Review of Free Online German-English BEOLINGUS Dictionary

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BEOLINGUS Dictionary is a free online German-English dictionary developed by the BEOLINGUS team at the Chemnitz University of Technology (TU Chemnitz) in Chemnitz, Germany. Work on the project began in 1995 and continues through the present. Members of the BEOLINGUS team working on the dictionary include faculty of the English Language & Linguistics department at the TU Chemnitz and specialists of English and German pronunciation as well as experts on website organization, technology, and integration. For more information on the background of the online dictionary, please consult the About BEOLINGUS webpage.

German-English Dictionary

The main search feature of the BEOLINGUS Dictionary is incredibly user-friendly for speakers of both German and English. The homepage of the dictionary website is also the main search box, allowing users to quickly and easily begin searching. Unlike most other dictionaries, the BEOLINGUS Dictionary does not require the user to select the from and to languages for translation. Instead, users simply type a German or English word into the search box, which equally produces search results. For example, both the English library and the German bibliothek yield the same bilingual entry of ten potential results. A link to the main search feature appears in the upper left corner of each webpage in the dictionary.

Within each search result entry, the BEOLINGUS Dictionary provides a variety of information and features to further aid the user. The grammatical gender, an important aspect of the German language, of relevant word categories (noun, pronoun) is prominently displayed in brackets next to each word. For example, bibliothek “library” is clearly marked as feminine with an {f} directly following the word. The dictionary also includes audio files, which are played through an application on the website, to aid with the pronunciation of words in both German and English. Finally, the dictionary allows users to further explore entries of specific words by searching for sample sentences in which the chosen word is included. For example, the Example Sentences feature yielded 192 sample sentences in both German and English that illustrate the use of the noun bibliothek “library.” All of the advanced features in the BEOLINGUS Dictionary enhance the value and usability of the online dictionary.

Special Subject Word Lists

In addition to the traditional German-English dictionary, BEOLINGUS dictionary also includes word lists of special subjects. The Wortlisten zu Fachthemen/Word Lists for Special Subjects section contains over forty lists in both German and English of words on common, frequent, and important subjects such as numbers; time, dates, and days; food; and general conversation. The webpage additionally includes lists of more academic topics including agriculture, economy and finance, medicine and pharmacology, philosophy and religion, and technology. The special subject word lists section is an excellent quick reference resource.

German Grammar

BEOLINGUS Dictionary additionally provides a small section of useful grammar links. The Grammar section for information related to German grammar, however, only contains two links that lack helpful descriptions. Although the German-English dictionary provided by BEOLINGUS is an excellent resource for speakers of both German and English, users would be well-advised to search for information on German grammar through other sources.

Help Features

Finally, the Help section of the BEOLINGUS Dictionary is a useful tool for users who have questions about searching the dictionary as well as about the structure of word entries. Also included in the Help section is information about the system requirements required to fully access the dictionary and related audio files. The Frequently Asked Questions section additionally provides information in the form of answers to questions frequently asked by users. For users who have additional questions not answered by any of the sections of the website, contact information is available in the Contact section, allowing users to directly contact members of the BEOLINGUS team. All of the help features enhance the usability of the dictionary.