Readlang

Read for pleasure and super‑fast language acquisition

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

UPDATE: This trial programme has now ended

I encourage you to use the normal Readlang features with your class. If you do I’d love to hear any feedback or tips you might have for using Readlang with students, please get in touch to let me know at steve@readlang.com.


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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Typing Mode

November 11, 2013 by Steve - Comments

You can now type your answers into Readlang’s flashcards! This has been on the cards for a long time, and after getting addicted to the amazing Duolingo recently I knew it was time to add it to Readlang.

To enable this, first enter the preferences page:

Then click the “Typing Mode” check-box.

Now, the flashcards in the Learn tab will ask you to type your answers in the language you are learning (but not in your first language):

I’ve been testing it myself and it’s so much more rewarding to type the answer and get told if it’s right or wrong.

If you get frustrated for getting told an answer is incorrect, when it is actually a different correct answer, it can help to edit your translations to be more specific, e.g. instead of translating the Spanish word “este” as “this”, use “this (male)” to remove the ambiguity. This isn’t always enough however and I do plan to allow multiple alternate answers in future.

UPDATE: I’ve now added the ability to add alternative answers. When you get a question ‘wrong’, a button will appear allowing you to accept it as a correct answer.

Another feature I’ll probably add is an on-screen keyboard with the special characters which are difficult to type without altering your OS settings. For now, I recommend finding out how to alter your keyboard layout on Windows, Mac or Linux and try learning to touch type in the language your learning, that’s what I do for Spanish and it’s far faster than reaching for the mouse half way through a word.

UPDATE 2: There is now an on-screen keyboard for the extra characters in each language.

Please let me know if you enjoy the typing mode, or if you prefer the old one.

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Customisable Dictionaries

November 7, 2013 by Steve - Comments

Don’t like the current sidebar dictionary? Or is it missing for your language?

You can now put whichever dictionary you like in Readlang’s sidebar.

  1. Enter the preferences page:

  2. Enter the URL of the dictionary you’d prefer, using {{query}} in place of the word to translate:

  3. Click Preview to check that it looks OK.

  4. If satisfied, click Use this Dictionary.

Your chosen dictionary will now be available in the Readlang sidebar:

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Readlang is getting Reddit-ized

November 6, 2013 by Steve - Comments

I’ve jumped on the bandwagon and added voting to documents. It works much like Reddit and my hope is that if enough people share and vote it will provide a good stream of quality new content for language learners to read.

As well as Readlang texts, you can also vote on any web page directly using the Readlang Web Reader.

PS. Thank you to the users who have been sharing content, especially the prolific lyarraocatilla!

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More Dictionaries

October 10, 2013 by Steve - Comments

Readlang uses the great WordReference dictionaries where supported [1], and recently I’ve been adding some other dictionaries to fill in the gaps, namely:

Thanks to the users who suggested each of these!

Now some of these don’t fit neatly into the sidebar, so I’ve added an “Open in new window” button to the reader page, and an “Open Dictionary” button to the Web Reader to open the dictionary in a separate window instead. This offers more flexibility for you to arrange and resize the dictionary as you see fit:

If you have suggestions for dictionaries for other languages, or if you have better alternatives for any of the current ones, please leave a comment below.

[1] Languages with WordReference dictionaries in Readlang:

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