Running the Lion With Leo.org: Learning German Pronunciation and Definitions
written by: Lamar Stonecypher
• edited by: Wendy Finn
• updated: 1/28/2014
Learning German and just can't remember the word you need? Help could be only a swipe of the mouse and a click away. Lion is a fast, handy interface to the Leo.org website. It works in most Windows applications and is free for personal use. Let's try it out.
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Handy German Language App
Lion is a Windows application by Thorsten Schleinzer that acts as a front end or enabling interface to the Leo.org website. If you’re not familiar with Leo, it’s a two-way English to German or German to English dictionary, and more. Here’s what their website looks like.
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In the screen shot above, I entered the German word “Luzern" and found it to be an exact match for Lucerne, a city in Switzerland, in English.
In the screen shot immediately to the right, I have Lion installed and active. I selected Luzern by highlighting it directly in Microsoft Word as I composed this article, and it led to the same result, but in Lion’s interface to Leo.org rather than in a web browser.
Of course, you can get the same effect by going to the Leo.org website, typing in the word you want to hear or define, and then clicking on the speaker icon. Lion just makes it so must faster.
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First, you’ll need to be running Windows XP or Vista. Then download the Lion installer here. As this was written, Lion was a 709 KB download, so it arrives quickly. The images below show the various screens during installation.
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The license file says that Lion is free for personal use, but corporate and business users should contact Leo.org to discuss what they promise will be reasonable licensing fees.
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The Lion help file is in (very good) English and can be accessed by clicking the question mark icon at the top of the main Lion window.
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Lion runs in the background. If the main window is not open, you can access the settings (“Preferences"), About dialog, and Registration dialog (for commercial use) or Exit the program by right-clicking the Lion icon in the notification area or system tray. Preferences can also be accessed by clicking the "wrench" icon in the main Lion program window.
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Selecting “Preferences" in either location pops up the dialog below. This is where you can select the key + click combination that you want to use to activate a Lion lookup. (I tried the Windows key-right-click combination, and it did not work very well at all in Vista. However, the default Cntl-right-click worked fine.)
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Using Lion is the essence of simplicity. In a Windows application, highlight a German word that you'd like to have defined and possibly pronounced. (Pronunciation is not available for all words.) Then click the highlighted word while holding down your combination key. For example, hold down Ctrl and click the word again to evoke Lion to perform the Leo.org look-up.
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Lion also has a word replacement ability that is very handy if you’re trying to learn to converse in German. Here’s how it works. I want to write, “I want to write a sentence" in German, but I’ve forgotten or don’t know the German word for “sentence." Here’s what I enter in Word:
Ich möchte einen sentence schreiben.
Note that I left the word I don’t know in English. I highlight it and Ctrl-right-click it. Lion opens on the correct Leo page, and I scroll down and find the entry where “sentence" is used grammatically.
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Once I’ve found the word that I want, I hold down Alt and click the word in Lion. It replaces the still-highlighted word in Microsoft Word, and here’s what I get:
Ich möchte einen Satz schreiben.
That’s handy indeed.
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Learning German? Download This Right Away
So there you have it. Lion is a light-weight and simple-to-use interface to Leo.org that can be activated from most Windows applications. I found it to be very quick in looking up words that I wanted translated. The word replacement feature works well with Microsoft Word.
The price is very right for personal use. This will be a very powerful tool for those first learning to converse in German, and I can endorse its use without hesitation.