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The JMdict/EDICT project has as its goal the production of a freely available Japanese/English Dictionary in machine-readable form.
The project began in 1991 with the expansion of the "EDICT" simple Japanese-English dictionary file. (See below under History)
At present the project has the following dictionary files available:
A short EDICT overview page is available which lists some of the software which uses this file;
The dictionary data is held in a database (details below) and new editions of the JMdict and EDICT files are generated and distributed daily.
The files are copyright, and distributed in accordance with the Licence Statement, which can found at the WWW site of the Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group who are the owners of the copyright.
CURRENT VERSION & DOWNLOAD
The project's master database is continuously being updated and new versions of the files are generated daily. The date of generation is included in the header of the files.
The files are currently distributed via the Monash University ftp server, which also provides an rsync service. The main files available are:
The are several forums where this project is actively discussed.
The original forum was the sci.lang.japan Usenet newsgroup. More recently a mailing list specifically for project discussion has begun. (Mail to email@example.com to initiate subscription.)
DATABASE and UPDATING
The dictionary data is all held in a PostgreSQL database and maintained using the JMdictDB online system. The JMdict version is generated directly from the database. From this the EDICT/EDICT2 versions are generated using utility software. You can explore the database and propose edits and new entries via its Search Form.
The EDRDG Wiki has a wealth of information about the dictionary database, including sugeestions about getting started, the detailed editorial policy and guidelines, etc. etc.
The basic format of the entries in the dictionary files can be seen in detail by examining the DTD (Document Type Declaration) of the XML-format JMdict file. The DTD is heavily annotated with content and structural information. (download)
In summary, each dictionary entry is independent, although there may be cross-reference fields pointing to other entries. Each entry consists of
The format and coding of the distributed files is as follows:
Where there are multiple senses, these are indicated by (1), (2), etc. before the first gloss in each sense. As this format only allows a single kanji headword and reading, entries are generated for each possible headword/reading combination. As the format restricts Japanese characters to the kanji and kana fields, any cross-reference data and other informational fields are omitted.
The EDICT file is distributed in JIS X 0208 coding in EUC-JP encapsulation;
In addition, the EDICT2 has as its last field the sequence number of the entry. This matches the "ent_seq" entity value in the XML edition. The field has the format: EntLnnnnnnnnX. The EntL is a unique string to help identify the field. The "X", if present, indicates that an audio clip of the entry reading is available from the JapanesePod101.com site.
The EDICT2 file is distributed in JIS X 0208 and JIS X 0212 codings in EUC-JP encapsulation;
None of the files have the entries in any particular order.
The project was begun in 1991 by the current editor (Jim Breen) when an early DOS-based Japanese word-processor (MOKE - Mark's Own Kanji Editor) was released, containing an initial small version of the EDICT file. This was progressively expanded and edited over the following years. In 1999 the EDICT, which by this time contained about 60,000 entries, was converted into an expanded format and the first XML-format JMdict file released. From that point both JMdict and EDICT have been generated from the same source data.
The EDICT2 format was created in 2003, primarily for use with the WWWJDIC dictionary server.
The growth in entries in the file is largely due to the efforts of Jim and the many people who contributed entries to it over the years. The increase in entry numbers has slowed as the file has achieved coverage of a large proportion of the Japanese lexicon. Much of the editorial work in recent years has concentrated on amendments and expansion to existing entries.
A more expanded explanation of the early developments in the EDICT file can be found in the original documentation.
Dictionary copyright is a difficult point, because clearly the first lexicographer who published "inu means dog" could not claim a copyright violation over all subsequent Japanese dictionaries. While it is usual to consult other dictionaries for "accurate lexicographic information", as Nelson put it, wholesale copying is, of course, not permissible, and contributors have been advised to avoid direct copying from other sources. What makes each dictionary unique (and copyright-able) is the particular selection of words, the phrasing of the meanings, the presentation of the contents (a very important point in the case of this project), and the means of publication.
The files of the project are copyright, and distributed in accordance with the Licence Statement, which can found at the WWW site of the Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group who are the current owners of the copyright. As explained in the licence, the files are available for use for most purposes provided acknowledgement and distribution of the documentation is made.
In general no inflections of verbs or adjectives have been included, except in idiomatic expressions. Adverbs formed from adjectives (e.g., -ku or -ni) are generally not included. Verbs are, of course, in the plain or "dictionary" form.
Composed forms, such as adverbs taking the "to" particle, keiyoudoushi adjectives, etc. are only included in their root from, however the part-of-speech (POS) marker is used to indicate their status.
Nouns which can form a verb withe the auxiliary verb "suru" only appear in their noun form, but have a POS marker: "vs", to indicate the existence of a verbal form. In general the gloss only relates to the noun itself, but entries are being progressively expanded to include the verbal glosses as well.
The dictionary includes one or more Part of Speech (POS) markings on almost every entry. Examples include: "adj-i" (adjective - 形容詞), "n" (noun - 名詞), "prt" (particle - 助詞), etc. (Full POS list)
A number of entries are marked with a specific field of application, e.g. "chem" (chemistry), "math" (mathematics), etc. (Full field list)
A number of miscellaneous tags are included in entries to provide additional information is a standardized form, e.g. "col" (colloquialism), "sl" (slang), "uk" (term usually in kana), etc. (Full list)
The ke_pri and equivalent re_pri fields in the JMdict file are provided to record information about the relative commonness or priority of the entry, and consist of codes indicating the word appears in various references which can be taken as an indication of the frequency with which the word is used. This field is intended for use either by applications which want to concentrate on entries of a particular priority, or to generate subset files. The current values in this field are:
Entries with news1, ichi1, spec1/2 and gai1 values are marked with a "(P)" in the EDICT and EDICT2 files.
While the priority markings accurately reflect the status of entries with regard to the various sources, they must be seen as only providing a crude indication of how common a word or expression actually is in Japanese. The "(P)" markings in the EDICT and EDICT2 files appear to identify a useful subset of "common" words, but there are clearly some marked entries which are not very common, and there are clearly unmarked entries which are in common use, particularly in the spoken language.
Okurigana variants in headwords are handled by including each variant form as a headword. This is to enable software to match with variant forms.
As far as possible variants of English translation and spelling are included. Where appropriate different translations are included for national variants (e.g. autumn/fall, tap/faucet, etc.). Common spelling variations such as -our/-or and -ize/-ise are handled either by repeating the gloss in both spellings or appending spelling variants in parentheses. No attempt is made to tag English spellings according to country of usage.
For loanwords (gairaigo) which have not been derived from English words, the source language and the word in that language are included. Languages have been coded in the three-letter codes from the ISO 639-2:1998 "Codes for the representation of names of languages" standard, e.g. "(fre: avec)" in the EDICT/EDICT2 files and <lsource xml:lang="fre">avec</lsource> in the JMdict file. (Full list of language tags)
In the case of gairaigo which have a meaning which is not apparent from the original (usually English) words, the words in the source language are included as: "lang: original words", e.g.
In some cases the entries are pseudo-loanwords that have been constructed in Japan from foreign (usually English) words or word fragments (e.g. 和製英語 - waseieigo). These are tagged with "wasei" in EDICT/EDICT2 entries, e.g.
and in JMdict with the "ls_wasei" attribute e.g. <lsource ls_wasei="y">against wind</lsource>
A number of tags are used to indicate that a word or phrase is associated with a particular regional language variant within Japan, e.g. "ksb" (Kansai-ben). (Full list)
The JMdict file has the capacity to record glosses for Japanese headwords in many languages. As part of the daily build of the file, the Japanese headwords are matched against a number of other dictionary files and glosses included for those languages. JMdict is currently distributed in two versions: a basic version in which there are only English glosses, and a full version in which there are glosses included in German (111,000 entries), Russian (77,000), Hungarian (51,000), Spanish (39,000), Italian (38,000), Dutch (29,000), Swedish (16,000), French (15,000) and Slovenian (9,000).
Details of the dictionary files used for the non-English glosses in JMdict can be found in the WWWJDIC documentation.
A number of other Japanese dictionary projects are closely related to this one. Among them are:
Since 1991 a large number of people have contributed to this project; far too many to list here. All their contributions have been most welcome, indeed without the assistance of speakers and students of Japanese this project would not have achieved as much.
The EDICT/JMdict has been granted approval to use material from the Japanese WordNet. This approval is most welcome.
Some publications by Jim Breen about the EDICT/JMdict project: