I am making a new product for language learning and hope you can join me!

Hi language lovers!

I am both a language enthusiast and a full-stack individual developer. A while ago, I started learning German but struggled to find a good tool. LanguageReactor is not bad, but I think it lacks integration with modern AI technologies like ChatGPT, which I find to be a fantastic way to learn languages. Moreover, it fails to work reliably from time to time. After searching without finding a satisfactory tool, I decided to build one myself. I have been using it privately for a while and it feels good. Later, I thought, why not turn my private tool into a public product? However, I’m sure I can’t make a great product alone. I need more people to give me feedback and help it evolve. Hence, this post. I am inviting you to try my product, give me feedback, and hopefully, join me in making this product better together!

Here is the link to my product, LingoPear, and our Discord community. You can find a detailed introduction on the landing page. I will provide a brief overview shortly.

:point_right:t2: Homepage: https://lingopear.com/
:point_right:t2: Discord: LingoPear

The overall philosophy behind LingoPear is:

to let you learn languages with materials that interest you, with the support of modern AI.

For now it has following features (which comes from my personal needs).

:fire: Ask and discuss anything with AI in context in the embedded chat panel.

  • Sometimes, I find using a dictionary can be ineffective and inefficient, especially when the explanation requires context, the term is a phrase rather than a single word, or you encounter a slang.
  • Things are worse in German, since there are so called verbs with “separable prefixes”, whose prefix is placed at the end of the sentence, making it impossible to get an accurate explanation without taking the whole context into consideration.
  • Previously, my solution was to open ChatGPT in a new browser tab, copy and paste the context, and type my question. While helpful, constantly switching tabs was frustrating and distracting.
  • Now, with LingoPear, you can simply select any text you have questions about—it doesn’t need to be a single word—and start chatting with AI directly in the embedded chat panel.

:fire: Watch YouTube or Netflix with controls tailored for language learning.

  • Like what LanguageReactor has done, you can play YouTube videos directly from our site, or Netflix movies with our browser (Chrome for now) extension.
  • Similarly, you can repeat the current sentence, go to the previous and next sentence, or auto-pause.
  • Unlike LanguageReactor, where you click on a single word to look up the dictionary, in LingoPear you select whatever confuse you and ask AI.
  • Unlike LanguageReactor which shows the translation of the current subtitle directly, by default LingoPear won’t show the translation. You can translate by a click. The translation will appear once, and will be blurred. You can view it again, but with some effort, namely another click. It is because I don’t think watching a foreign movie with a translated subtitle visible is helpful to learning that foreign language.

:fire: Read ebooks.

  • You can upload whatever ebook (in EPUB3 format for now) to read.
  • Similarly to the video player, you can chat with AI at any time about anything. Simply select them.

:fire: Collect multi-modal flashcards, including audio flashcards, and practice using them.

  • You can collect question-answer pairs along watching a video or reading a book. In particular, when watching a (YouTube) video, you can create an audio flashcard, namely a flashcard with an audio clip attached to it.
  • I want this feature to practice listening and speaking.

:fire: Transcribe a video to get a word-by-word subtitle.

  • When I was learning German, I wanted to watch a documentary, but unfortunately the YouTube video did not have subtitles. So I decided to make one.
  • It turns out that even with subtitles displayed, as a beginner, I still found it difficult to follow along and would often get lost.
  • Thankfully, I can identify single words in the subtitles I generated, not just sentences, so it is possible to tell which word is being spoken.

:fire: Narrate an ebook to get a word-by-word audiobook.

  • It is one of my proudest features. For years, I’ve used Kindle and Audible for reading. Amazon offers a feature called Whispersync, which synchronizes Audible sound with Kindle text, allowing me to read and listen simultaneously.
  • However, only a small percentage of books on Amazon are Whispersync-enabled.
  • With LingoPear, you can turn ANY ebook (in EPUB3 format for now) into a word-by-word narrated audiobook!

:fire: A curated catalog.

  • This feature is still a work in progress. My aim is to collect high-quality, open-domain materials to inspire learners and help them discover their next learning resource.
  • Currently I have imported some good English literatures, with Spanish literatures planed. In the future there will be ready-to-use videos and good reading materials in various languages.

Thank you for reading this far! Here is something I want to say in the end.

For the past roughly nine months, I have been working on this project ALONE. The purpose of this post is to invite you to try LingoPear and, if you like it or find it promising, join me together to make this product better. At this very moment, it may have bugs, may not work for some languages or in some browsers, and may lack features you want. I hope to hear your feedback.

All in all, you can try LingoPear at
:point_right:t2: https://lingopear.com/
and join our Discord server:
:point_right:t2: LingoPear
where you can reach me directly and discuss anything with me and others.

Thank in advance to help me, and hopefully we can form a community to together make a great product for all of us and all other language learners!

How do you get ebooks in EPUB3 formats? Do you need to convert kindle books somewhere? Or do you need to seek out pirate copies?

You mention the problem with seperable verbs( a BIG problem). How does LingoPear deal with them?
What is the advantage of using AI chat instead of a dictionary? (I find monolingual dictionaries like duden.de very helpful at getting the “big picture” of the word…use google translate on the monolingual if you need to.)

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For your first question, one big source of open domain ebooks is the Project Gutenberg. Besides, there are many smaller but beautiful sources, like Standard Ebooks (standardebooks[dot]org) for English and Elejandría(elejandria[dot]com) for Spanish. (These are free sources. There are many ebook shops as well.) Personally, I do convert kindle books, but I (can) only use it for myself privately, not for commercial use. It is true that finding good ebooks to read is not easy, so I am building the LingoPear catalogue, which is still in progress. I have collect many English books, but short for other languages.

For you second question. In short, my answers are:

  • What is the advantage of using AI chat instead of a dictionary?
    It can take the context into consideration, and give you direct straight-forward answer, in a natural way, and you can keep asking more questions.
  • How does LingoPear deal with them?
    LingoPear itself does not deal with the problem, but simply embeds the AI into the tool and set up some default prompt, so I don’t need to switch browser tabs and type boilerplates, which helps me focus and immerse.

I do use both Google search and Google translate, and have been using monolingual dictionary for languages I am familiar with, e.g. English (my native Language is Chinese.) But I am so new to German that it is challenging for me to look up its native dictionary. Also, I find it sometimes hard to look up in a dictionary

  • phrases consisting of many words;
  • informal or verbal expressions, or slangs;
  • small words, like “make” or “take” in English, whose meaning depend hugely on the context.

Most importantly, all these looking-ups are very interrupting and distracting.

On the contrary, I do find modern AI, especially those Large Language Models, quite good at explaining languages. When asking, say, “What does [??? (confused term)] mean in [??? (context)]”, it always gives me a very clear, direct, and straight-forward explanation in context, in my asking language. Furthermore, I can continue asking if I have further questions. It all happens in the form of a natural conversation, like there is a tutor sitting next to me answering my questions.

So I embed the AI chatting into the LingoPear. It prevents you from being distracted by switching tabs to look up information, and leverages the power of language models to explain languages. I’m not sure how to describe it more clearly. You are welcome to give it a try:)

Here is an introduction video for LingoPear:

a question: why pear?

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hahaha good question, but for no particular reasons. It just comes to my mind and I like it :smile: