Kindle Paperwhite larger (image by  by Moridin_ via flickr CreativeCommons)

UPDATE: Aparrently, the latest Paperwhite firmware (after 5.3.9) doesn’t offer this function anymore.

UPDATE: I have a Kindle Paperwhite 2 here, running firware and it seems the feature is back!

Find out how you can use the new Kindle Paperwhite to quickly change between custom dictionaries.

I’ve already talked a lot about Kindles and dictionaries on this blog. Whether it’s using custom dictionaries on iOS devices such as iPad or iPhone or on older devices such as the Kindle keyboard, I absolutely love this feature both as a teacher and learner because integrated dictionaries can be very powerful tools for language learning.

Two weeks ago we talked about the new Kindle Paperwhite and its additional features for language learners (such as instant translations and the vocabulary builder). And now, thanks to Reddit user GabrielBetteredge I found out that the custom dictionary option itself has been improved as well.

So far, it had always been possible to install multiple custom dictionaries to your Kindle device. But if you’re accustomed to reading books in multiple languages, switching from one dictionary to another has been cumbersome. For example. with the Kindle Keyboard you had to first close the book, click on Menu, then click on Menu again, choose “select primary dictionary”, click okay, close the menu and open the book again (seven steps, that’s right).

Now, changing dictionaries has become a lot easier.

How To Change Dictionaries on Kindle Paperwhite

While looking up a word on the new Kindle Paperwhite (by tapping on it), you’ll see a little popup with a headline containing the name of your current dictionary. Next to the dictionary’s name, there’s a little arrow.



By tapping the arrow, you get a list of all your currently installed dictionaries:



UPDATE: this feature is not just available on the new Kindle Paperwhite, it even works on the original Paperwhite, due to the Firmware update.

While it’s probably true that most people will not switch their dictionary every five minutes, I can imagine a few situations where this feature might come in handy. For example, non-native English speakers will sometimes need a translation to their own language (English-French, English-Spanish, etc.) while other times the standard English-English dictionary will suffice.

Also, language learning students who use their Kindle to devour a lot of course-required reading in multiple languages, will be grateful to just change the dictionary with two clicks instead of seven!

screenshots: GabrielBetteredge / photo: Some rights reserved by Moridin_ via FlickR