How to use Free Software to learn Japanese, and more.

Setting up GoldenDict-NG

March 22, 2023 — Tatsumoto Ren

GoldenDict-NG is a libre dictionary application for GNU/Linux and other OSes. Like Qolibri, it lets you search multiple dictionaries at the same time so for every word you look up you immediately get a number of definitions. GoldenDict-NG is a great tool for language learners, and it becomes especially helpful when one switches from bilingual dictionaries to monolingual dictionaries. It can aid during the monolingual transition thanks to the ability to look up many words at once in separate tabs, simplifying recursive look-ups.


Setting up Qolibri

September 29, 2021 — Tatsumoto Ren

Qolibri is a Qt-based dictionary viewer. It lets you search multiple dictionaries at one time so for every word you look up you immediately get multiple definitions. Qolibri remains one of the most widely used Japanese dictionary viewers for GNU/Linux.

By itself, Qolibri is just a viewer. To utilize it, you need dictionary files. The dictionary files Qolibri reads are called EPWINGs. EPWING (electronic publishing WING) is a dictionary format that was allegedly utilized in portable electronic dictionaries.

Qolibri is much better than Rikaitan at searching a big number of dictionaries at the same time. If you try to use more than 5 dictionaries with Rikaitan, it quickly becomes very cluttered and hard to navigate. Qolibri lists all dictionaries you have on a sidebar. It is easy to jump between them if you need to.

If you haven't started using Japanese to Japanese dictionaries yet, feel free to skip this article for now. Though Japanese to English dictionaries for Qolibri exist, their number is not very large. The main reason you want to use the program is to browse monolingual dictionaries.


Setting up Rikaitan

April 24, 2021 — Tatsumoto Ren

Rikaitan is a browser extension with a pop-up dictionary that allows you to look up unknown words with the hover of a mouse. On top of that Rikaitan can be set up to create Anki cards from the words which you look up.

The process of picking sentences from your immersion and making Anki cards is called sentence-mining or sentence-picking. Each mined sentence has to contain one unknown piece of information, which is referred to as target word.

You don't necessarily have to pick an entire sentence, but if you're a TSC user it is not necessary to keep mined items short. When you're out in the wild picking sentences, select the ones that are interesting to you. Your goal is not to mine every word.


Rikaitan, EPWING and MDX dictionaries

December 13, 2020 — Tatsumoto Ren

In this article I will provide you with download links for dictionary files. These dictionary files can be opened with various programs, including the ones mentioned below. These files are almost indispensable for any language learner. Having these files will help you to learn new words and get closer to fluency. So, let's get started!


Understanding monolingual definitions

January 06, 2022 — Tatsumoto Ren

A typical entry in a monolingual dictionary looks similar to this:

あした [3] 【明日・朝】 (名)

Every dictionary usually has its own, unique system of notation. On this page I primarily use 大辞泉 as an example. If you need help finding monolingual dictionaries, see the Dictionaries resources section.