German resource

by Chris Bertram on November 21, 2004

Regular readers will know that I’ve been trying to learn German since January of this year. And it is going ok. I just want to put in a plug for my favourite German resource: the online German-English dictionary “Leo”: from the Technical University of Munich. Not only is Leo invaluable as you’re trying to decipher that article in Der Spiegel or FAZ, it also enables registered users to enter the words they don’t know into a little personal list and then to test themselves repeatedly on their chosen vocabulary. Leo is also very easy to integrate with Mozilla Firefox both by adding to the search engines box and — this is really great — by installing the ConQuery plugin so you can highlight the German text and then have the dictionary open with a translation in a new tab.



BenA 11.21.04 at 9:06 pm

Interesting resource, thought it’s not exactly geared to the CT crowd. Example: I put in “sublate” and it was unable to give me the German equivalent (“aufheben”). But it did suggest that I might be looking for “subplate.” Turns out that the German word for _that_ (whatever that is) is “die Montageplatte.” Well…it is a Technical University!


ogmb 11.21.04 at 9:19 pm

LEO is user-based and you can submit new words, corrections and queries to the Forum. It’s an excellent resource, I’ve been using it for years.


madison 11.21.04 at 9:26 pm

seeing as there are about a bizzillion of them out there, does anyone have a suggestion for a good french equivalent?


Tobias 11.21.04 at 10:17 pm

And LEO is “google-integrated” – although only for “” queries. Just type the German or English word you are looking for followed by either “de-en” for translations of German to English, or “en-de” for German translations of English words. Google will then highlight a link that takes you to the respective LEO page.

And LEO now also offers a German-French dictionary.


Margaret 11.21.04 at 10:21 pm

Hi – it’s interesting that you have found LEO. It’s very well known here in Germany. I don’t use it much, but it is certainly not a technical dictionary, just one started by technologists / computer people because that’s the kind of thing they like doing. I don’t know what sublate is, but if you Google
sublate site:de
you might get help – the first hit gives aufheben, or search for sublate plus a German word in connection with which it might be discussed (of course, you probably know this).
The trouble with these dictionaries is that there is no arbiter of quality except frequency. I like it if I find the LEO discussions on words that have not yet been completed.


John Quiggin 11.21.04 at 11:38 pm

Any suggestions for good Italian language learning software, preferably running under Mac OS X?


Dan Goodman 11.22.04 at 4:22 am

Very good! I tried it on “gift” (a word whose meaning has diverged in the two languages), and did find one slight error: “gift of the gab” as a phrase in English ought to be “gift of gab”.


Andrew Brown 11.22.04 at 7:30 am

What? No. It’s gift of the gab.

And, just a small defence of Opera, which has had an integrated Leo sidebar for ages, which I use all the time.


CapTVK 11.22.04 at 12:04 pm

Why not just read Volker Reihe ‘s “Strizz” comic in the Frankfurter Algemeiner Zeitung (FAZ)? Sort of a highbrow version of Casper& Hobbes and Doonesbury mixed together. Excellent way to get a touch of modern German society.


des von bladet 11.22.04 at 12:16 pm

Madison: I use for French. It used to have Collins content for French, German, Italian and Spanish, which made it extra-convenient, but Collins have pulled out and they’re trying to rebuild the non-German dictionaries as Leo-style community projects.

(I also have treeware Swedish, French, German, Latin and Norwegian dictionaries within reach. Dictionaries are good!)


Tobias 11.23.04 at 1:03 am

Strizz is great… but I doubt that LEO is actually related to HERR Leo ;)


Styrian Oak 11.25.04 at 1:25 pm

Liebe(r) Chris,

ich wünsche Ihnen viel Glück und Erfolg bei Ihrem Vorhaben, die deutsche Sprache zu erlernen. Es wird Ihnen jedoch vermutlich nicht ganz leicht fallen.

LEO ist jedenfalls ein nützliches Werkzeug, auch für diejenigen unter uns, deren erste Sprache Deutsch ist und die deutsche Texte ins Englische übertragen möchten.

Comments on this entry are closed.