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Education The Internet

Universal Free Dictionary 384

Zdenek Broz writes "The all free dictionaries project focuses on maintaining free dictionaries (now more than 90 with more than 3,300,000 translations). We are designing a new system which will unite them all into one universal dictionary for all languages. The universal dictionary will be soon available for free under GPL."
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Universal Free Dictionary

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  • Engrish Module? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mfh ( 56 )
    This seems to be entirely useful. The proposed design looks like they will have a quick dictionary lookup on a word in the language being used with a definition, and cross-reference to the same word in other languages. That could be entirely useful, and anyone who enjoys Engrish [] might wish to help add that module (mostly for fun), but it looks like this project might actually take some of the mystery out of translation. Perhaps Engrish is going to be a thing of the past?
    • Re:Engrish Module? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dancingmad ( 128588 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @12:24AM (#11039205)
      The first entry can be "entirely useful."

      I always apperciate the English speakers (generally Americans) who think Engrish is some way of life. I wonder what their Japanese skills are (let alone English).
      • Re:Engrish Module? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dubl-u ( 51156 ) *
        I always apperciate the English speakers (generally Americans) who think Engrish is some way of life. I wonder what their Japanese skills are (let alone English).

        I'm sure the Japanese are just as amused by all the westerners who get tatoos of Japanese characters without getting them checked by a native speaker.
    • Phrase translation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 09, 2004 @12:47AM (#11039346)
      Actually what is needed is a phrase translator (like those electronic pocket thingies you can buy ..they're great ..especially the ones that will actually say out the phrase for you) .. Rather than just translating words .. a dictionary that translates actual common sentences would add tremendous value. This is important because a dictionary doesnt tell you diddly on how to construct a meaningful sentence let alone help you understand common idioms.
      • by clsc ( 730336 )
        And there's more to it than that. Some languages have more word states than others, eg. depending on past/present tense(s), singular/plural, and/or who you're talking to. Not to mention synonyms and words with more than one meaning depending on context.

        And then there are words that shouldn't be translated - eg. in Danish, the common word for "Download" is "Download" even though it's English. You can translate "Download" of course ("Hent ned"), but nobody in Denmark use those Danish terms, so a translation
    • Re:Engrish Module? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @01:49AM (#11039624) Homepage
      It won't be a good mapping when neither of the two languages are english, though.

      Take an abstract or ambiguous word in one language (that describes a lot of them); it will have multiple related translations in english. Each of them (describing something abstract or ambiguous) will have multiple related translations in the target language. Instead of getting three or four reasonable translation candidates, you end up with several dozen - or more - most of which aren't actually a good fit for the original word.

      Having dictionaries for pairs of languages are far, far preferable to going through a third language.
    • Here's a free one that I bookmarked a couple years ago. Once you figure out the interface, you can put in a a word and have the translation from one, or several languages at once. []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 09, 2004 @12:19AM (#11039174)
    Klingon? Jive? 1337 5P34K? Pig Latin?
  • by teiresias ( 101481 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @12:20AM (#11039177)
    I'm all for this but [],Babelfish [], and google [] meet my dictionary needs.
  • by koreaman ( 835838 ) <> on Thursday December 09, 2004 @12:20AM (#11039178)
    Why not just contribute to Wiktionary?
    Or if they don't like the possibility of vandos, why not fork Wiktionary?
  • by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @12:20AM (#11039180)
    Great! Now I can add all of my typos and misspellings to the dictionary and the slashdot spelling weenies won't be able to say anything.
  • Urban Dictionary (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eln ( 21727 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @12:21AM (#11039181)
    I think a multi-language Urban Dictionary [] for slang would be far more useful.
    • Re:Urban Dictionary (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gardyloo ( 512791 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @12:36AM (#11039300)
      Perhaps. But the problem with slang in general, and "urban slang" especially, is that it is *so* dependent on puns, knowledge of popular (or geek) culture in one particular part of the world, and so forth. I fear that if many of these slang words/phrases are translated, unless the translators are especially good at capturing all or most of the "background" things in a given definition, the whole impact of the slang term will be totally lost. Explaining a joke usually takes the point of the joke and totally chews it up.

      Somewhat like translating haikus into English. The whole 5-7-5 thing is fun and challenging, I suppose (I personally hated having to write them in middle school, mainly because it was in lieu of worthwhile reading and writing), but (supposedly; I don't know Japanese) the poems in the parent language probably have a lot of import that the translated-to language may lack.

      Then again, a woman at a party once told James Thurber that she'd read a French translation of his My Life and Hard Times, adding, "You know, the book is even better in French!" To which Thurber replied, "Yes---my work tends to lose something in the original."
  • by ownermachina ( 137072 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @12:21AM (#11039183) [] has been doing this for a long time, what's wrong with them?
    • has been doing this for a long time, what's wrong with them?

      Before reading your post, I wasn't aware of the project. Taking one word at random, "dog", I was surprised by the number of missing entries in the links: canine, pup, dogs, domesticated are amongst the dozens of undefined entries. I don't know exactly how long you mean by a long time but it sure looks incomplete to me...

  • why GPL? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by emkman ( 467368 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @12:23AM (#11039197)
    Aren't there much better licenses for dictionaries than the GPL? Creative Commons comes to mind. What does the Guttenberg project use?
  • by calibanDNS ( 32250 ) <brad_staton AT hotmail DOT com> on Thursday December 09, 2004 @12:25AM (#11039209)
    This sounds like an interesting prospect. However, according to the site, they seem to have a few limitations. For example:

    example table with English backbone descriptions will not allow adding of words which cannot be translated with one English word

    So, I wouldn't be able to translate "blue jeans" from another langauge? This really sucks, because on of my High School spanglish teachers taught us that it translated to "bluyins" in Spanish, and I've really never trusted that...

    Perhaps they should wait until they have a more robust system before making these types of announcments?
    • by paugq ( 443696 )
      "Blue jeans" translated as "bluyins" into Spanish? As a native Spanish and Catalan speaker, I can only say: what a shit of a translation!.

      "Blue jeans" = "vaqueros" ("pantalones vaqueros").
      • Oh, everyone in the class knew that teacher was on crack. I don't trust a word of vocab that I got from her in two years worth of classes. The summer after I graduated, I managed to spend about a week and a half in Spain, and got someone to tell me what they called blue jeans, but I was too drunk to remember it at the time. Thanks for clearing that up for me!
    • by Azul ( 12241 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @01:23AM (#11039507) Homepage

      If you go to the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española de la Lengua [] and lookup "bluyin", you'll get a "No such word in the dictionary".

      However, people from certain countries do use "bluyin" often (actually, most of us colombians call "blue jeans" "blue jeans", as in "me compre unos nuevos blue jeans", which should probably be written as "bluyins"). I remember reading that the Real Academia Española, the main authority was considering adding the word to the dictionary.

      Similar things have happened with some words. For example, the word "cruasán" was recently added to the dictionary for the french word "croissant", very commonly used in spanish-speaking countries.


    • example table with English backbone descriptions will not allow adding of words which cannot be translated with one English word

      While you have this set in <blockquote>, it is far from a direct quote ("There will be always the backbone description which binds English word to only one meaning in Wordnet." - poor English, ought to be either "an English word" or "English words"), and doesn't match reality (words).

      If you search for "cat" (their example) in the English <> French dictionary, one of

    • About your sig: I want a free iPod Photo.

      Here ya go []. You're welcome.

  • by zobier ( 585066 )
    Why don't more people put syllable boundary markers in their phonetic transcriptions?
  • The flaw (Score:4, Informative)

    by lifebouy ( 115193 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @12:26AM (#11039223) Journal
    The flaw I see is that English is used as the base language. That creates a severe problem. English is not neutral. It's severely screwed up, as languages go, and is very hard to learn. There are multiple meanings of most of the words in the english language. Oh, sure, it's easy to use english, if that's the language the developers speak. But I do not think it best. Esperanto would be a good choice. Each word has basically one meaning. It has few grammar exceptions. Lots of translations into esperanto end up being more accurate than translations into other languages for multiple reasons.
    But definitely, English is the opposite of a good choice.

    • Oh, sure, it's easy to use english

      No, no it isn't.
    • Re:The flaw (Score:3, Funny)

      by snarkh ( 118018 )

      Esperanto - the language nobody speaks and nobody reads. What a great alternative to English!
      • Re:The flaw (Score:5, Funny)

        by lifebouy ( 115193 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @12:51AM (#11039372) Journal
        Yeah, yeah. Of course I have heard that before. On the other hand, I also keep correspondance with people from around the world, meet with local esperantists for coffee or dinner at least weekly, read magazines and books in esperanto, and listen to esperanto radio(music and talk shows) fairly often. So the several million speakers of esperanto and I tend to disagree with you. Your opinion, while I agree with your right to have it, is uninformed.

        • Well, you have to agree that the number of speakers of esperanto is miniscule compared to the number of speakers of English.
          • Re:The flaw (Score:3, Funny)

            by lifebouy ( 115193 )
            Ok, point conceded.
            That does not make English better, only more popular. In comparison, was Bush a better candidate than McCain? No(far from it!), only better funded. I try to promote Esperanto because I believe in it's purpose- to be a politically neutral language that's easy to learn which can be used for a common language for the world. Esperanto is so easy, it takes very little time to learn. It doesn't stomp out the very valuable native cultures of the world, it co-exists with them. English is a stom
            • Re:The flaw (Score:5, Insightful)

              by syrion ( 744778 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @02:16AM (#11039752)
              Buh... what? The reason German, Spanish, Italian and French aren't spoken here--and they are, in small enclaves--is that the British, you know, won the wars and bought the land. Then America beat the British, but remained firmly a postcolonial nation. We began as Britons and thus our country uses English as its language. The death of the Native American languages is an uglier story, but has little to do with English and a lot to do with disease and campaigns of murder.

              The reason so few Americans speak foreign languages is not English, either. It's because our country is huge. If every state spoke a different language, we'd learn several languages in order to communicate. All the states use English, though, so we use English. As an example, there are more bilingual people in the American Southwest and Louisiana than in the Southeast. Why? Because there are significant minority populations which speak other languages in those areas--Spanish and French, specifically.

              Regarding culture... well. Popular culture is an atrocity, but don't blame that on English, either. Shakespeare wrote in English. So did Dickens, Nabokov, Faulkner, Joyce, Bradbury, Orwell, O'Connor, and so on. You could list authors forever. They've certainly done English proud, and, in fact, they usually lose something in translation.

              Please--before you knock English as a language, know what you're talking about.

            • Re:The flaw (Score:3, Interesting)

              by CRCulver ( 715279 )

              It doesn't stomp out the very valuable native cultures of the world, it co-exists with them

              No it doesn't. Try speaking any language besides Esperanto among Esperantists and see how quickly they complain. The hostility against learning and practising real languages in a fruitful and convenient international setting is what has driven me away from Esperanto. When I meet with, for example, Hungarian Esperantists, I would prefer to speak Hungarian with them, since I am already relatively proficient and furt

    • Three quick comments:

      1) If English is so hard to learn, it's amazing that so many people speak it.

      2) A human language is not a programming language. While programming languages have to be precise, human language does not always have to be precise. How boring would that be? Our libraries would be much smaller if our languages were so strict.

      3) The primary value of human languages is communication, so as long as you can speak it and communicate, this primary function is satisfied.
      As a funny note, I retu
      • Your funny note is very indicative. Wet Pant. If English were not my native tongue, Would this ring any chord? Would I think someone may have urinated themselves at that spot? Aside from the misspelling, how many meanings could you attach to the word pant? It's a noun, its a verb. It's what you do if you are a dog, it's what you wear while playing with that dog. It's the breath the dog exhaled. This is a standard word.
        We haven't even gone into Eubonics, or the difference between the Queen's English and A
        • While it is easy to make fun of Eubonics, I believe that it should be taken seriously.

          Eubonics is special language. It is a 'pidgin' language that is entirely based on English.

          When the African people were brought to America, they were captives. They came from a wide variety of tribes and languages. They were enslaved and seperated from others who spoke their language. They were forced to learn English not only to understand their captors but to communicate among themselves.
          As the Africans b
      • I returned home this evening and found a sign on the front door of the building that said 'WET PANT'. Incorrect spelling, but I got the message

        Another example of English idioms is that yellow warning sign many janitors use after mopping up a spill. It has an icon of a fellow with arms in the air and his leg cocked to the side like a dog. The imperative label "WET FLOOR" could easily be confused as a command to a non-English speaker.
    • Screw that. I'm sick of people whining about English being hard. Our nouns have no gender. You don't have to memorize whether any given word is masculine or feminine (or neutral vs common, or whatever). You don't have to change the adjectives to fit the gender and plurality of the noun. Conjugation is simple; just add an 's' to the third person singular. Sure there are exceptions and 'strong' verbs, but that is true an any language.

      I suspect that the reason people complain about english is because t
    • It looks to me like the Wordnet description is the "base language", and English is merely a quick sanity check. Try searching for "cat" in the English/French section.
    • vi tute pravas
    • Esperanto would be a good choice. Each word has basically one meaning.

      This assertion is totally untrue. Look at Plena Ilustrita Vortaro or Reta Vortaro and see how many hundreds or thousands of words have variant meanings. The word "radio" has six meanings in RV alone and who knows how many in PIV. And then you've got minimal pairs which confuse many speakers, such as akcento/acxento. Esperanto is not some magical language without ambiguity.

      It has few grammar exceptions.

      The grammar of Esperanto is

    • Maybe they could improve their design by adding context to the english words, or maybe to ALL words in ANY language? For example (incorrectness possible, I'm not an arab speaker):

      foundation/base(engineering,housebuilding,metap h or ical)
      = al Qaeda(engineering,housebuilding,metaphorical)

      the loo/the sit(colloq.,sanitary)=
      al Qaeda(colloq.,sanitary)

      a foundation(organisation,group)=
      Al Qaeda(organisation,group)

      Al Qaeda(terror,name)=
      Al Qaeda(terror,name)
  • by sempf ( 214908 ) * on Thursday December 09, 2004 @12:27AM (#11039228) Homepage Journal
    So what are you doing to find the similarities between languages? It would seem that if I searched for an Italian word, I would get the Latin root and them the related languages. This is more than a dictionary this is 65,000 years of human history, if you so allow it!

    Oh, and IMNAL - I am not a linguist.

  • Now (Score:3, Funny)

    by RealProgrammer ( 723725 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @12:33AM (#11039271) Homepage Journal
    All your noun are belong to us!
  • by radarsat1 ( 786772 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @12:38AM (#11039304) Homepage
    it would be *very* cool if there was a decent way to handle different "levels" of each language.

    For example, in quebec we use the word "char" for your car... "j'vais prenez le char ce soir", i'm going to take the car tonight.

    this isn't *good* french, but it's good quebec slang. it's how people actually speak. however you wouldn't use it if you were trying to write a cover letter, but you might use it if you were writing an email to a french friend. A dictionary where you could specify "speaking" vs "writing", or even "polite" vs "friendly", some way of really characterizing the KIND of translation you want.

    expressions too... sometimes expressions can be directly translated, other times you'll sound like an idiot if you just use the same phrase you would have said in english. Something that recognizes common phrases and gives corresponding expressions in another language would be incredibly useful.

    I guess what I'm getting at is it's annoying when you look up a word in a translation dictionary and get like 4 or 5 choices but you have no idea what the difference between them is, or it gives you a word that actually is correct, but is so rarely used that when you say it people look at you funny.
    • And if you have more than one car? Does it become char[n]?

    • Very interesting concept! Could it ever work for the variances in the thousands of human languages?

      Funny story: My Iranian uncle (by marriage - not blood) had just immigrated to Canada, and was caught in a motor vehicle violation (running a stop sign) and repeatedly shouted at the police officer "I ate shit! I ate shit!", which is actually Persian slang for "Boy is my face red. I admit I made a mistake and I ask your forgiveness".

      True story. I wish I could remember the Persian phrase right now...

  • by FunWithHeadlines ( 644929 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @12:45AM (#11039339) Homepage
    "The universal dictionary will be soon available for free under GPL."

    And for a convenience, it will automatically correct your spelling as follows:

    • Linux --> GNU/Linux
    • Microsoft --> Micro$oft
    • Bill Gates --> Convicted monopolist
    • Steve Ballmer --> Monkey-boy
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 09, 2004 @12:47AM (#11039347)
    Idiot - noun
    1 usually offensive : a person affected with idiocy
    2 : a foolish or stupid person
    3 : Luigi Dipthong, who insulted me deeply by saying that I had completely misdrawn the control unit of my favorite processor.

  • ... and it said, "Something that happens to most Japanese men before sex"?!?!

  • Glossaries like these have their uses, and I sometimes use them myself when I'm reading something and don't know a word, but good dictionaries go way beyond these. To begin with, you often can't adequately translate a word from one language with a single word from another language. It often takes at least a phrase, and sometimes there isn't any straightforwad translation and a fairly elaborate explanation is necessary. Furthermore, especially if you're going into the language you don't know well, it is often necessary to have information about the grammar of the word in order to be able to use it properly. What case does the object of a verb have to be? Which conjugation does a verb belong to?

    The other major limitation of simple glossaries like these is that they don't work very well for languages with complex word-formation where the citation form is not easily obtained from the inflected forms. For instance, in English it isn't a big deal to look up a plural noun because in almost all cases you just remove s or es, so someone who reads, e.g. trapezoids doesn't need to know very much in order to guess that it is a form of trapezoid and look it up under trapezoid. However, there are languages in which words have hundreds or thousands of forms and in which it is quite difficult to figure out what to look a word up under. Creating dictionaries for such languages that can be used by inexpert users is a long-standing problem for which electronic dictionaries offer a solution, but such dictionaries won't be simple glossaries; they will be databases with morphological analyzers as front ends. I've got a paper about this problem in Athabaskan languages here [].

  • Now, if I can just find someone to extract this stupid fish... []
  • by kurisuto ( 165784 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @01:17AM (#11039482) Homepage
    Some of the texts on the Free Dictionaries project are listed as being licensed under the GPL. Can you mingle public-domain text with GPL'ed text?

    This is a matter of practical concern. I'm overseeing a project [] which is digitizing copyright-expired dictionaries of the early Germanic languages. Some of the texts on my site are in German, and I'd like to use the GPL'ed Free Dictionaries German-English word list to add a feature to my project which allows you to click a German word to get a translation for that word.

    Question 1: Are there provisions of the GPL which would prevent the a GPL'ed dictionary from being intermingled in this matter with existing public domain texts?

    Another problem. The texts in my project contain many rare German words relating to Iron Age technology which are unlikely to be in the Free Dictionaries list, so I'd like to add my own supplemental list of words.

    Question 2: Can I assign my supplemental word list to the public domain, or do I have to license it under the GPL as a modification to the original word list?
    • No and no. The GPL does nothing to prevent you using gpled works with others, however any derived works must also be GPL. Technically you may need to license the public domain dictionary to yourself under the GPL before combining them, but that's no trouble.
  • ideal for classrooms (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dazz_j ( 829431 )
    I've been looking for something like this for the linux system in my wife's classroom. Not because of anything that special about the way definitions are developed, but just because it can be downloaded and used offline. (don't ask me why they can't run the network to the classroom, but the haven't). This could become one of the most popular programs there after Connect-4.
  • Unheimlich (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Magickcat ( 768797 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @01:30AM (#11039540)
    Foreign words do not always map onto each other, so there's going to be problems with nuance. It's probably redundant in saying this, but many words have no English equivalent - the German unheimlich for instance. Even the French uncanny doesn't quite do it justice.

    I hope the English on the dictionary is better than the English on the homepage eg "There will be always the backbone description" and "will lead contributors to translate English words into other language." (mis)

    • the German unheimlich for instance. Even the French uncanny doesn't quite do it justice.

      I think you mixed up your translations as uncanny isn't really a French word... From the German word, I get "énormément" in French and "terribly" in English based on Google's translating tools which in some contexts could mean the same thing. Sorry I don't really know German so I cannot understand the true meaning of unheimlich, I know I should have been paying attention to my third language classes back in

      • Ahh yes, you're right, sorry - uncanny originates as a Scottish word, not a French one.
      • From the German word, I get [...] "terribly" in English based on Google's translating tools which in some contexts could mean the same thing.

        I know German very well, and "unheimlich" has a certain nuance in it that is not at all reflected in "terrible". "Unheimlich" is much weaker, somewhat like a mixture of "uncomfortable" (that would be the 1:1 translation) and "terrible". For example, going through an empty quiet, abandoned place can be "unheimlich".

        Regarding the universal dictionary, I think using E

  • You listed almost every language other than Armenian. Shame on you!

  • Soon to be integrate with wearable PCs, then roam anywhere and have tiny headset translate what foreigners say to you. Speaker will talk back at them so they understand what you say as well!
  • by buckhead_buddy ( 186384 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @02:01AM (#11039673)
    Just today I was trying to prototype some ideas on a dictionary idea I had.

    My idea was to create a tutorial for learning AMSLAN (American Sign Language) and to use texts from Project Gutenburg or other public domain works. One (of several) problems though is that English is rife with homographs... words that are spelled alike but have different meanings. In the case of sign language, a sign for a bow in a little girl's hair might appear extremely odd if the sign for bow of a ship popped up in automatic substitution.

    Dealing with the homographs is a problem, but I see that this site's plan already takes a stab at dealing with such things (in their cat example). I'd love it if they went to the trouble of also including a bit of AMSLAN (either in animations or static pictures) as that might inspire me with some help in the solution.

    Ideally, my desire is to get an automated library that could read a text (possibly read by the human sorting the homographs). And allow a user to listen to the reading and watch the text (while learning English), listen to the reading only (if hearing impaired), watch a silent sign language presentation with subtitles (to learn sign language), or watch a silent presentation through signing (if reading in silence is preferable).

    Just kind of bizarre that the idea struck the same day as this article appeared, I thought. :-)
    • Just wanted to give you a quick thanks for even thinking about something like this. I've been wanting to learn American Sign Language for a while now, but wasn't able to find much on the internet. Even books have been a bit of a hit or miss thing that seems more often than not to fit in the miss catagory for my learning style.
  • One dictionary to rule them all!
  • what would be the best is they publish it as a web service and then people like you and me make clients to access them from applications running in the system tray.
  • by glasse ( 817373 ) on Thursday December 09, 2004 @02:36AM (#11039836)
    Having taken Chinese I this term, I have learned that there's a whole lot more to a language than just vocabulary. In order to be a useful English-killer or monolinguism-killer, a language site needs to have information on how to pronounce words, how to write all of the glyphs used in the language (which might not be important if it uses a Latin-based script and so does your native language, but a lot of languages don't), and some idea of how to construct a useful sentence. (Word order, how to conjugate verbs/decline nouns, use of measure words/particles/prepositions, even synonyms and homonyms..) Also useful would be free media in the language -- TV shows, music, menus, newspapers -- but I know this would be very difficult to host effectively. My Chinese textbook's name translates as "Chinese Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing". Developing skill with all of these facets of a language is part of gaining facility with it.

    I would love a free-content languages database, full of audio samples of native speakers and grammar rules, but this isn't quite there yet. I do hope something like it gets off the ground, though, because monolinguism is a terrible disease in a global community :).

  • FAQ (Score:2, Funny)

    by gregmckone ( 211824 )
    Why Q Entries in FAQ use Structured Differently English.

    Are maintainers FAQ also architechts Backbone of English?

    Am I Possible Detecting liability project here?
  • Since I'm dutch and writing my thesis in english, I took a look at the dutch - english translation. The quality of the translations are bad.

    Two examples: the has been translated to bovendien, which is the dutch word for moreover. if has been translated to de, which is the dutch word for the.

    I know this is a community effort and one should not whine, but instead contribute. My only point is; don't get too excited. In the current form, at least the dutch - english translation is useless.

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault