After months of promises, it's finally here! The Latin Dictionary is getting a new update, hopefully full of exciting features. But first things first. You may have noticed that a few months ago I ran a poll on Twitter about what I should rename the dictionary, and then nothing happened. I'm keeping my promise to use the name that won the poll, so it's time for a rebrand. Hopefully it will be much better than Twitter's "to X". The Latin Dictionary will now be called Vocabula.lat, and that will also be the new domain for the dictionary. No need to panic if you got used to latin.rocek.dev, as I will keep the redirect active indefinitely (or at least as long as I keep the rocek.dev domain).
Why the name change? Many friends told me that they wished to cite the dictionary as a source but were hesitant because of the domain name. Also, the previous name was too generic, and there are many dictionaries in the wild. I realised that I should give it something more unique. Luckily, Jan Odstrčilík came up with several ideas, all of which were amazing, and one of them was Vocabula - which many of you voted for. So a big thank you to him!
The name is not, however, the only change. You will probably notice the main difference right away when you try to search for a word. The results are now displayed in a completely different way. Over the past year, in my spare time, I have been trying to figure out how to convert the Whitaker list of words into a human-readable form, and this is the result.
The output of the Whitaker dictionary is now parsed on the server and the meanings of words are separated into sections. Whitaker also provides useful information about the frequency of the word, its geographical location and its usage. All this information was hidden behind single letter abbreviations which were very difficult to decipher for anyone who had not used Whitaker before. The results for a single entry are also sorted by frequency, which means that the word you're looking for is most likely to be at the top, rather than at the bottom, as was often the case with Whitaker's simple results.
For people who prefer the traditional list, you can either use the "show raw data" toggle at the top of each entry to switch to an old results page, or you can use the global flag. Just type
disable:transformation in the search bar and it will be disabled for good.
I have also decided to use the OpenAI ChatGPT 4 model for translation and lemmatisation, which should provide more accurate translations. However, it may take a bit longer to load the results, so please be patient. Also, there is still a limit to how much I'm willing to spend on requests to OpenAI, so if you see a message that the limit has been reached, please try again later.
The last thing that's new will please the French visitors of Vocabula. My great friend Martina Vacková-Reiterová has agreed to help me with the French translation, so Vocabula.lat is now available in French. Many thanks to her! If you find any typos, don't hesitate to let me know and I'll fix them as soon as possible. Unfortunately, Whitaker's translation is not available in French, nor is it available in Czech. Languages can be tricky, and even though I have ideas about how to fully translate it, I'm a bit worried about losing the actual meaning of the words, so it'll stay in English for now.
And that's about it. I hope you enjoy Vocabula.lat, and if you find any bugs or have any suggestions on how to make it even better, let me know 🙂 .