Single character wildcards to help decipher barely legible hard copy
Thread poster: Sp and Fr to En

Sp and Fr to En  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:07
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
Mar 25, 2008

I understand that Google only supports the wildcard * as a whole word in a phrase: for example, "one * short of a *" will return "one cherry short of a fruit cake", "one can short of a six-pack", etc.
I was also told that AltaVista supports the wildcard * to mean "any character": e.g. "research*" would also return "researching", "researcher" etc.
I've tried this, but it does not appear to work, which is a shame because it may end up being quite useful to me at the moment, since I am working from a barely legible hard copy. For example, the word "orientado" appears as ???entado, with "?" being an illegible character. In the end, I worked out that it was "orientado" from the context, but I'd like to know how to do this for future reference.
Is this function no longer supported by AltaVista?
If it is not, does anyone know of any other search engine which does support it?
I'm still using a paper dictionary, but if I had an electronic one, would I be able to do such a search on it?

Cheers.


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James McVay  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:07
Russian to English
+ ...
Interesting problem, possible solution Mar 25, 2008

What you need is a reverse dictionary. There's one for sale here: http://www.amazon.com/Reverse-Dictionary-Spanish-Language-Stahl/dp/0252725409/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1206472240&sr=8-1

Another possibility -- and a free one -- is the online Miriam-Webster Spanish-English dictionary here: http://www.merriam-webster.com/.

It accepts both the ? and the * as wildcard characters. You have to search on the infinitive of verbs, so while it doesn't return "orientado" for "???entado," you do get a lot of hits for "???entar." "Orientar" is one of those found. (My Spanish is pretty rudimentary, so if "orientado" isn't a participle from "orientar," I hope you will overlook the error.)

[Edited at 2008-03-25 19:24]


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Sp and Fr to En  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:07
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks James Mar 25, 2008

Thanks James, that's great, exactly what I was looking for.

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Single character wildcards to help decipher barely legible hard copy

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