Leo

I stumbled across this Swisscom poster showcasing Leo’s mobile app to sell a smart phone:

leo on swisscom poster

I started using Leo’s English – German dictionary regularly long time ago – in the late 90s. I think it must have been about 1997 or 1998 at my first full-time job after uni. The vocabulary wasn’t as extensive as it is today. And at the time many people questioned and challenged its reputation as a reference. But, working in an IT company, we had unlimited access to the Internet. And Leo’s website was accessible from every workplace, whereas hard copy dictionaries were few and bulky.

I remember lively discussions with a secondary school teacher for German and English. Her main point was that there was too little information on usage and folks studying English as a second language would be confused and misled by the simple list views. I felt that this also applied to most hard copy dictionaries. Regarding usage I – in turn- recommended Oxford’s monolingual Advanced Learner’s Dictionary.

From early on, Leo offered access to a forum where dictionary users could ask questions, make suggestions, improve dictionary entries, clarify usage, etc. And they added links to other language resources. Which indirectly helped me to find a job during the dotcom downturn.

Well, here I am walking to the office in Züri on a fine, sunny morning… just 13 years later… and Leo is helping to sell smartphones:

leo

Related links:
Leo’s history
Online version of Oxford Advanced Learner Dictionary