Readlang

Read for pleasure and super‑fast language aquisition

Auto Highlight Words As You Read

March 17, 2015 by Steve - Comments

Context is key when learning language. Wouldn’t it be nice to access previous contexts you’ve seen a word in every time you encounter it in a new text?

Based on popular demand, I’ve added the ability to auto-highlight words you’ve previously translated as they appear in new texts. Clicking on any of these underlined words will trigger a pop up showing the translation along with previous contexts.

From here you can:

To activate this feature, open the reader sidebar (the little ☰ in the top right corner), select the “AA” tab and enable the Ready to Learn (recommended) option.

This is currently only available within the Readlang reader interface, not the Web Reader. If you would like to see it on the Web Reader, or have another feature you’d like to see on Readlang, please add it to the feedback forum. A highly voted request is a sure-fire way to get my attention.

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New Translation Glossing Mode

March 8, 2015 by Steve - Comments

Readlang’s main feature is inline word and phrase translation, as seen here in the Web Reader:

Replacing the word with the translation has a ‘magic’ feel to it, and doesn’t intrude on the reading experience like a pop-up box would. The disadvantage is that the very word you need to learn is hidden. To remedy this I’ve added an alternative mode which adds a translation gloss above it, and adds a space so that it’s not obscuring the line above, check it out:

Turn this on via the formatting options in the reader sidebar:

What do you think? Useful? Do you like the hand-writing font or is it too ‘cute’?

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My Favorite Tools For Learning Spanish

November 28, 2014 by Steve - Comments

The best way to learn to speak Spanish is to just speak Spanish. Ideally with native Spanish speakers. But there’s also a lot you can do completely independently, and these are some of my favourite methods of self-study.

By the way, although I’ve focussed on Spanish, these methods are applicable for many languages.

1. Michel Thomas

This is a great place to start. It gives you a really good feel for the grammar, getting you to construct quite complex sentences from the very start, which really gets you motivated with the feeling of rapid progress. The format is unusual in that there are two other students on the CD who are learning alongside you and who will often fumble through an answer to be corrected firmly by Michel. It sounds strange but it really works. As with most language learning CDs, it’s best to actively participate, pausing after each question and speaking the answer aloud, or in your head, before listening to the student’s and Michel’s responses.

After finishing this course you should have developed a really good intuitive feel for the structure of the language, but will still have a very limited vocabulary.

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8 Reasons You Should Read More (includes waffles)

May 28, 2014 by Steve - Comments
Selfie of myself reading at the lab. Note the professional Readlang logo in the background ;-)

I’m already addicted to reading in my native language of English. As a child I would read computer magazines cover to cover, as a teenager I started reading novels like The Andromeda Strain, and now as a guy who works at a computer all day long, even when working I’m habitually reading blogs, forums, wikipedia articles, news sites, you name it! So when I decided to learn Spanish, it was only natural to make reading the foundation, and reading in Spanish is now my core daily language learning habit. Here are 8 benefits:

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Tips to take charge of your vocabulary learning

April 23, 2014 by Steve - Comments

Readlang now has a powerful new Words page:

This is a flexible tool to manage your vocabulary, whether you’re a hardcore language geek or simply looking for new ways to speed up your learning. Bear in mind that none of this is necessary to use Readlang, which you can very happily do using only the Library and Learn pages. The Words page is a great addition for those who want to take a more hands-on approach to their vocabulary learning.

Here are some useful tips for making the most of the Words page:

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Are some people naturally better at learning languages?

April 19, 2014 by Steve - Comments

I just read a fascinating article about the development of Hi-LAB, the “High Level Language Aptitude Battery” test designed to help the US military identify individuals with high language learning potential. It was borne out of a frustration with seeing so many language professionals getting ‘stuck’ at basic proficiency and not progressing to become fluent. After some research, CASL (Center for the Advanced Study of Language at the University of Maryland) concluded that the following three traits were linked to language learning success:

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Practise Words From Specific Books

April 17, 2014 by Steve - Comments

By default, Readlang will select flashcards for you to practise which are useful, high frequency words, and are scheduled for review according to Readlang’s spaced repetition algorithm.

But what if you are focussed on a more specific goal? Perhaps your job or studies require you to learn technical terms, or perhaps like me you’re working your way through Harry Potter and would like to restrict your study to those books. I’ve recently added a new feature for Readlang Supporters that allows you to choose to study words from any text from which you’ve translated 10 or more words or phrases, for example:

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The Making of Readlang - The First 16 Months

March 27, 2014 by Steve - Comments

It’s been 16 months already. In that time the site has grown from nothing to almost 5000 users, and continues to receive awesome feedback and grow ever more quickly. But it’s not all roses. There’s a long way go to make this sustainable, and I’m very motivated to keep battling on and making it happen!

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Learn Languages with Harry Potter

March 8, 2014 by Steve - Comments

A failing of most language courses is that their content is so boring. It’s hard to stay motivated reading stories like “John goes to the supermarket”, I want to read about epic adventures, with drama, mystery, and wizards!

That’s why I’m so excited that the Harry Potter e-books are available to buy DRM free, ready to import into Readlang and help learn languages!

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The Unintuitive Secret to Remembering Words - Don't Try!

February 26, 2014 by Steve - Comments

If you’re stuck looking for the right word, does it drive you crazy? Do you pound your head on the table trying to remember it? Do you swear you’ve learnt this before? If only your brain would work! Just think dammit! Think!

There are two problems with this:

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Fed up with flashcards? Try other word games for language learning

February 18, 2014 by Steve - Comments

Flashcards are effective, but let’s be honest, they can get a little boring. That’s why I created an API for Readlang allowing any web developers to create games which you can then play with your personal words and phrases.

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Readlang for Teachers

February 12, 2014 by Steve - Comments

Are you a foreign language teacher? Would you like to encourage your students to read more?

You can now create reading assignments on Readlang, and track your students progress to see where they need help.

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Learn Japanese and Chinese by Reading

December 14, 2013 by Steve - Comments

Finally Japanese and Chinese are available to learn on Readlang!

They work just like the other languages except that you need to drag across individual characters to select the words yourself. The reason is that languages without spaces between words make it very difficult to detect them automatically.

Please give it a shot and let me know if it’s useful or not, if you’re not sure where to start, this video may help: Readlang Tutorial

If you still have questions, please get in touch, I’m always ready to lend a hand!

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Happy First Birthday

November 30, 2013 by Steve - Comments

I started Readlang exactly a year ago today. At the time I had no idea I’d still be working on it a year later!

Here are some fun statistics on how you’ve all been using Readlang:

I’m excited about what improvements I can make in the following year! Stay tuned!

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Firefox Extension

November 20, 2013 by Steve - Comments

Firefox users rejoice, for today sees the launch of the new Readlang Web Reader Firefox Add-on!

Install it.

It works exactly like the current Web Reader Bookmarklet except it integrates nicely into the Firefox interface.

Once installed, you can access it on any web page by either:

Here’s how the toolbar looks with the toolbar button installed:

Please let me know if you encounter any problems.

If it works well please leave a nice review at Readlang Web Reader to encourage Mozilla to give it offical approval. Thanks!

UPDATE: The Firefox Extension has been rejected from appearing on the Mozilla Add-on gallery since it updates itself automatically which they don’t allow due to security concerns, so if you want it just download and install it here.

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