[sword-devel] MDF/SFM Dictionary Import into Sword Format

Luke Schroeder luke at motimail.com
Sun Apr 17 18:11:54 MST 2011

Does anyone with a basic knowledge of programming see any merit in the 
following idea?  Make a script that takes basic components of a 
dictionary and formats it alphabetically into the sword imp format.  The 
imp format being as follows:

$$$word in another language
Definition or gloss of word immediately below.

The dictionary format being the standard used by Bible translators, 
called MDF (Manual for Dictionary Formatting?) and adapted in the SIL's 
program Fieldworks.  My idea of a script would be to allow the user to 
input the backslash codes into the script for the word, sense number, 
part of speech, definition, example sentence, example sentence 
translated.  In our dictionary these codes would be: \lc, \sn, \ps, \ge, 
\xv, \xe but in others dictionaries they would want the ability to adapt 
the backslash codes a little since often Fieldworks gives backslash 
codes that include the language name.  The script would then output a 
file in imp format.  The file would look like this:
[Part of speech] [Definition] (1st sense of word)

[Example Sentence]
[Example Sentence translation]

[Part of speech] [Definition] (2nd sense of word

[Example Sentence]
[Example Sentence translation]

It seems to me like this is very basic programming.  It also seems to me 
that if someone really go into the project they could do a lot more than 
what I just described.  Finally I find this beneficial, because most of 
the Bible translation teams for minority languages are working on 
dictionaries at the same time.  For people like the group I work with, 
the dictionary is valued more than the Bible.  It is easy to get the 
Bibles into Sword format.  If this script were made it would be easy to 
get dictionaries into sword format (at least in their most basic form).  
Having the two distributed together allows interaction between both 
works.  It helps younger people in the language understand the deeper 
words of their language.

Any programmers out their interested?

Sincerely yours,
Luke S.

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