lunch" style of service, where the service is provided "free of charge" in exchange for selling ads, which seem harmless but these networks promote tracking of personal data, even if the user does not consent to it. Since I can't control what the ad networks do, I'd rather opt just to eliminate ads entirely and provide this website as a legitimate "free lunch" so to speak, no strings attached. I make enough money to offset the hosting costs for now, and if we ever hit financial dire straits in the future, we can re-evaluate how to pay the costs.

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.

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