Deciphering Ottoman Turkish Manuscripts with LexiQamus

Sometimes it takes days or even weeks to be able to read and decipher a word in manuscripts. This problem, which can be experienced in every language, is a problem frequently encountered by Ottoman historians in the process of reading words in Ottoman Turkish manuscripts. At this point, LexiQamus, an online resource that makes it easy for researchers to read manuscripts written in Ottoman Turkish, appears as the favorite of Ottoman historians. This resource, which enables words belonging to the Ottoman Turkish alphabet, used until 1928, to be deciphered and read in the digital environment and which increases the international accessibility of manuscripts, provides great convenience to researchers.

LexiQamus, developed by Ahmet Abdullah Saçmalı, a graduate of Boğaziçi University’s History Department, is a web-based dictionary that was inspired by the difficulties that Saçmalı had experienced while reading manuscripts in Ottoman Turkish. Drawing on data from 19 different dictionaries and including approximately 173,000 words and phrases, the LexiQamus database is an important technology that unlocks unreadable words for any historian who knows the difficulties of reading handwriting. The resource, which is subscribed to by 13 leading universities, brings dictionaries to its users with just the click of a button. Unlike existing dictionaries, LexiQamus estimates what that word might be when a user adds letters to the beginning or the middle of the word. The LexiQamus website, which is available in Turkish and English, makes it easy for users to discover Ottoman Turkish words and saves an incredible amount of time during research.

Let’s take a closer look at this important resource!

The website has a user-friendly interface and contains detailed information on how to use the program and which dictionaries you can access in the database.

The search engine of LexiQamus has been developed in order to include the possibility that a researcher may not be able to read the words or phrases that they wish to search for. As long as you can identify one letter in any part of the word you are able to search for it, and thanks to the predictions provided by the program you may be able to check the accuracy of your ideas about other letters in the word.

LexiQamus, which is free for the first three uses, offers the user two different price packages options for advanced features and usage. If you are using the site at an affiliate university or institutional library you can accsess it for free!

Thanks to LexiQamus, which fills a very important gap for research in Ottoman studies and emphasizes the inevitable benefits of digital technology in humanities, the difficulties in reading Ottoman manuscripts are now much easier to overcome.

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