Creating a dictionary app from a wordlist in Excell/Calc


I had to recently complete a a 1,100 wordlist for Chamalal (Nakh Dagestanian) with translations for each item available in Russian and English. Given that this was such a large work I would like to use this to create apps for the community (ideally one Russian-Chamalal and another English-Chamalal dictionary).
I am separately working on a project in Flex for the language, but the kind of lexicon I would get from that would be misleading (there are tons of suffixes which I have been glossing not super consistently, because of suppletion and stem allomorphy, and it would be very confusing for the users overall). Moreover, I don’t want to be adding one by one all the items to the FLEX database; so exporting through a FLEX database may not be an option. Could anyone help to create the dictionaries? I’m happy for all the data to be open for everyone and to be integrated into other databases.

Many thanks in advance.


Hi Kristian,
welcome to the board!

Would it be possible to use FLEX after all? If the data in FLEX is good and you just want to exclude some of it, do the following:

  1. In Lexicon - Lexicon Edit view first show all the columns you want to export, e.g. the five fields headword, English glosses, definition, example sentence, example translation. Also, apply any filter, e.g. exclude suffixes. Now, click a word and press ctrl + A to select all. Wait for a few minutes :slight_smile: After a few minutes, everything will be selected. Now, press ctrl + c two times to copy it all. This might also take a minute or so.

  2. Open an excel sheet and paste everything, leaving the first row empty for the tags. Now, name the columns using dashes in front. In theory, there are specific FLEX markers for every column, but during import into FLEX you can assign every marker a certain field in FLEX, so it’s not really necessary to use the correct tags.
    That’s what it could look like (headword, English gloss, Chamalal sentence, English translation)

Save the excel sheet as .xls ( not .xlsx) and close it.

  1. Download the small and easy to use SheetSwiper to create a SFM file out of the excel (.xls) sheet. The tool is self-explanatory. As a result you get a .SFM file that can be used for import into FLEX.

  2. Rename the example.SFM to example.db

  3. Create a new FLEX project. Under File, go to Import > Standard Format Lexicon. Choose your .db file, map your markers to fields in Fieldworks and import your data - you now have a clean FLEX project with only the data you want in your dictionary.

Obviously, as soon as you have word lists in any format, you can start from step 2 to create a SFM file that can be imported into FLEX. As soon as the entries are in FLEX, creating the dictionary via DAB is a quick and simple process.

Maybe that helps :thinking: