Tag Archives: Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon

New Features at the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon (CAL)

A bunch of new search options are now available at the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon over at Hebrew Union College. Here’s the official statement:

The Advantages of the Online Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon

Welcome to the first complete online academic lexicon of a classical Semitic language and the first dictionary of all of the classical dialects of Aramaic.  As an online dictionary, the CAL itself has many advantages over the traditional printed book:

  • Entries may be accessed by root, by canonical form, or by the complete form as found in texts.  For example, confronted by ובמלכותה the entry can be found by searching for the form as it is, by the root “mlk” or by the lemma “mlkw.” No longer is alphabetization an issue.
  • Entries may be accessed by the Aramaic word, by any English word used in the glosses, or by certain semantic fields.
  • Citations within entries may be searched.
  • Searching may use Roman transliteration, Unicode, Square script (Hebrew) or Syriac keyboards.
  • Citations from the database are linked to the full text.  Click on a citation in an entry to see it in its original context.  From the context, you will find yourself in text browse mode where a click on any other word displays the appropriate lexical entry.
  • A complicated entry may also be viewed without justifying citations so as to better study its overall semantic structure.
  • Entries display the page numbers where a word is treated in the major previous dialect dictionaries and, more importantly, links to online displays of those digitized pages where allowed by copyright.
  • There are no separate pages for abbreviations.  Hover with the mouse over an unfamiliar abbreviation and a revealing “tooltip” appears.
  • The CAL is live!  We are constantly adding texts, adding new words, and improving entries.  Active work is in progress improving our textbases and treatments of the less well-known dialects, in particular Mandaic, Samaritan, and Nabataean. All scholarly references to the CAL should thus include the date when the reference was found.  We invite corrections from users!
  • Although in the sense of the previous paragraph the CAL is not yet “complete,” we have decided to open the lexicon to academe: As of February, 2013, our database consists of over two million parsed words, over 30,000 individual lemmas (and 7,000 cross-references), over 60,000 glosses, and about 20,000 citations.

And here’s a list that’s currently up and most obviously new:

  1. Browse the Lexicon – You can now enter in the first few letters of a lemma to browse through all entires that begin with those letters (rather than using wild cards as before).
  2. Citation Search (“Search for combinations of English words within citations”) – You can enter up to three words in English to search for in citations (i.e. translated examples, for those not familiar with the term).
  3. Advanced Binary Search – Allows you to search for lemmas that are found a certain number of words way from each other. Good for finding phrases and studying idioms.
  4. Dictionary Collation – Although this isn’t “new” as in “brand new right now,” it’s one of the younger features that’s getting better every month. You can enter what page you’re looking at in any of the standard works listed (such as Jastrow, or Sokoloff’s DJPA, etc.) and it returns a list of each CAL lemma (i.e. dictionary entry) for that page, in order. Since traditional lemmas can be quite different between dialects and dictionaries, this is a wonderful thing to have on hand.
Be sure to check them out as more are being added.

New Feature at The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon

The “Dictionary Collation”:

Since the CAL covers so many different Aramaic dialects with varying spelling systems, we have had to adopt a spelling convention for our lemmas (headwords) that is often at odds with those found in individual dialect dictionaries. Thus we have implemented this page to enable users easily to find CAL entries corresponding to those in whatever earlier dictionary they might be using. Enter the page number of the dictionary and see a list of all lemmas currently corresponding to that page.* You may also use this for collation among dictionaries where cross references are scant or missing. For example, where is one to find the word לחתא (Jastrow p. 705 “splint bone”) in DJBA? (Answer: CAL lemma lḥtDJBA לוחתא.) For multi-volume Dictionaries without sequential pagination, enter the page number as e.g., “1:134, 2:212.”

Now to tinker with it and see how it works.


The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon is Up

Blogger is behaving oddly, so I’ll make this brief.

Here’s the official announcement about what happened to The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon:

A Note to our users: We apologize for the unavailability of our system during the six weeks between early May and mid-June, 2011. The CAL server was struck by a hacker from an ISP in London, UK precisely on the day that Dr. Kaufman left the country, apparently simply because he or she wanted a complete copy of our online version of Sokoloff’s DJPA and wanted to save the $100 for the second edition and received instead an early draft of the first edition, while totally comprimising the system. There is no indication that the identity of any of our users was looked for or their own privacy comprised in any way. The length of the delay is a direct function of the fact that we have failed to have any NEH funding renewed for many years now and the CAL continues on solely as a labor of love without any paid researchers.

If I find out who did this, it may not be pleasant.

Now off to get some queries done… 🙂


The CAL is Brewing

Well, over the past few weeks I was putting the finishing touches on the first chunk of the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon redesign.

After some surprisingly brief troubleshooting, a few days ago Dr. Kaufman was able to get the code I wrote up and working. Over the next month or two things should start going live!

I’ll post updates here as it unfolds. 🙂