leosmith's recent posts

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Note: here are all the languages we have in work. These can all be found in the Reading Tool. 


Swahili – 135 conversation (complete)

Cantonese – 100 conversations (complete)

South African English - 10 conversations (complete)

Tagalog – 110 conversations (complete)

Russian - 100 conversations (complete)

Spanish - 100 conversations (complete)

Mandarin - 100 conversations (complete)

French - 101 (complete)

Thai - 100 (complete)

German - 50 (stopped work)

Cebuano - 28 (stopped work)

Italian - 20 (in work)

English - 5 (in work)

Japanese - 1 (stopped work)


You may have heard me say from time to time that if your highest priority is conversing in your L2, then conversation should be your most valued source for learning. I’m not saying it should be the only source, but pound per pound I believe it’s the best source.


To be fair, I think it does depend on what stage you’re in. Beginners may not have the skills required to do what I’m suggesting. Also, this stage goes by quickly and seems to be handled nicely by the wealth of beginner learning material out there. Advanced learners may already be very good communicators and everyday conversation might not tax them enough. In addition, they are much more likely to use native material to improve. The remainder is the period I’m talking about – the long intermediate slog. That’s when I suggest learners should really focus on conversation.


Here’s an example of what I’m recommending: taking notes during a conversation, writing down items your partner says that you don’t understand, writing down things you didn’t know how to say, and memorizing/reviewing these items before your next conversation. I’ve found this to be my single most effective exercise to improve my vocabulary and grammar in actual conversations. 


But what about reading and listening? It probably doesn’t surprise you that I recommend reading transcripts of and listening to actual conversations. I think it’s more effective for improving your conversation than reading and listening to non-conversation items (news, books, TV scripts, text messages, etc). Don’t get me wrong – there is a time and place for reading and listening to those things and they are very helpful. I’m not going to get into the other items here; read and listen to everything but let the core of your method be conversations if your main goal is to improve your conversation. 


The problem is – where do you get these conversations? You could have your personal conversations transcribed and recorded so that you could read and listen to them. That’s a good start, but it’s a pretty time-consuming task. Also, vocab/grammar would be limited compared to a conversation between two native speakers, so it may be better suited to the beginner period. And as I said above, the beginner period is handled pretty well with existing beginner materials.


That’s why we’ve created LT Conversations. These are conversations between two native speakers. We use a mixture of female-male, female-female and male-male for variety, but each conversation is between two native speakers and about six minutes long. We make 100 of these for each language selected, which gives you about 10 hours of reading and listening to actual conversations. I hope this will be enough to prepare the learner for real native material. To be clear, I’m not saying I expect the learner to understand native material completely after finishing LT conversations; my goal is that they will have the base needed to start to dig into native material designed by natives for natives. In theory, “learning” material should no longer be required.  


While creating these, I had a hard time trying to figure out whether they were intermediate or advanced. I settled on intermediate mainly because it’s pretty much impossible to get people to talk to each other normally while covering the things I want them to cover, not talk on top of each other, not use loanwords and speak clearly without some reduction in difficulty. The voice actors tend to create some sort of script to satisfy all of my requirements, even though I’ve asked them not to. I could probably work with teams more closely and intensively to get a more advance product, but that would be more expensive and time consuming, so they are what they are. Good intermediate conversations.


Now I should mention that one of the sweetest things about these conversations is that they’re located in our reading tool already to go. Put your cursor over a word and a definition will pop up; click it and it will change state and color and you can add new definitions. This makes reading much more accessible. As I hinted above, this reading/listening is meant to be just a component of your learning method. I recommend that if you’re going to be memorizing and reviewing vocabulary and grammar you should get them from your personal conversations. But that’s not to say you can’t do it with these conversations - you can go into your own vocabulary database in the reading tool, manicure it, export it to anki etc, if that’s what you want to do. But I personally prefer to let the mouseover definitions and shading do the work for me, read as seamlessly as possible without too many interruptions, and put my memorizing and reviewing efforts into my personal conversations. 

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Thanks Tyler!

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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leosmith wrote:
gogginz wrote:
I like to read with context reverso dictionary, but I tested with one passage but it only appears 2 dictionaries(oxford and merriam

I don't know why the context reverso English dictionary isn't appearing; I have written a ticket.

Done

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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gogginz wrote:
I like to read with context reverso dictionary, but I tested with one passage but it only appears 2 dictionaries(oxford and merriam

I don't know why the context reverso English dictionary isn't appearing; I have written a ticket.

gogginz wrote:
it's possible to open the dictionary as soon as I click on the word I want to see the translation?

Yes, just make your preferred dictionary the default. Select a word>dictionary icon>default. To reset, got to settings>clear default dictionary selection.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Sounds like a good plan. It's interesting reading about your progress here!

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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ok - thank you!

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Hi ileri,

We have still not been able to reproduce this. Is it still happening to you?

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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ricardo.aprende wrote:
Would it be possible to add Context Reverso to all language that they have avaliable?

Done.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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I don't remember studying English grammar, but I'm sure I did. I do remember writing lots of essays, book reports and stories though. And some teachers were really picky about grammar at that point.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Hi Ana. Welcome!  

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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oplingo.com is the winner!  

We will send out a notification when we are ready to re-launch.



I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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leosmith wrote:
I could probably increase it about 25% without it being too annoying on desktop. I assume mobile is ok for you. I will also ask that the "used in sentences" text size be increased.

These changes are done. Also, you may not have know that split/join functions are available, but only if you're the owner of a passage. The good news is all you have to do to become the owner is make a copy. We are now showing the click/join buttons and prompting the learner to make a copy if they aren't the owner. Before this recent change we weren't doing that, so few people were using the functions. The functions are extremely helpful so hopefully more people will discover them.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Still working on this

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Thanks - ticket written.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Ticket written. I don't know if it's an option, but you might be able to increase your display scale (settings>display>scale on my laptop) for a work-around.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Thanks - I hope to get to this in the near future.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Clayton.Henderson wrote:
I'll defer to you on this one!

Honestly, it's the right size for me now. I could probably increase it about 25% without it being too annoying on desktop. I assume mobile is ok for you. I will also ask that the "used in sentences" text size be increased.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Are you loading a text file? If so, please send a sample to my inbox if you don't mind, and I will check it.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Clayton.Henderson wrote:
Progressing a bit slower on Anki... i've been spending over an hour a day on it and it gets to be a drag. Anki is fun when you know the content, but when you run into blocks (I'm awful at numbers and dates)... and the same cards pop up over and over and over... it makes it not so fun. I'm considering suspending those cards.

Sounds like the right thing to do.


wrote:
I've agreed to use teacher Abbey A. here on the website for one conversational class once a week for several weeks. Although she is Chinay her accent is very standard and she got approval from several users I showed her video to. I like her a lot, I've already had one class with her and we mostly discussed PH life but that was weeks ago.

Isn't she great? I've had a couple Chinese classes with her, and tons of Tagalog classes. She is always interesting to talk to, and low pressure.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Clayton.Henderson wrote:
Any other LT.io mandarin learners out there have any hack fixes until then :D?

Someone just requested a font size increase for Thai. Are you requesting one for Mandarin? If so, I'll add to that ticket.

edit - how much of an increase are you hoping for?

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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I couldn't reproduce it. I'll write a ticket though. What is your browser/os/device?

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Ok, we made the purpose of the checkbox clearer by stating "Skill Levels (checked box makes language display as “learning” under avatar)". Closing ticket.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Ok, after a week of collecting ideas from you, these are the finalists. Please vote for your communities’ new name. Ballots will close 1 week from today.

Cheers,

Leo

(For more background info, go here.)


I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Clayton.Henderson wrote:
Leolang or langleo.

 

Unfortunately they are both taken.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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AppleMae.Soriano wrote:
How about Learning Languages or Learn Languages?

Thanks for your suggestion! Learnlanguages.com is taken. But the problem with using "generic" terms like that is the traffic can get easily hijacked (intentionally or not) by the many other language learning sites out there. Judging from a google search of "Learning Languages", we would be competing with duolingo and rosetta stone - a competition that we can't win. That is why we are looking for something unique.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Hi ileri,

We are considering making it save everything except the text, title, audio/video. The tech team asked this: "Is there a reason ileri only wants language though? Maybe it's the only thing he/she keeps setting however it could be because they change the other things?"

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Barumid wrote:
You could rebrand it as Kobana.
小話 kobanashi means ‘short interesting story’ in Japanese.
Kobana can also be written as 小花 which means small flower, so you could add a small flower to the logo.

Thanks for your suggestion, but kobana.com is taken.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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ileri wrote:
Make it remember the language you chose first when you click "save and add another"

Good suggestion. Ticket written.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Hello Everyone,

I hope you are doing well. 


Rebranding

We’d like your help in renaming Language Tools. We are rebranding to improve our SEO. Several people have pointed out that we are somewhat difficult to find with search engines, and that we show up well down the list. 

We have a short list of names for you to vote on. But first I want to give you the opportunity to add to the list. You may post names here, or pm them to us. Here are the guidelines:

• Somehow related to language learning

• Available with a .com extension

• Available for cheap (not “parked” or “for offer”)

• Unique enough to rise to the top in a search

• Catchy enough to be easy to remember

I will give you all 1 week to submit names, then I will reveal the final short list and let you vote on them in a poll. You can post names in this thread, or pm them to us.


Mobile App Vastly Improved

After a lot of great suggestions from the community, and hard word from our development team, the reading tool is working really well in the Mobile App now. Here are some of the changes we made:

• increased reading area by shrinking header

• made phrases easier to create

• allowed word color change on reading screen

• fixed problem with keyboard popping up

• fixed problem with footer

If you haven’t done so, give it a try


Free Plan Expanded

It was brought to our attention that our free plan for the reading tool wasn’t as generous in some areas as our competitors. Well it is now. Amongst many other things, a free user can now get unlimited basic word look-ups. There are still restrictions on enhanced word look-ups; here is a complete comparison of Free vs Premium features. Please invite your friends to try us for free.


Cheers,

Leo


    


I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Gregory.Aus wrote:
If corrections are redundant how do we learn?

Welcome to the forum Gregory! I think how useful corrections are, or what type of corrections we should use, depends mostly on our individual learning plans. 

For example, I learn every facet of a language by myself, with the exception of conversation. My plan requires me to take responsibility for my own learning. To make progress using this method, I had to accept that I actually need to learn – knowledge will not be bestowed upon me. Amongst other things, this requires self-correction; I am constantly aware of (some of) my errors. So when I converse, I don’t like to be corrected. I’m already aware of errors I’m making, and having someone pointing out even more, or the same errors, doesn’t help me. However, sometimes we truly don’t understand each other, or I’m curious about some word or grammar, so I ask questions and take notes. In summary, self-correction and questions during conversation are all the corrections I need. More would be less efficient.

wrote:
say a sentence in baby speak with incorrect grammar and pronunciation etc and then the person repeats it with the right grammar and pronunciation and then I repeat what they say

wrote:
create a sentence and someone is instantly correcting something I just said, or interrupting me, and making me repeat everything

I dislike the first correction method you mention, and absolutely hate the second. But the first one may be really good for you, depending on your language plan. That correction method fits someone relying on another person to teach them vocabulary and grammar, or someone who doesn’t do/isn’t interested in self-correcting. I think most people like the first method; I’m an oddball haha.


I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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ileri wrote:
when I uncheck the checkbox next to the languages to indicate that I am not actively learning them, I would expect the chat tab to not display the unchecked languages in the "Is Learning" column. I guess this is a bug/wrong behaviour. See pictures below
Edit: I just realized that you can toggle them in the column itself, but I feel like both these settings should be the same attribute in the database, as they seem to have the same function

This isn't a bug or wrong behavior imo. At one time it was connected to chat, but now the check box is there only to display a language as "learning" under your avatar (forum and write & correct). Chat languages are toggled on/off in chat only. I have written a ticket to clarify the purpose of the checkbox, but there are more disadvantages than advantages to try to connect it to chat.


I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Thanks - we are discussing this.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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ki/vi go with roots that start with a consonant or i.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Nice video! Did you know that you can use the youtube button on the menu to embed them?

I just watched part of it, but regarding pronunciation, the stress is always on the 2nd to last vowel in Swahili. Sometimes people will stylize words by putting stress elsewhere (like TanzAnia), but it's pretty rare. And for ki/vi nouns, singular/plural prefixes are either ki/vi or cha/vya, depending on the roots.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Hi Clayton,

We think we fixed this. Can you please confirm?

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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mirka.miles wrote:
What is the difference between its and it's?

response from merriam-webster

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Matthew wrote:
Not sure if you are looking for any more topic suggestions or the recording is now complete, but a few more came to mind recently.

The 100 conversations are already fixed, but if we decide to add any more I'll consider these.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Ticket written.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Hi everyone. As you know, the community voted to have German Conversations created. It took me a while to find voice actors, but we finally started it. Here is the first conversation - what do you think?

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Matthew wrote:
Big thank you to Leosmith and the team. I have really been enjoying studying with the Thai conversations posted so far.

Glad you like them! We actually have 65 recorded so far, but we are waiting for transcription. Usually one team does everything, but this guy didn't want to do the transcripts. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to have him record them though - his team and recording studio are much better than anyone else who submitted a demo.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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#2 is completed

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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This is done. When you create a passage, there is a button called Tags & Information. 

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Great videos Ali! I was very impressed with your Spanish level after 3 months. Of course I liked what you had to say about Swahili too. I "relearned" Swahili for 3 months around the beginning of the year. I did some lessons in Teach Yourself and Foundation but found myself coming back to Simplified Swahili again and again. It's the best grammar resource imo. 


I realize you're not asking for recommendations here, but you might want to give one of our Swahili Conversations a try. They are intermediate but quite comprehensible according to several users. Imo they are more interesting and realistic than the short lessons I've seen.


Bahati njema  

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Paula.Spindler wrote:
Could you add the following options for French?
https://www.linguee.com/english-french
https://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionnaire:Page_d%E2%80%99accueil
Thank you!

Added

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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This is for the reading tool. It pulls word definitions from Google Translate, but it will also have the option of giving you definitions from your favorite dictionaries. So if you have suggestions of dictionaries to add, please list them here.


Complied list:


Cantonese

http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/scripts/parse_chinese.php


Cebuano

http://www.bohol.ph/wced.php


English

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary


French

http://www.wordreference.com/fren

https://www.linguee.com/english-french

https://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionnaire:Page_d%E2%80%99accueil


German

https://dict.leo.org/german-english

https://en.pons.com/

https://tureng.com/en/german-english/

https://www.linguee.com/english-german


Hebrew

https://www.morfix.co.il/en/


Hungarian

https://topszotar.hu/magyarangol/ 


Indonesian

https://www.kamus.net/


Japanese

https://jisho.org

http://www.edrdg.org/cgi-bin/wwwjdic/wwwjdic


Korean

http://dic.daum.net/index.do?dic=eng

https://ko.dict.naver.com/


Mandarin

https://www.mdbg.net/chinese/dictionary

https://www.yellowbridge.com/chinese/chinese-dictionary.php


Portuguese

https://dicionario.priberam.org/


Spanish

http://www.thai-language.com/dict

http://www.spanishdict.com/dictionary

http://dle.rae.es/

http://www.wordreference.com/

https://es.thefreedictionary.com/

http://context.reverso.net/translation/[/quote]


Russian

http://www.wordreference.com/ruen

https://ru.wiktionary.org/wiki/слово


Swahili

https://africanlanguages.com/swahili/


Scottish Gaelic

https://learngaelic.net/dictionary/index.jsp


Tagalog

https://www.filipinolessons.com/dictionary


Thai

http://www.thai-language.com/dict

https://www.thai2english.com/


Turkish

https://tureng.com/en/turkish-english/



I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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I'm pleased to announce that we have completed 4 more languages (Tagalog, Mandarin, Spanish, Russian), have 3 more in work (French, Cebuano, Thai) and one in recruiting (German). Shout out to the teams for all their hard work!

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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My apologies - we've stopped at 110 (my voice actors had to resume their non-corona lives). But I'll keep your suggestions in mind if we add more in the future  

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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(Originally published in 2014)

There is quite a lot of discussion on the internet about the importance of pronunciation. It’s not necessary to have native-like pronunciation, but your pronunciation should be good enough so that a native speaker will understand you easily. I recommend really trying to sound like a native, within the time allotted for pronunciation in a well balanced language plan, and leaving it at that if you are easily understood. But try to be very honest with yourself regarding how well your pronunciation is understood. Recording yourself and sharing with others is a brutal but very good way to check your understandability. Fossilized pronunciation errors can be very painful to fix, so work hard on it in the beginning.


My experiences with Thai pronunciation. I’m going to talk about Thai now because I made lots of mistakes with it, and learned a lot about pronunciation in general in the process. I started using a textbook. The textbook explained pronunciation thoroughly, which is impressive because Thai is a tonal language with varying vowel lengths. They defined and used their own transliteration system too. The text came with audio, which was also pretty good. The text introduced the writing system gradually. I did the bare minimum regarding reading and writing. I didn’t even do the reading exercises in the back of the book. I had never learned a non-latin script before, and was very intimidated. Fortunately, I found the transliteration easy to understand. But I pretty much ignored tones and vowel length. When I listened to the audio, I didn’t really like the way the natives pronounced, so I just repeated the sentences in my own way. I went to Thailand for a long vacation, and was not understood at all. I was shocked – I’d been learning Thai for 9 months, and it was a total waste of time. This was all due to bad pronunciation.


I came home and decided to hire a Thai tutor. She helped me pronounce one vowel I was having trouble with. She stressed the importance of tones, and I was able to make three distinct tones without much effort. Unfortunately, there are five tones, and I still wasn’t distinguishing between long and short vowels. This was not the teacher’s fault. I still didn’t believe these things were so important, so I didn’t want to make the effort to fix the problem. The next trip to Thailand I was understood to a degree, but still frustrated. I could produce vocabulary and grammar correctly and fluidly most of the time, but I was only understood about half the time.


I returned home again. Over the next few years I got to where I was producing four tones, and doing a little better with my vowel length. I was understood most of the time now, but still had some very frustrating moments where I would say a sentence or even just a word that I knew was right, but got blank stares. This was not because my face is non-Asian. After analyzing things when I cooled off, it was usually a vowel length problem, but sometimes that missing fifth tone.


It wasn’t until the last 2 or 3 years that I decided to make a serious effort to get my tones and vowel length straight. I stopped reading for speed. Now I read as fast as I can with correct pronunciation. I write now, because Thai is sort of phonetic, which means if I can remember how to spell it I can remember how to pronounce it. Why am I struggling so much? Because I’ve been learning Thai for over 10 years now. I’m roughly at the B2 level, and know thousands of words. So I’ve probably been mispronouncing well over 1000 words for many years. That’s called fossilization, and it’s time consuming and tedious to fix. But it’s not impossible. Last time I went to Thailand, I was well understood. I still have problems, but my pronunciation is much better.


So please work on pronunciation from the start. Avoid fossilization. I get this feeling of regret when I realize how good my Thai pronunciation could have been now if I had just cared in the beginning. When you do your pronunciation, follow the steps in Synergy, and make an effort to copy every single aspect of the sound. Of course you won’t have perfect pronunciation after these exercises, but caring about it from the beginning will make a huge difference down the road. 



Chinese & Japanese pronunciation – an exception to Step 1 of Synergy. During your pre-learning research for Chinese or Japanese, you are bound to find out that you will have to learn thousands of characters. This is the type of “unique aspect” I was talking about that requires additional thought, or a different approach. Step 1 of Synergy requires you to learn the orthography while you learn the pronunciation of words. That would be very time consuming for these languages. I don’t recommend putting all other aspects on hold until you learn all the characters and their pronunciations. Instead, use transliteration (pinyin for Mandarin, kana for Japanese, etc). This is one of the few cases where transliteration is ok. Remember that, if the language has them, learning tones and their sandhi are absolutely required at this stage. Other than that, just follow Step 1. How you eventually integrate actual characters into your study plan will be left for another post.



Thai pronunciation – another exception to step 1 or 2? Thai doesn’t have an alphabet; it has an abugida. But that’s just a technicality. It’s fairly phonetic, so based on that it would seem logical that it wouldn’t take much time to learn. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. It’s unlike any other alphabet I’ve worked with. It consistently tops the list of the world’s hardest alphabets in the forum discussions I see. It’s unlikely that you will be able to read correctly pronounced single words with confidence in less than 50 hours of study. And reading sentences often requires that you know the individual words, due to the lack of spaces between words. If you don’t know where the word breaks are, you can’t pronounce correctly. I think a person who has successfully learned a language with a different script before could spend under 100 hours up front with Thai script and avoid using transliteration. But for all others, I recommend using transliteration at first, and weaning themselves off of it as they learn the script, vocabulary and grammar in parallel.



Does delaying speech lead to better pronunciation? As I’ve mentioned in other posts, you absolutely must listen to the correct native pronunciation before repeating it in Steps 1 and 2. Reading before listening is probably the main cause of incorrect pronunciation. So delaying speech until after you hear the pronunciation is critical. But I occasionally hear that you should just listen to the language, for several dozen to several hundred hours depending on the pundit, before doing anything else. And one of the benefits they claim the learner will get is native like pronunciation. I remember when I started learning Mandarin several years ago, several forum members tried to convince me that I needed to listen for at least 700 hours before doing anything else, otherwise my pronunciation would be terrible. Well, I didn’t do it, and my pronunciation is fine. Most of the people I read about who try this live to regret it. The few I have read about who do it and still believe it’s a good idea don’t claim to have significantly better pronunciation. Therefore, due to all its other benefits, I believe starting speech early, as spelled out in Synergy, is a better method.



Don’t model after songs or non-natives. When you are in the early stages of learning a language, you want to use standard native audio to model your pronunciation on. Although I have read lots of people recommend you start learning languages by listening to songs, I think it’s a bad idea. If singing is the main source of your pronunciation, then you can very easily develop the same kind of non-standard speech that you hear in the songs. This is especially true of tonal languages - singers change tones to match the surrounding lyrics and it's understood in the song, but people won't understand in conversation. Of course it’s ok to listen to target language music; just don’t use it to model your pronunciation on. Also, don’t mimic non-native or non-standard speakers in your formative stages if your goal is standard speech.



Learn the linguistics of pronunciation. I admit to knowing almost nothing about linguistics. In the past few years, having studied so many languages, I’ve begun to realize how helpful it would have been to know the linguistics of pronunciation. There are times when I’ve practiced a sound until I’m blue in the face, and still get it wrong. The idea that knowing the linguistic terms for a given sound, along with the audio, will allow the linguist to produce the sound correctly is very appealing. For example, I know what the term “aspirated” means. After producing and aspirated consonant, I can feel a puff of air if I put my hand in front of my mouth. I can’t after an unaspirated consonant. I learned that Thai consonants at the end of a word aren’t aspirated, and knowing that helped my pronunciation. Many Thais have trouble pronouncing English words that end in an aspirated consonant. When I explain aspirated to them, their pronunciation improves. I believe knowing some linguistics would be very useful to the aspiring (no pun intended) polyglot. Although I wish I learned some earlier, I hope to study it in the future.


I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Michel wrote:
leosmith wrote:
Forest of Piano is really good (Japanese anime).

The movie or the serie? The anime serie is on Netflix Belgium. The anime movie has been broadcasted on tv a while ago but I didn't watch it .

The series. I saw it on Netflix USA.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Ok, the poll ended and the winner is German. Placing the ad...

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Tom.Busch wrote:
I don't read anything aloud, because I've been doing input only.

I always encourage people to learn orthography and pronunciation together before they do anything else to capture their full potential in pronunciation. Reading before being able to pronounce correctly can fossilize errors, because even though you may not realize it, you are assigning pronunciation to words that may not be correct. Reading out loud is a great way to counter this; if you check your pronunciation, you are essentially preventing yourself from "cheating". And even after you get fairly good at pronunciation, reading out loud safeguards us from getting sloppy and subconsciously assigning incorrect sounds to words.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Good question. If you ask 10 people, you'll probably get 10 different techniques, haha. I like to listen to them all the way through, read all the way through, then listen again. Sounds similar to your method. When I read them, I always read out loud. You?


If I feel like working on my pronunciation, I will read a sentence, listen to the audio, and repeat if I was off. Sometimes I'll work through the whole passage doing that - I used to do it a lot with French, which has really confusing orthography (to me). But I haven't done it for a while.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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We will discuss this.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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I have some budget left for Tagalog conversations, so I need about 25 new topics. They should not be about sex, politics, religion or corona (too depressing, lol). Also, no duplicate topics. Here is what we have conversations for so far: 

Tagalog Conversations 001 Trip to Boracay

Tagalog Conversations 002 Holidays

Tagalog Conversations 003 Tribes in the Philippines

Tagalog Conversations 004 Dating

Tagalog Conversations 005 Snakes

Tagalog Conversations 006 Trip to Palawan

Tagalog Conversations 007 Taking the Bus 

Tagalog Conversations 008 Climbing Mt. Apo

Tagalog Conversations 009 The Market

Tagalog Conversations 010 Adobo

Tagalog Conversations 011 Banaue

Tagalog Conversations 012 Your Hometown

Tagalog Conversations 013 Physical Exercise

Tagalog Conversations 014 Animals

Tagalog Conversations 015 Gifts

Tagalog Conversations 016 Friends

Tagalog Conversations 017 Rain

Tagalog Conversations 018 Music

Tagalog Conversations 019 Leisure Time

Tagalog Conversations 020 Sleep

Tagalog Conversations 021 Popular Websites

Tagalog Conversations 022 Weekends

Tagalog Conversations 023 Flowers

Tagalog Conversations 024 City life

Tagalog Conversations 025 Noise

Tagalog Conversations 026 Family life

Tagalog Conversations 027 Photographs

Tagalog Conversations 028 Birds

Tagalog Conversations 029 Cooking

Tagalog Conversations 030 Dance

Tagalog Conversations 031 Shopping

Tagalog Conversations 032 Secondary school

Tagalog Conversations 033 Restaurants

Tagalog Conversations 034 Letters

Tagalog Conversations 035 Television

Tagalog Conversations 036 Radio

Tagalog Conversations 037 Travel

Tagalog Conversations 038 Bicycles

Tagalog Conversations 039 Weather

Tagalog Conversations 040 Movies

Tagalog Conversations 041 Clothes

Tagalog Conversations 042 Languages

Tagalog Conversations 043 Primary School Years

Tagalog Conversations 044 Visitors 

Tagalog Conversations 045 Musical Instruments

Tagalog Conversations 046 National Parks

Tagalog Conversations 047 People's Ages

Tagalog Conversations 048 Computers

Tagalog Conversations 049 Meals

Tagalog Conversations 050 Drawing

Tagalog Conversations 051 reading

Tagalog Conversations 052 games

Tagalog Conversations 053 emails

Tagalog Conversations 054 transportation

Tagalog Conversations 055 telephones

Tagalog Conversations 056 sports

Tagalog Conversations 057 newspapers

Tagalog Conversations 058 housework

Tagalog Conversations 059 local parks

Tagalog Conversations 060 seasons

Tagalog Conversations 061 names

Tagalog Conversations 062 gardens

Tagalog Conversations 063 teachers

Tagalog Conversations 064 art

Tagalog Conversations 065 archeology

Tagalog Conversations 066 internet

Tagalog Conversations 067 food

Tagalog Conversations 068 fruit

Tagalog Conversations 069 evenings

Tagalog Conversations 070 mornings

Tagalog Conversations 071 Parties

Tagalog Conversations 072 Swimming

Tagalog Conversations 073 Writing

Tagalog Conversations 074 Plans and Goals

Tagalog Conversations 075 Going Out

Tagalog Conversations 076 Vegetables

Tagalog Conversations 077 Advertisements

Tagalog Conversations 078 Driving

Tagalog Conversations 079 Time

Tagalog Conversations 080 Neighbors

Tagalog Conversations 081 plays

Tagalog Conversations 082 magazines

Tagalog Conversations 083 collecting

Tagalog Conversations 084 subsistence farming

Tagalog Conversations 085 colors

Tagalog Conversations 086 flying

Tagalog Conversations 087 the ocean

Tagalog Conversations 088 meeting people

Tagalog Conversations 089 painting

Tagalog Conversations 090 concerts

Tagalog Conversations 091 science

Tagalog Conversations 092 outdoors activities

Tagalog Conversations 093 handmade things

Tagalog Conversations 094 numbers

Tagalog Conversations 095 happiness

Tagalog Conversations 096 meat

Tagalog Conversations 097 children

Tagalog Conversations 098 Mosquitos

Tagalog Conversations 099 toys

Tagalog Conversations 100 weddings

Tagalog Conversations 101 Typical Mistakes (mistakes that foreigners make in the language and culture)

Tagalog Conversations 102 Taste in Media (How people's personal taste in media has changed over time and how it compares to broader trends)

Tagalog Conversations 103 Home/Car Disasters (for example, the times a machine ate your money and gave you no coffee, something got stuck despite you pushing the right button, car broke down, door got stuck, heating didn't work, etc)

Tagalog Conversations 104 Clothes and Shoes (for example, what type of shoes do you want, what qualities do you want from the skirt you're looking for, etc)

Tagalog Conversations 105 Food you Like or Dislike (what it is, how it is different from something else, etc)

Tagalog Conversations 106 finding a house (renting vs buying, getting approved, etc)

Tagalog Conversations 107 Funny stories from one's own childhood or a family member's childhood

Tagalog Conversations 108 Philippine Dogs

Tagalog Conversations 109 Market 

Tagalog Conversations 110 Work Experience

Tagalog Conversations 111 Role of woman in society (any changes over time)

Tagalog Conversations 112 National impressions (opinions on neighbouring countries eg Indonesia, Japan and perception of immigrants from these countries living in Pinas)

Tagalog Conversations 113 dating and romance (bad dates, how the met a partner, breaking up etc),

Tagalog Conversations 114 worst job, easiest job

Tagalog Conversations 115 Scandals (well known national stories of business leaders or celebrities that fell from grace)

Tagalog Conversations 116 Big Moments (Famous moments in the country that you remember when they were a kid or an adult and what it was like to live through that at the time for instance some national sporting triumph, flood etc.)

Tagalog Conversations 117 Pm2.5 (What can be done to prevent farmers from burning? They are poor and it is cheaper and easier for them do it so they won't stop unless the punishment is severe or if there are rewards for doing it safely. What should be done?

Tagalog Conversations 118 Relationships with Foreigners (How do most thais view pinoy/foreign relationships?)

Tagalog Conversations 119 Auto Fatalities 

Tagalog Conversations 120 Change 3 things (If you could change any 3 things about modern pinoy culture/society/government what would they be)

Tagalog Conversations 121 Scams in the Philippines (that tourists should be aware of)


I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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I just wanted to remind everyone that if you are going to create public passages, they have to be free use; we can't violate copyright when we share. Private usage is a different story, of course.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Ok Matthew, I've added these to the "user requested" list. Some of these will be incorporated for sure.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Edit: Many people are nominating languages that are already in work. To see which languages are in work, check here.

Also, many people are nominating languages that are already nominated. To see which languages are nominated, look at the list on the bottom of this post. 


Would you like to have 100 natural conversations, text and audio, in the language you are studying? We have created these already for several languages; see if yours is here already. It is a time consuming, costly process to make these, so we are adding them slowly. I selected the last group of languages based on how busy the language is at LT – how many passages have already been created, and how many users are studying it. But this time I’ve decided to let you users vote a language in. First, please nominate one (1) language by posting below. After a week, I will make a poll and ask you all to vote. Good luck in advance!    


Nominated so far:

Arabic

Basque

Bulgarian

German

Hebrew

Hindi

Italian

Japanese 

Latin

Polish

Turkish

Western Armenian

Persian 


Edit: polling has started here. It was pointed out that I forgot Persian, so I added it after the poll was created.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Timothy.Wu wrote:
Hey looks like Persian was nominated in the previous thread, but isn't in the poll :)

Sorry about that Timothy. Added.

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Polling has started here.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Ok, you nominated the languages here. Now it's time to vote. Good luck!

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Question: Which is more colloquial? I'll keep running total here of the sum from all sources, including this one.

1) magandang bahay ko (1)

2) maganda kong bahay (6) 

3) aking magandang bahay (1)

4) bahay na maganda ko

5) bahay kong maganda (3)

6) aking bahay na maganda


I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Matthew wrote:
1 Vote for Thai, please.

We are already working on adding Thai.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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(Note - this is independent of the poll for new languages)

I just wanted to share the good news that I finally got some response to some old ads of mine, and we have located some voice actors for Thai and Cebuano. I will add them to this list as soon as they are officially in work. 

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Virgilio.Urbiztondo wrote:
Please nominate Tagalog.

In work. There are already 80 available here.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Animefangirl wrote:
That was a good talking speed. Not too fast, not too slow, so I could follow the transcript along with the speech. Could you tell me what song plays at the beginning and the end? I like it a lot!

Thank you Animefangirl! Unfortunately we can't find the song name.


I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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AKDiscer wrote:
leosmith wrote:
Nominated so far:
German

Ich würde gerne Deutsch sehen!

already nominated

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Gold wrote:
German please. And continue with Russian :)

German is already nominated. Russian is here.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Youhanna.Matta wrote:
Thanks for the great efforts!
I am studying now German (B1+, B2), and I have the plan to go in the same time for Latin, then Italian and Spanish.

Italian and German are already nominated, so I added Latin for you.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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LWDot.Ang wrote:
Simplified Chinese

In work - 10 are already available here.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Ose wrote:
Język polski 😉

Clayton.Henderson wrote:

Seconded japanese!

I was going to say "one nomination per member please", but since Clayton seconded Japanese I put down Polish too.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Bron.Forman wrote:

A great project here Leo. Targeting Intermediate level is excellent, as you are right about the provisions already in existence for Beginners and Advanced learners.

Thanks Bron!

ev wrote:
oh yea! nevermind then, thanks for reminding me! I’m just getting started on this journey!

No worries - good luck!

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Robert.Brooks wrote:
Spanish please

It's in work (10 are done already).

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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ev wrote:
한국어, 제발 ~

Hi ev. We already have TTMIK's Iyagi series, which is the model we shoot for with these. Is that enough for you?

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Clayton.Henderson wrote:
https://rieme.co.za/
Afrikaans - En Dictionary

We've added it as a link however it's using a mechanism that isn't compatible with what we have. It'll just open the dictionary and you'll need to type the word yourself.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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DJHirst wrote:
the word 说 is missing in the last line

Good catch - fixed. You don't need to do this, but if you need a work-around you can also make a copy of the passage which you can edit.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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(edit: total from all input, including this site)

Question for native Tagalog speakers or advanced learners: Which is more colloquial?

1) Sino ang magagandang babae? 2

2) Sinu-sino ang magagandang babae? 2

3) Sino ang mga magandang babae? 2

4) Sinu-sino ang mga magandang babae? 

5) Sino ang mga magagandang babae? 3

6) Sinu-sino ang mga magagandang babae? 1



I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Clayton.Henderson wrote:
I second this... I have found leaderboards and total words read to be highly motivating as well as total time listened. I find that if I don't have a listening tracker... I mostly read (since I read faster than I listen).

You probably know this already, but in case others are wondering the leader board is on the home page and stats can be found by clicking your avatar in the upper right hand corner.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Yes, thanks for pointing it out. Deleted.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Hi animalcule, we think we fixed this - can you please verify?

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Thanks. I put it on reddit, and asked some teachers too. There appears to be no consensus, which is fine I guess.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Thanks Clayton! Are you perhaps considering learning Mandarin?

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Thanks - I've noticed this too, and thought it was just my set-up (high screen magnification). Ticket written.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Thanks - fixed.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Added the missing audio. The "message is too short" error is by design.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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animalcule wrote:
I'm not sure about what the peach highlight is for. I mean, when I read a word I'll either look it up, in which case it will become green, or not, in which case I already know it; then, when I'm done, why not just mark as known all words I didn't look up?

I just read this a bit more carefully. Couldn't you just hit the "I know all remaining peach words" button?

(edit) One possible disadvantage of that is it takes 2 clicks to turn a white word green, but only one with peach.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Ok, I'll write a ticket for the toggle button, and we'll consider it. We're keeping the peach though - many find it helpful.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Sorry, but it turns out this would be a costly change, so we're declining the request.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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To clarify - you want a button that will toggle on/off the shading for the whole passage?

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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animalcule wrote:
Any chance of adding formatting options to the reading tool like we have in the forum? Sometimes it's important for a text. Thanks!

Thanks for the request - we will discuss this. Ticket written.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Forest of Piano is really good (Japanese anime).

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Hi Dalwih. Wow, those are some tough languages you are studying. I've also got some interest in learning Arabic, but it will be a while before I get to it, probably years. There is a place to keep a log here too if you're interested in that. Welcome!

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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CA wrote:
First things first, I'm new to the site. I was confused by the announcement, because it seems that all you need to do is create your account before June 1st, 2020?

Welcome CA! Yes, that's all you needed to do - you are free lifetime premium user of the reading tool now. (edit - I added the word "premium" to the first post to clarify)

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Hello everyone, this is an important announcement so please read. People who join Language Tools on or after June 1, 2020 will have to pay $5/month for a premium membership to use the Reading Tool in its fullest capacity. Current members, and those who join before June 1, will be free premium members for life. So please tell your friends, especially those who have been considering joining, that this is the best time.


Free members who join after June 1 and use the Reading Tool will still be able to read the text and listen to the audio, but won’t be able to use the mouse-over dictionary, get definitions by clicking words, import/export vocabulary, etc. 


Not only is the reading tool extremely convenient for reading any article you want to upload, but we also have lots of material in the library, and it grows daily. Non-members can now browse the library without having to join: https://languagetools.io/reading


Thanks for being part of Language Tools!

Leo


I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Thanks - I will forward this; we'll try to make first click play the pronunciation but not change the color, and add a replay pronunciation icon in the definition window.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Hi Joe - you should now be able to import ignored vocabulary.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Tons. Oh my ghost (Korean version) is really good. Ever seen that one?

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Sergey.Snzahar wrote:
For clarity.
Right now, the first click changes the color of the word to green and the status of the word to "learning" (browser firefox, chrome).

I'm using Windows10, chrome, and the first click plays the pronunciation, but doesn't change the color. Are you also Windows 10?


I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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1. The first click doesn't change the color.

2. Ok, I'll pass this along in case they can think of a different/better way to replay the pronunciation.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Sergey.Snzahar wrote:
Obviously, but the question was different.
Can I turn off the automatic change in the status of words when I click a word in the text?

Hi Sergey. Why do you want to do this?

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Posts1180Likes761Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Hi Peter,

I haven't encountered this myself. Can you give me an example word that has duplicates?

Thanks

(edit - never mind, I found one: accompagné. I wrote a ticket)

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

Edited
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