CBB Multilingual Life-form Picture Dictionary
The CBB Multilingual Life-form Picture Dictionary is a free online picture dictionary created in 2023 by people on the CBB. It began as the brainchild of Khemehekis, although Arayaz (Üdj on the CBB) quickly joined, while eldin raigmore provided feedback, with one comment in its thread by Knox Adjacent.
The idea was to have a free ebook with pictures of common words for animals, plants, viruses, mythical creatures, humans, and higher taxa that could be translated into many other languages -- both natlangs (natural languages) like German, Swedish, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Tagalog, Maori, Swahili, and Navajo; and conlangs (constructed languages) like Esperanto, Interlingua, Lingua Franca Nova, Lojban, Ithkuil, Klingon, Na’vi, Dothraki, Teonaht, Verdurian, Brithenig, Itlani, and Kankonian.
The selection of plant and animal words was taken from the Lehola Species Word Master List, adapted for a book that would only contain words for species and higher taxa that existed on Earth, or at least were established in Earth’s mythologies and folklore (unicorn, mermaid). Words were chosen that appeared in foreign-language picture dictionaries such as the First Thousand Words series or Beginner’s German/French/Italian/Spanish Dictionary (both published by Usborne), or that appeared high up on the list in English-language word frequency lists.
The wordlist was then compared against the Landau Core Vocabulary to hunt out semantic distinctions that some languages made with the words on the list. Some languages, for instance, have separate words for sour cherries and sweet cherries, for large parrots and small parrots, or for “cow” (beef cattle) and “cow” (dairy cows). In cases like these, both or all words are covered and illustrated in this dictionary, so both or all words in the foreign language can be included in the translated editions.
Some collective categories, such as “pig” (including “sow”, “boar”, and “piglet”) or “snake” (including “cobra” and “python”), apply to multiple plant or animal words in this book. These were handled by putting the collective noun on top of a series of pictures of more specific nouns.
This book was meant to be translated into many other languages -- both natural and constructed -- as well as English. It is requested that foreign translations give all the necessary information to learn a word. The Spanish edition, for instance, should include the definite article with each noun (la manzana or el pingüino) to make the gender of the noun clear, and should give an indication that, say, el águila is feminine despite the article el. The German edition should give the definite article and an indication on how to pluralize the noun (such as -n or -er). The Mandarin edition should display both the Chinese characters and the pinyin for each word. The Japanese edition should include both kanji, where applicable, and an indication of pronunciation.
When planning this book, it was soon decided that this dictionary would be illustrated through AI-created art. Khemehekis and Arayaz (Üdj on the CBB) created all the pictures amongst themselves on the AI art website NightCafé. Pictures were created using the models Stable Diffusion 1.5, DALL-E 2, and SDXL 0.9.