The 12dicts Word Lists

Alan Beale
June 20, 2016

The 12dicts package is a collection of English word lists.  They are different from other word lists which you can download from the Internet in the following ways:

I developed 12dicts about fifteen years ago out of dissatisfaction with the resources available on the Internet at that time; practically all lists I found were either enormous or of poor quality, and not infrequently both.  One of the original goals of 12dicts was to approximate a core vocabulary for English, which led me to the modus operandi of taking words from a set of twelve ESL and desk dictionaries.  As time passed, I expanded 12dicts to include more lists, which mostly were not derived from the original dictionary set.  However, all of the lists used essentially the same methodology - that of establishing a set of sources, and then including all words found in at least n of the sources, for some value of n.

I consider 12dicts to have been very successful.  It has been used in applications ranging from word games to literacy programs.  It has influenced a body of open-source software, including the aspell spelling checker and the Writer.

I have now completed Release 6 of 12dicts, which is a major new release. It adds five new lists, all but one based on a set of six "advanced learner's" ESL dictionaries, and makes significant changes to three others. Release 6.0.2 of 12dicts, a minor revision of Release 6, can be downloaded here. As with the previous versions, your comments and suggestions are welcomed, and I would be pleased to learn how 12dicts is being used.

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