CELT Project (MS image source: CPG 359 copyright Uni-Bibl. Heidelberg)
CELT - Corpus of Electronic Texts
Documents of Ireland
Home About News FAQ Published Captured Search Languages Contact Resources People


The Digital Dinneen: An electronic dictionary for the CELT website

What is the Digital Dinneen, and why produce it?

CELT is an internet-based corpus of multilingual texts of Irish literature and history with 11 million words available, and growing. Through our Project Linking Dictionaries and Texts (LDT) we have collaborated with the University of Ulster at Coleraine, where an electronic Dictionary of Old and Middle Irish (eDIL) has been compiled, covering the period 700-1700. The eDIL is now available here.

At the same time, at CELT a Lexicon of Medieval Irish has been the subject of Dr Julianne Nyhan's PhD. A prototype is now available here. This is the background to our new departure, the Digital Dinneen.

Our Digital Dinneen Research Project will complement eDIL and the Lexicon by adding Irish lexicographical sources from the modern period. These are outside the scope of DIL or eDIL, but form the link to Modern Literary Irish written today. Rev. Patrick Stephen Dinneen’s Irish-English Dictionary is the most authoritative scholarly dictionary of Modern Literary Irish. It holds a rich treasure of Irish words and explanations, but for someone who wants to know Irish equivalents of English words, and is starting from the English language, it is difficult to consult. The Dictionary, published in 1934, has seen many reprints, and is still a classic. This work is not available in electronic form, nor is there any other scholarly electronic Irish-English Dictionary for the period after 1650 available at the moment.

The superior search and interrogation facilities which have become standard in other areas of research can be delivered through an electronic edition. This edition will have a number of added benefits: Many people find the old spelling difficult to deal with—we will include the modern spelling for each headword where the spelling has changed—an advantage over the printed edition. Users will also have the choice of viewing the entries in Cló Gaelach or in Cló Rómhánach. The Digital Dinneen can be used like an English-Irish dictionary, i.e. you can also enter English search terms and bring up the Irish equivalents.

The Digital Dinneen will be xml-encoded for integrated use on the CELT website and linked to our Text Corpus using Javascript recently developed for the Lexicon. Via this Javascript, the user will be able to highlight Old and Middle Irish words, and, at the click of a mouse, view the corresponding Lexicon headwords, with examples, translations and usage. Preparing the Digital Dinneen in the same way will make it an ideal tool for accessing and understanding Literary Modern Irish texts. It will complement the older language periods covered by Lexicon and eDIL, giving a diachronic overview of the development of Irish and its usage. To further broaden CELT’s Text Corpus we will also make available written sources for Modern Irish (17th to 20th century) used as sources by Dinneen.

The three-year-project started in 2005. Dr Julianne Nyhan has been Research Associate on this Project. On completion of her work for the Digital Dinneen the final text editing continues at CELT. Julianne's own webpages are at the Electronic Publishing Unit. The Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences funds the Project.

University College Cork

Compiled by Beatrix Färber

© 2005–2020 Corpus of Electronic Texts
Email CELT: b.faerber(at)ucc.ie

University College Cork