A Talking Plautdietsch Dictionary

In 2006-December, correspondence with Jim Derksen (of the plautdietsch.ca website) led us to begin work on several tools related to the Plautdietsch language, namely a Spell-checker, and a dictionary having both written definitions and spoken words. 

One of the first things I did was download a copy of Herman Rempel's dictionary Kjenn Jie Noch Plautdietsch from mennolink.org.  It will be the basis for the written+spoken dictionary that is coming soon either here or on Jim's website; it will also be one, of several, sources of Plautdietsch words for the Spell-checker. 

Here I'm providing the Herman Rempel dictionary in an alternate form, mainly intended for anyone wanting to transform it into some other Plautdietsch product.  For interactive use, the MennoLink version is probably better.  The version here is not identical to theirs, as I've done some work on eliminating anomalies (more is needed).  Here it is as three files:

Introduction-etc
English-to-Plautdietsch
Plautdietsch-to-English

One formatting convention in those files that may not be obvious, and yet may be useful to some readers, is the use of braces to enclose something in the other language, for example the right-hand-side in the English-to-Plautdietsch file is normally in Plautdietsch so when it contains an English word or phrase that phrase is brace-enclosed; similarly for a Plautdietsch phrase within the right-hand-side of an entry in the Plautdietsch-to-English file.  That still doesn't altogether explain how braces are used: a brace-enclosed phrase can also have the structure of a dictionary entry, with a left-hand-side in one language and a right-hand-side in the other; when such a definition appears within a right-hand-side it's enclosed in braces. 

I want to thank Mr Rempel for his generosity in making the text of his dictionary freely available on the web, for providing Jim with a set of his audio tapes containing the spoken words, and for permitting them to be made freely available. 

2007-06-28:  Jim Derksen, with help from MennoChurch.MB.CA sound studio, has done the audio part of the talking pronouncing-dictionary.  Jim's present version is not a word-by-word talking dictionary, but rather, it has one audio file for each letter of the alphabet, one file has all the words beginning with the letter-A, etc.  Here it is on Jim's website: Herman Rempel's Pronunciation Exercise.


A Plautdietsch Spell-checker

My correspondence with many of the foremost scholars of Plautdietsch has led them to contribute the following sources of Plautdietsch words:

Herman Rempel dictionary -- Mr Rempel's generosity is discussed above;
Reuben Epp wordlist -- Reuben Epp has generously provided a copy of the wordlist from his book The Spelling of Low German & Plautdietsch;
Canadian Bible Society wordlist -- Hart Wiens of the Canadian Bible Society has generously provided the wordlist they developed during their Plautdietsche Bibel project;
Jack Thiessen dictionary -- correspondence with his publisher has NOT YET resulted in my obtaining a machine-readable copy of his dictionary, however I remain hopeful;
Jack Thiessen writings -- Jack Thiessen has provided (and continues to provide) Plautdietsch short-stories, poems, essays, some published, some to be published; 
Ed Zacharias dictionary -- entirely in Plautdietsch, online at opplautdietsch.de/html/wieedabuak.html
Eldo Neufeld conjugated-verbs -- Eldo has provided a copy of his "3501 Plautdietsch Verbs: fully conjugated in all the tenses"; it consists of images and requires OCRing to be usable.

I have come to realize that this is a bigger project than I thought at the onset.  Also my work on other obligations and hobbies sometimes keeps me away from this project for months at a time, so it may yet be a while before I complete it.  I expect the resulting spell-checker to come in two versions:

Lax version -- containing each word spelt according to each of the major spelling-systems for Plautdietsch - intended to be helpful when OCRing Plautdietsch texts;
Raichtschriewinj version -- to be helpful for the writer of Plautdietsch (who is willing to use its spelling-system:-)

2007-06-15:  learned of another Plautdietsch dictionary, by Ed Zacharias, and added the note above.

2008-12-10:  constructed a website of Jack Thiessen stories and other writings.

2009-06-09:  received a copy of Eldo Neufeld's Conjugated Verbs on CD, as noted above.

2011-06-25:  encountered a list of 12,114 Plautdietsch words, www.plautleet.ca/plautrhyme.pdf, compiled by John C Klassen, who informs me by email that the words are taken from the sermons of Jacob Funk as broadcast over many years on FLN's Licht vom Evangelium programs.  He uses the list in his hymn-translation project.