Getting the most out of LWT

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Josquin
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Getting the most out of LWT

Postby Josquin » Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:27 pm

So, the other day I installed Learning With Texts aka LWT on my computer (Yes, I actually did it all by myself! :)). And now I'm aksing myself how to get the most out of it.

Up to now, I have been reading paper books, underlining unknown vocabulary, and looking everything up in paper dictionaries (sometimes also online dictionaries). While this method is very slow and time-consuming, it's also effective and great for really learning the words. I find looking something up and copying it out by hand makes you memorize the word easily. Also, you can make Iversenesque wordlists this way.

Now, LWT has the advantage that (in theory) you only have to look up an unknown word once (actually, it's more often when words are declined, conjugated, or mutated). Also, looking everything up via one click in connected online dictionaries is very handy and convenient.

However, I get the feeling I don't really "learn" words this way. I can look them up quickly, but this prevents me from really memorizing them. Also, I tend to focus on single words too much instead of seeing sentences and expressions as a whole. I know there's the "test" option, but I haven't really checked that out yet.

What's more, importing texts is very cumbersome for languages like Irish or Hebrew. There aren't many e-books in Irish out there, so theoretically I would have to scan my Irish books, use an OCR software, and import everything into LWT. That seems like a lot of work. Also, LWT is next to useless for Biblical Hebrew, because you would need to remove all accents, diacritics, and arguably even niqqud signs in order to make LWT work for it. Once again, this would be a lot of work and reading Hebrew without niqqud is really hard.

I don't deny LWT might be great for "big" languages like English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, and so on where there are a lot of e-books and even audiobooks available. But I start to feel it might be of limited use for less studied languages and those with a complex writing system.

So, my question is: Am I missing something? Am I doing something wrong? Do you have some advice for me how to get the most out of LWT even for less studied languages? Thanks in advance, all advice is really appreciated!
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MorkTheFiddle
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Re: Getting the most out of LWT

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:24 pm

Although I use LWT on an almost daily basis to read Spanish, French, and mostly, Ancient Greek, and I have used it in the past to read German, the difficulties you mention with Hebrew and Irish would convince me not to use it with those languages. In the past I have OCR'd texts and uploaded them. That is about the only way to legally use contemporary texts, since most of those are not online or in any digital form. IMHO, though, this is definitely not worth the time and trouble, limiting as it may your choices to the early 20th century and times previous and to scripts amenable to usable dictionaries.

As for your other remarks, first of all, provided you have enough materials that interest you, you will learn the meanings of new words by sheer repetition of seeing them and looking at their definition. Again, this is dependent on having enough different texts, or on reading the same texts over and over again. Short of poetry, I've never found that to be much of an option save for works I really, really like. Second, nothing precludes you from using other memorization methods. Facilitating this is the function to download vocabulary, either all of it or certain levels of it or by individual texts. Then you can use Iversen's word list method, or ANKI, or whatever.

Hope this helps. Respond here or PM me if you want/need more help.
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Re: Getting the most out of LWT

Postby Elenia » Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:40 pm

I'm currently finding it a good way to really cement Swedish declensions and conjugations. In theory, I know how things decline and conjugate, but right now I'm being very thorough and writing down every form of a noun, verb or adjective each time I come across it. I do as much as I can from memory (including writing out which declension I think the word belongs to) before checking against the provided dictionaries. I'm doing this even for words I know well and it's ironing out a few problems and points of confusion for me.

I'm currently reading a Project Gutenberg text and a new text that I bought as an ebook and was able to reformat using Calibre. The main thing that is stopping me from using LWT with my other languages is that I have my books as paper copies rather than ebooks. I am lazy about looking up words for most things I read - I do so on and off - and so having the blue words in LWT really is a good motivator to get me to look up each and every word rather than leaning on my less than perfect understanding.
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Re: Getting the most out of LWT

Postby mcthulhu » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:18 pm

"LWT is next to useless for Biblical Hebrew, because you would need to remove all accents, diacritics, and arguably even niqqud signs in order to make LWT work for it. Once again, this would be a lot of work..."

Why would it be a lot of work, unless you're doing it manually (God forbid)? I don't know Hebrew but I should think you'd be able to use a Word macro for this, if not a script in the programming language of your choice. https://community.logos.com/forums/p/48881/361927.aspx seems to be a similar discussion. https://dba.stackexchange.com/questions ... arks/84266 includes a PHP function at the end that at least lists all the character values to be removed.

A Nikkud script on Github includes a JavaScript function for testing whether a character is nikkud (I think):
https://github.com/zvizvi/nikud.js/blob ... c/nikud.js has
function isNikud(c) {
return (c > 1455 && c < 1470);
}
so maybe you could just remove all characters in that range, as https://stackoverflow.com/questions/377 ... cript?rq=1 seems to be doing.

https://ideone.com/1IxAeA looks like a Perl tool someone wrote to do this.

Etc. - there's probably more out there.
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Re: Getting the most out of LWT

Postby Adrianslont » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:37 pm

I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking of starting a thread similar to this. I started using Readlang to improve my A2ish French 28 days ago and I’ve been wondering how others use and get the most out of Readlang/LWT/Lingq - which all sound pretty much the same.

Obviously French doesn’t present the same problems with accents and diacritics that you face - french accents work fine in Readlang but the other part of your post applies: how best to use it. I know the answer is something like, “whatever suits you, try different approaches etc” but I would love to hear some other opinions.

Currently, I highlight unknown words or phrases as I go and just read on, enjoying the ease that a fast lookup gives me. And enjoying the TTS pronunciation help I get when I highlight a word. I also spend time reviewing the flashcards that are generated though I generate way more cards than I have time to review. When reviewing I delete some cards if I think it will stick easily or don’t think I will have need for the word in next year or so.

Anyway, my questions are: do people find reviewing the flashcards useful - do you feel it makes a difference over just reading? Does anyone actually export their words to anki and if so, what are the benefits over Redlang’s native flashcards? Any other comments that might apply to new Readlang/LWT/Lingq users?
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Josquin
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Re: Getting the most out of LWT

Postby Josquin » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:48 pm

Thanks for your input so far! I really appreciate it.

@mctulhu: I'm afraid I'm not enough of an IT buff in order to work with programming languages or fancy scripts. I can just about use the most common Windows applications, but that's it. I've never done programming or anything in that department. So, yes, I was thinking of removing the accents from hand when I said it was a lot of work. I don't know if there is a Word macro for doing that. Maybe, it could even be done by using the advanced search option in Word.

The niqqud wouldn't really need to be removed now I'm thinking about it, but all the Biblical accents that indicate the position of a word within a verse etc. would definitely need to be removed. Otherwise, LWT wouldn't recognise known words with different accents.

Concerning Irish, MorkTheFiddle is probably right. Scanning texts and OCR them would be a lot of work. On the other hand, LWT is such a handy tool, it might be worthwhile trying it nevertheless. There are few, even next to no literary texts in Modern Irish available on the Internet for free, so if I want to give LWT a go, I will have to use OCR software for better or for worse. Interestingly, there are quite a lot of texts in Old Irish available, but unfortunately I'm not studying that (yet). ;)
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Re: Getting the most out of LWT

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:38 pm

Adrianslont wrote:Anyway, my questions are: do people find reviewing the flashcards useful - do you feel it makes a difference over just reading? Does anyone actually export their words to anki and if so, what are the benefits over Redlang’s native flashcards? Any other comments that might apply to new Readlang/LWT/Lingq users?

When I was getting up to speed in languages, I toyed with the flashcard function first in LingQ and then in LWT. For me, it is merely annoying, flashcards, SMS, ANKI, the whole nine yards. For French and Spanish, there were so many gasbags writing in the 19th Century that I never ran out of material and I could read and read and finally learn enough vocabulary to read fluently. I can't speak to writing or speaking however.

Ancient Greek is a little different. Not enough texts survive for extensive reading to take hold. So I do download some but not all vocabulary words from LWT and study them using word lists of the kind Iversen makes or export them into CRAM and StudyStack for review or games. Quizlet and Memrise don't help me much, and I use ANKI only with Emk's substr suggestions for movies.
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Josquin
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Re: Getting the most out of LWT

Postby Josquin » Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:37 pm

A little update on using LWT for Hebrew:

As it turns out, it's very easy to remove Masoretic accents from a Hebrew text using the advanced search option in Word. Unfortunately, there are quite a few kinds of accents and you have to remove each kind of accent individually, so it takes a little time, but once you've done that you're good to go. It's just a few minutes' work!

Removing niqqud signs is not necessary. I even found a good online dictionary, called Morfix, that can deal with words with niqqud. It can even look up words according to their roots. That is a very handy tool for Hebrew!

So, it seems I can use LWT for Hebrew after all. The only disadvantage is that LWT can't deal with affixes, of which there are quite a few in Hebrew. So, every time the word for "and" or the definite article etc. get prefixed to a word, you have to enter it separately.

Concerning Irish, I'll probably give OCR'ing texts a try. I really start to like using LWT. :D

@Adrianslont: As far as SRS cards are concerned, the opinions vary a lot on this forum. Some people swear by them and do their repetitions daily, others can't stand them at all. I used to alternate between the two positions, but in the long run I have come to the conclusion that SRS aren't really my cup of tea.

There are always words you already know, which you really don't need to learn, and there are others which trip you up every time you come across them and which you can't get into your head. Neither of them are really worth learning IMHO, especially not in isolation. I prefer learning words in context, i.e. by reading texts and that's why I like LWT. But I'm not saying SRS are useless. They just don't fit my preferred way of learning.
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Re: Getting the most out of LWT

Postby Adrianslont » Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:57 pm

MorkTheFiddle, fair enough preferring to just read where possible but interesting also to see that you supplement the reading with anki when there isn’t much reading material. I found it very interesting that Quizlet doesn’t work for you but anki does. I’m the same. I tried Quizlet for a while a few years ago and didn’t warm to it and then tried anki which I have stuck with. One of three reasons anki works better for me is the SRS - it takes care of the scheduling for me and I really remember cards after a month or so. The free version of Quizlet doesn’t have srs and I just lost track of when to review, making it less effective. I also really like subs2srs and the cloze deletion in anki.
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Re: Getting the most out of LWT

Postby Adrianslont » Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:18 pm

Josquin, good to hear you are overcoming your LWT difficulties and enjoying it. I’m really enjoying Readlang, too.

For what it’s worth Readlang has Irish but only has a very very small number of shared texts. You might want to have a look in case any of them interest you?

I’ve been using anki myself for theee years now and think it’s been really helpful. I don’t just do single words though - I mainly do subs2srs and cloze deletion which I find more interesting and effective. And all of my cards have content from things I have already read, watched or listened to.

I guess my question asking others about their experience with using the flashcard functions in the reading programs boils down a few things:

1. Do people find there is a synergy between the doing the reading and backing it up with flashcards - I am sure there is, it’s just a matter of which is more effective: doing more reading or doing reading plus cards?
2. Do people find Readlang’s flashcard system good enough? It is srs but is not as transparent and doesn’t have as much control as anki. And it is basically just words/phrases - though it’s great that it does give context and I love the TTS. I know it’s possible to export to anki but I’m not sure it’s worth it? I’m wondering if anyone does that and if they have found it useful/superior.

Regarding the categories of words you mention - I find two additional categories: words that I meet that stick pretty well because I meet them often, and words I meet but not often enough because I am not a huge reader and the extra meetings in an srs flashcard system helps me with those - I guess that’s why I like the idea of mixing the reading with the cards - just wondering about others experience.
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