Update! Learning Stages, Flashcards, All Words Panel, PhrasePump, API..

We have prepared a major upgrade for Language Reactor. There are new features, and also some changes to how existing features work. You can try the new update on the preview site (https://dev.languagereactor.com/).

This was quite a difficult update for us. There are issues still, we will fix them as we become aware of them. All our time over the last months has gone into this update, we’ll resume handling feature requests after the update is finalised.

Please give us feedback, we will read and consider all your comments.

Important Notes:
– This preview version of Language Reactor uses a copy of your data from about 2 weeks ago, changes you make on the preview site (dev.languagereactor.com) will not affect your saved items on the main site (languagereactor.com)
– There is no preview version of the extension (Netflix and Youtube functions), only the website.

About the changes:

Learning Stages

Previously, you saved words by marking them with a colour (red, green, yellow, blue). This functionality is still available (now called ‘tags’), but the colours are shown as underlines under the word. By default, right-clicking a word no longer changes it’s tag colour, but you can configure this in the settings.

In this update, Language Reactor can now track for you which words you know, and for the words you don’t know, it suggests if you should learn them or not. This allows the software to do some useful things. It works for about 40 languages.

  • Words you know are shown in GREEN.
  • Words that you should learn/pay attention to are shown in ORANGE.
  • Infrequent words that you don’t need to learn now are coloured GREY.

These categories we call ‘Learning Stages’.

You can quickly set your approximate vocabulary size by clicking the setting icon in the dictionary. You don’t need to mark every word individually.

If you already have a lot of words saved with colours, you can bulk mark them with a Learning Stage:

  1. Click the ‘Saved Items’ tab.
  2. Click on ‘Saved Words’.
  3. Select the tag colour in the dropdown.
  4. Click the ‘select all’ checkbox.
  5. Select the ‘Learning Stage’ you wish to assign to these words.

Once you have done this, you might want to disable coloured underlines for tags, in the settings tab, to reduce visual noise when watching movies etc.

image

If you prefer, you don’t need to use this colouring system. In the settings, you can disable the colouring of words by learning state:

image

Flashcards

Now that Language Reactor knows which words you know, and which you don’t, we have been able to integrate a powerful flashcard system, with some interesting features.

  • You can review saved words and phrases as flashcards in a ‘Cloze’ format. Item reviews are scheduled using the advanced library ‘Ebisu’.
  • Language Reactor can schedule extra ‘Look and Listen’ cards (enabled by default) that provide an opportunity to become more familiar with how the word is used. The cards have many example sentences with audio that you can review.
  • At the end of a study session, Language Reactor can suggest new words to add to your study routine. It examines your current vocabulary and identifies gaps.

All Words Panel

In the ‘Saved Items’ tab, you can also see a list of all words in the language, ordered by frequency, and coloured according to the ‘Learning Stage’. You can also order the list by alphabetical order, like a dictionary.

You can click on any word, in the dictionary you can access example sentences with audio, to improve your knowledge of the word.

Notice that words you mark/queue to learn manually (by clicking the buttons in the dictionary, or right-clicking the word) have a slight dotted outline when you see them in subtitles / text you are studying. If you are already practicing the word in the flashcards, the outline is solid (not dotted). Take a look at the diagram on the flashcards tab:

image

Words which are manually ‘marked to learn’ (or, marked with a tag/colour) can be exported to Anki, the functionality will be maintained.

We are interested in reducing the amount of superfluous annotation (text colours, outlines, undelines) when watching a movie etc. We’re still thinking about this question.

PhrasePump

We added this just a few days ago. This feature finds sentences from the Tatoeba database that only contain words that have been marked as known, or that you have practiced in the flashcards at least once (familiar words, solid outline). The sentence is read (audio); the text and translation are hidden until you hover over them, or hit the ‘e’ key. The concept is simple, but powerful. Use it to improve your listening comprehension and strengthen your language knowledge. By setting a small ‘known’ vocabulary (50 words), it’s a great way to start learning a language from scratch. We will build on this feature soon and perhaps integrate it with the flashcard feature.

API access

For users that are interested in programming, we will support API access to interact with your data. We’ll provide more details after the update is live, as we might make more changes to the APIs.

Plans

After the update, we’ll be doing bug fixes for a little while, then probably start working on these new features:

  • A library of texts/books for each language, graded by difficulty.
  • An expanded catalogue for TurtleTube, with a suggestion feature that finds videos according to your specific vocabulary.
  • Grammatical analysis and explanations. Tracking grammatical knowledge similar to the way vocabulary is currently tracked. Grammar/syntax audio-lingual style drills.
  • Improved machine translation feature. Maybe we’ll get some speech recognition models running soon.
  • A mobile app, probably with less features than the desktop version, but useable on your phone.
  • …and more stuffs.

We really hope you like these upgrades. If something bothers you about the changes, please let us know.

10 Likes

Congratulations!! But instead of adding new features why don’t you first fix bugs? are you releasing the mobiles apps too?

4 Likes

Hi, what bugs did you encounter? We would be more than happy to fix them. :slight_smile: Mobile apps - that’s next on the list - we will make the mobile version of Flashcards, PhrasePump first.

2 Likes

We know about quite a few issues… for some reason it’s easier to focus on new features, then switch to bug fixes, unless it’s something really urgent. (Focus gets dissipated) This update took much longer than most, so no bug fixes have been done for a while now. We’ll do fixes shortly.

2 Likes

I keep getting an error trying load the flashcards or my word lists on the dev site (windows 10, Chrome). Will try again tomorrow, maybe it’s just temporarily down.

Will there be an easy conversion for those of us using the old system to easily assign certain colors (now underlines) to the new system colors?

I’d like to request a 4th or 5th color for the Known/Unknown/Don’t Bother word colors. I am currently using colors with the old system in this way: Green = Known, Yellow = actively learning, Red = Not actively learning but guessable by context, Purple = Don’t bother (and White = probably should look into learning). Maybe Red only makes sense learning Chinese and Japanese, but there are words where I know the characters and can guess the meaning in context, but don’t actually know the words. By coloring them, I know to pay attention when they show up so I can learn them through osmosis, even though they’re beyond my level for focused learning. I want to continue to use colors in this way, instead of underlining, because I can see at a glance (without actually looking down at the subtitles), how well I should be understanding a sentence and it helps conserve mental energy. Underlining is slower to see.

Currently words that are pronouns, numbers, and measure words are Grey and words beyond level (ie don’t bother with) are purple (now grey). Will there be any differentiation in the new system?

Excited about this update. You guys are doing a great job.

4 Likes

This update looks amazing! Thanks for all your hard work!

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Can’t update my comment, but it’s working today and there is any easy way to convert existing color scheme into the new system. Still hoping for additional colors in the new system per previous comment.

It’s in our plan to extend the tag system to a deck system with the following particularities :

  • user can have as many deck as he wishes, with customizable colours
  • a word can belong to different decks
  • users can upload their decks to a public database, so other users could download them

The most difficult in all of this is actually already done as we prepared most of the work in the current update :slight_smile:

Yes, I added details to the first post about how to do this. I’m send out an email now to all subscribed users with a link to this thread.

Nice features, and awesome that you guys are coming up with a mobile app, I think would change the game as far as convenience. I wanted to mention a bug I’ve noticed recently tho, the auto stop function sometimes doesn’t work. Also, would you guys ever consider having a auto start after adjustable rate of seconds?
Thanks,

Junior

2 Likes

Hi,
a few months ago you practically kicked out Mandarin Chinese, (from Netflix) by no longer providing subtitles in Pinyin (romanised Chinese with extremely important pronunciation signs). From 10 8 movies I already had watched, none has now Pinyin and, with it the natural language translation disappeared as well. The translation provided word for word translation into English. (Triggered by hovering with the mouse over a Chinese character) The now remaining Netflix English subtitles only provide sentence by sentence translation. This has rendered LR almost useless for Chinese learners! To be of any use to me, I need the Pinyin subtitles back. Other improvements are irrelevant however great their value is. I have tried to contact you about this issue several times but never received a response!
Kind regards Thomas Tramm

this is an awesome update! too bad it won’t work with Korean. At least that was the case with the current version.

All I really wanted was an unlimited repeat button that you didn’t have to continually press and the option to change the entire captions color. and the ability to only hide learning language captions and keep your native language shown.

Russian Netflix has been down too. So there’s only one series left. I’d suggest finding movies on Youtube though. They’re not as good but it’s something if you enjoy this style of learning

I’ve been ready for the flashcard system like yesterday. Can you also add a way where we can edit the definition. There’s a few Russian words that do not have a definition but when I ask my friend, he tells me what it means. I’d like to add those meanings into it so I don’t forget. Also please add more interesting videos for TurtleTube. The Russian ones are super boring. I looked at other languages and they have all the good stuff. We already don’t have Netflix please help!

After playing with the flashcard system, I noticed an area that I wish was different. During the listening stage, I clicked on a phrase and listened to it. When I clicked on the individual word to see what it means, there’s no definition. This was for all the words that I clicked on. I understand that it’s listen but I’d like to see the definition at any time. Instead it only shows the synonyms

Then I’d like to be able to click on the word that’s being taught and hear how to say it on it’s own. I cannot click on “OHA”

Overall I’m not really liking this. I hate to say it too but it could be the cloze layout. I hate it on Anki and I can’t seem to escape it here either. Will you have an option for just regular flashcards? Like Russian name and sentence on the front that plays the audio. Then translated word on the back or blurred?

I don’t know how important this is to others but the flashcard system is SUPER important to me since Anki is not importing the cards correcting.

2 Likes

Such an utterly brilliant piece of software… I’m really not usually a fanboy for apps, but this software knocks it out of the park and this update looks awesome. The API is of interest, though I don’t have any specific ideas on how I might use it.

5 Likes

Happy customer here and French learner. I’m super psyched about the updates. I have to say that I think one critical thing is prononciation. For French I would love to see real voice, or advanced synthesis.

I must say that I absolutely love the links when a word is clicked on. I often pick Word Reference, that is a favorite of mine, but it’s awesome to have them there to explore. I have to say that I often look at the dialogue sidebar. Hovering over that list does not pause the video, but that would be a great option to have. As would be clicking a single word triggering a pause.

Again, I’m a happy customer. The most natural language synthesis, I think will make more happy customers. I’m looking forward to your updates and thank you y’all! One last idea, what if you streamlined exports that could tie new words to the source? Rather than finding a way to create folders for instance, I’d like to see it easier to export and then clear the bank, or export the session with a label. I heard someone on YT recount that they used to print out song lyrics and translate them, and then kept them in a binder. Something similar would help learners. In a word, making it easier to answer, Where did I learn that word? is something I think would be cool. Love LR. I’ve already recommended it to my peers!

1 Like

Thank you for the tip​:heart::hugs: Youtube is indeed a marvellous source! Unfortunately not for Mandarin movies. However I found *“Peppa Pig” with carefully edited Pinyin, Chinese characters and English subtitles! That was a private project! Children programs and books are a wonderful entree into a language! I read the Narnia series in the early years of my English learning! Kind regards Thomas.

Yes I second this idea I really do not like that our original saved words turn to colored underlining.

I would like to have option to just keep the current color system because the system I have put in place for myself right now does not translate well

I have spent hours saving the words

If you can make it so the subtitles are kept in the original color and if users want to utilize more of the software by looking at lists of words-use the new color coded system

Im learning chinese

words i know Definition of

words i know Definition of+can read

words i know Definition of+can read+ prounounce perfectly

Words i memorized 60% of

Words i memorized 20%

English names-“sound”is similar but has different meaning

1 Like

This update looks awesome!!! Can’t wait to get home and try this out! In terms of future feature priorities for mobile devices, flashcards are really the only feature I’d consider absolutely essential for mobile since that’s how I’d be able to do hours more practice. All the other features look great for desktop. No dedicated mobile app needed if the flashcards UX is usable via mobile browser. excited to try this out soon as I’m back to my desk!

2 Likes