Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tingle Triggers: Talking Dictionary

This one is going to sound odd – more so than a lot of posts that I have up here.

The other night while I was writing, I did something which I often do: I looked up a word in the dictionary. But this isn’t any old dictionary. It’s not the sort that you haul out of the closet and slam on to the desk; blowing all the dust off it, before handling the fragile, aged pages.

No, this is a talking dictionary. It resides on my desktop, as an icon. I can open it within a couple of seconds, and look something up. But where the beauty of it is, is that you can click a word to see how its pronounced. Remarkably useful for when you don’t want to sound silly when trying to pronounce a word of French origin, for instance.

I’d say it’s one of the best inventions ever, right after the mute button on the television remote. And it’s by Oxford, naturally. Hugely outdated, but it’s by Oxford.    

screenshot393

No, not in there yet…

Anyway, I opened up the program, and started browsing through for a word that I wanted to find out more about. I saw a word that wasn’t the one I was looking for, but clicked on it anyway, intrigued. I forget what it was now, but when the word was sounded aloud so that I could hear the pronunciation, I instantly started getting all tingly. Of course, I kept clicking it over and over again (luckily I had my headset on, otherwise the neighbours would have complained!), and I was getting short little bursts of sensillations.

So I started looking for other words that might do it. But that’s the thing: they are so far and few between, and the male and female voices that power the sounds aren’t always that adept at triggering it. But I’ll tell you now that it’s a great motivation to look things up, seeing as not only do you learn something; improve your vocabulary, but you might get a nice little surprise - a reward of sorts – every now and again.

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