Language Learning Discussion: Some food for thought before the meeting
inge at lysator.liu.se
Mon Mar 3 20:45:41 UTC 2014
On Sunday, March 02, 2014 17:37:20 Andreas Cord-Landwehr wrote:
Ok in a weak moment CoLa took advantage of me and made me promise to write
something that we could discuss around in this meeting. :)
The main topic of this dicussion is C: Planning of Application Scopes and
Integration in this page:
Let's start to look at what a person learning a new language needs to learn in
1. Characters. Sometimes you get this for free if you are learning a new
language that uses the same alphabet or script system as the ones you already
know. But some languages have new characters (Swedish åäö compared to
English, for instance), more accents (French or Spanish) or use even
completely different script systems (Asian languages compared to European and
the other way around).
2. Words. This is the most fundamental knowledge of all languages. In this
case I am grouping learning to read the words and learning to understand
spoken words together.
3. Grammar. How to put the words together to create meaning. At present KDE
Edu doesn't have anything to support this.
4. Pronounciation. You need to know how to say the words and phrases.
In KDE Edu we have applications that cover most of these needs:
1: KLettres, Kiten(?)
2: Parley, KWordQuiz
4: Artikulate (since a week ago)
But not all aspects of all the cases are covered. For instance KLettres is
mostly for kids learning to read for the first time. If you want to study Thai,
Hindi, Chinese or Japanese as an adult you don't really get a very good
experience from these applications. Also Kiten is only for Japanese and I
think it's even retired although I'm not sure there.
So the scopes of the applications and their role in the language learning
process are pretty clear. But how the code is organized is perhaps not optimal
right now. Also the usage patterns seem to be a bit ad hoc.
For instance Parley is only usable for training at this point, but the
terminology in many places seems to be geared towards testing. I suggest that
we try to limit ourselves to support the *learning* of languages only for the
foreseeable future. Adding a test mode to the applications is probably
worthwhile, but we need to add other types of workflows and features for those
usecases before they are viable. For example you cannot show the answer when
you are done with a question. :) Also you need to be able to go back and
forth in the set of questions and correct your answer if you want to.
When it comes to creating training data I know that Parley uses kvtml and has
an Ok editor in it. But I don't know much about the other applications. I
think some other applications use Kvtml too and artikulate does have it's own
editor. Discussing file formats and editing is not in scope for this upcoming
meeting but it's an important topic that we will need to address soon. For the
moment I suggest that we keep things as they are, i.e. an editor in each app
that need it and the rest can use Parley for kvtml editing. The exception
could be KWordQuiz that has a very simple kvtml editor in it now with lots
fewer features than parley's but it's also a lot simpler.
And in addition to that, there is a Google Summer of Code project proposal
to create a more advanced editor for large data files.
Finally, we have discussed creating an integrated application á la Kontact
where each of the aspects above and maybe more (advanced statistics?) could be
components. This would be some sort of "Language Lab" application with the
individual applications integrated into a whole. The most reasonable technique
to do this would be to use KParts which is very simple.
Under the hood, there is the question of what to break out into libraries and
what to keep in each application. We have a library in libkdeedu called
keduvocdocument which reads, stores, and writes kvtml. I would be thrilled to
have an advanced flashcard (including multiple choice, written training, etc)
library that uses Qt Quick too. That would make it easier to create
specialized versions of the apps and also package them for mobile/touch use.
Regarding new features for individual applications I am not going into that
here. This mail is only about scope and integration.
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