Usability and Accessibility of Bantu Language Dictionaries in the Digital Age: Mobile Access in an Open Environment
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This contribution describes a free and open mobile dictionary app based on open dictionary data. A specific focus is on usability and user-adequate presentation of data. This includes, in addition to the alphabetical lemma ordering, other vocabulary selection, grouping, and access criteria. Beyond search functionality for stems or roots – required due to the morphological complexity of Bantu languages – grouping of lemmas by subject area of varying difficulty allows customization. A dictionary profile defines available presentation options of the dictionary data in the app and can be specified according to the needs of the respective user group. Word embeddings and similar approaches are used to link to semantically similar or related words. The underlying data structure is open for monolingual, bilingual or multilingual dictionaries and also supports the connection to complex external resources like Wordnets. The application in its current state focuses on Xhosa and Zulu dictionary data but more resources will be integrated soon.
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