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MED Web Watch NEW!
Dictionaroake –
the singing dictionary

MED Web Watch
by Mairi MacDonald

Next in a series of short articles looking at web resources useful for teachers and learners of English. As a rough guide, each site is marked out of 25 in terms of content, design and ease-of-use.

Dictionaroake – the singing dictionary

The most exciting dictionary music on the Web ever! This is the claim made by and who can argue with that?

This is a site that has to be heard to be believed. It offers 100 MP3 downloads of 'songs' created using sound files taken from online dictionaries. Add some cheesy background music and you have the distinctive sound of dictionaraoke.

So is this of any benefit to the language student or teacher? Essentially the site is a bit of fun but for anyone who likes to use songs in the classroom this is a possible alternative – certainly the individual pronunciation of each word makes it a lot easier to decipher the lyrics. Comparing the dictionaraoke version of a song with that of the original might provoke some pronunciation-related discussion. Some songs are more thesaurus-oke than dictionaraoke as synonyms have been used instead of the actual lyrics; the first line of How soon is now? by The Smiths is "I am the son and the heir of a shyness that is criminally vulgar". Somehow this becomes "I am the scion and inheritor of a social phobia that is unlawfully uncouth" which is almost a lesson in itself.

On the down side the files themselves are quite large, weighing in at between 1 and 6 MB. Not too bad if you've got a broadband connection but effectively beyond the means of ordinary dial-up. Also the site looks as though it hasn't been updated for some time (Song of the Week is dated October 2002). Should you be tempted to make your own dictionaraoke sound file, be warned that it appears to be no longer possible to download the sound files from the dictionary sites mentioned in the How-to Guide. Despite the dated feel there is certainly enough core content to keep you going.

current and archived content
graphic design and navigation
speed and technical performance
features and functionality
overall score 13 out of 25