Include an english thesaurus in a future release?

#1
I just thought of this while replying in an earlier thread. I know including an english to english dictionary at some point has been discussed, but for learning Chinese including an english thesaurus would actually be more useful. Reason being that often times when I look up a word in an E-C dictionary I'm unable to find what I need, or it's not quite the right sense. At that point I'll start looking up synonyms to see how they're translated. Having a thesaurus in Pleco would be handy under that sort of scenario.
 
#2
I agree completely with Idolse. I cannot tell you how many times I am using some other source, electronic or hardback, to find a synonym for an English word so that I can find the most closely related Chinese word that I am looking for. As you know, Chinese doesn't really use a thesaurus, so having an English one is extremely useful. And, I am still highly interested in having a high quality English - English dictionary to accompany Pleco. There are too many times when I need to look up the actual definition of an English word I have found in either the English or the Chinese dictionaries so that I can have a clearer usage of the word when explaining it to Chinese who are learning English.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
#3
Good idea, but I'm not sure if there are any good free thesauri available - I guess WordNet could kind of be used that way but it'd be a lot of work to adapt. The 21st Century dictionary should take care of the synonym problem at least, though I agree that for conveying the sense of a word a thesaurus would still be more useful - it's just tough to get the data, the business case for our licensing an English-English dictionary or thesaurus is pretty slim.
 
#4
The way Wordnet definitions are structured it's inclusion would probably take care of both the thesaurus and dictionary requirement, it would help if the formatting was preserved to make the thesaurus references clear - they're hyperlinked on the Wordnet.


Specifically for a thesaurus, try the Moby project:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moby_Project
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/3202

And looks like the project was continued in the form of Aiksaurus at this page:
http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/jared/aiksaurus.cgi
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
#7
Interesting, but in general we'd rather adapt the data ourselves to get it working well with our database / full-text indexing systems.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
#9
Oh, right, sorry. Actually something Moby-based would be a really good showcase for our not-really-exploited-enough-in-2.0 hyperlink feature.
 
#10
Not sure why, but I just got an email notifying me this thread was updated, but now I don't see a message. Perhaps something was deleted?

Anyway, good time to perhaps get a thesaurus back onto the wish list.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
#12
That was a spammer - latest tactic seems to be to (automatically, I assume) extract a few key words from an old discussion thread and write a one-sentence post containing a few of those words with a link to the spammer's website in the hopes that it'll go unnoticed and they'll be able to proceed with their Google-stealing unhindered.

But yes, duly noted, though both that and an English dictionary present a bit of a challenge UI-wise (need a "third mode" besides C-E and E-C; C-C can piggyback on C-E since those are used for the same basic purpose, but E-E is a bit different - people who want to use E-E are generally doing so for different reasons than E-C).
 
#13
Seems like an E-E dictionary would be fairly easy, if Pleco doesn't "crash" when the entry it finds is only English!. We can look up words now by typing in English, and (I assume) the headword is in English...

With the above, couldn't we make our own dictionaries? (I realize that's not sufficient for a full E-E dictionary product).
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
#14
Well yes, but it's going to be awkward to switch between looking up an English word in the E-E dictionary and looking up one in E-C; you'll end up being switched into the E-E dictionary when you don't want to be because it's the only dictionary that contains a certain word, for example, and if you've got a lot of E-E dictionaries you'll have to either do a bunch of taps or a tap-hold to switch between E-E and E-C.
 
#15
Hey Mike,

need a "third mode" besides C-E and E-C; C-C can piggyback on C-E since those are used for the same basic purpose, but E-E is a bit different - people who want to use E-E are generally doing so for different reasons than E-C).
What is wrong with having a third mode/toggle besides finding a proper naming convention for it? Couldn't you just have it demarcated by a capital "E", or by "E-E" or by "英英"?
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
#16
Programming-wise it's kind of awkward - whole lot of code would have to be rewritten / retested for it. Plus there's the issue of people now having to potentially tap twice (or tap-hold) to switch to their desired language - could be mitigated somewhat by only activating E-E mode when an E-E dictionary was installed, but still.

Basically my problem with the E-E feature is that it's too much work for something I'm not convinced a lot of people would use - if I learned nothing else from the giant years-delayed morass of 2.0 it's that sometimes you do have to say no. We'd be doing a lot of work for something that's essentially just a workaround for some of the weaknesses in current E-C dictionaries - if we want to work around those weaknesses there are probably cleverer ways to do it, say by building in a list of synonyms internally (but not as an accessible dictionary) and providing the option to pull up all related E-C definitions along with the one you actually typed in, or to fall back on other words if a definition can't be found for the word you entered.
 
#17
Fair enough Mike.

On a related note, I was talking to one of my friends yesterday who originally purchased Pleco on my suggestion. While he loves the software and uses it on a daily basis, yesterday he confided to me that the plethora of settings and preferences available are overwhelming and quite confusing to him. A large part of this is of course because you have listened to your customers and incorporated nearly every feasible feature that has been requested. It is definitely a balancing act that you have to go through with deciding which features to add because they would be useful to your customers and which ones not to add, not because they aren't useful but because of the additional layers of preferences and complexity in programming they might add and yet only for the benefit of a few users, while causing nearly all of your customers to have to deal with the new preferences' settings.

Anyway, keep up the great work Mike. We all love your product! And, I for one, can't wait to put it on my unlocked, jailbroken 3.0 OS.

Cheers!

Darrol :)
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
#18
Thanks! And yes, this is a big part of why I've been trying to diminish expectations on the iPhone version in that respect at least - it's an excellent opportunity for us to trim some of the fat settings-wise.
 
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