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French par osmosis

Ou: Apprenons French avec the Kindle
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There are many parts of the world in which people do not take the trouble to learn English. This means that we have to shoulder the burden of communication by learning their language, if we want them to understand when we tell them how to do things.

However, some of these foreign lingos are almost wilfully difficult to learn. Of course there are courses (of course), but who has time to take a course? Nobody, of course.

MaxMedia, therefore, is proud to launch the first in a series of electronic books aimed at helping you to learn foreign languages as painlessly as possible. The series is called "French par osmosis" (to be followed by "German von osmosis", "Italian per osmosis" and many more).

It's very simple. Next time you buy an eBook for your Kindle, simply choose from our range of "French par Osmosis" editions. You want to read the latest Ed McBain? Fine. Or Pride and Sensibility? A Passage to the Yemen? No problem. They are all there.

Each is a perfectly normal, well-produced eBook in English, and can be read in the normal way if you are feeling lazy. However, cliquez- vous on the garlic icon, and then set the language slider to some point between 1 and 11, and you're dans business.

At a setting of "1", a très petit subset of common, simple words in the English text are replaced by their French equivalents. If you wish, these can be subtly highlighted. The remainder of the text remains dans English. Given the context, it's more than likely that you will deduce the meaning of these mots Francais as you read but, if you avez problems, simply tap the word and it will be replaced by its English equivalent. Your reading experience sera therefore only slightly impeded.

After deux or trois chapters, you will find, probablement, that you hardly even notice the mots Francais, and you will read seamlessly across them, sans having to tap the screen pour la traduction.

You can now turn the slider up from one to deux. Now, in addition to the initial set of mots, vouz trouvez a larger proportion of the mots in Francais. As before, vouz pouvez tapoter the screen whenever there's a mot avec which you are pas familiar but, again, the meaning of most of the mots Francais will be apparent from context avec a little thought. Up to this level, les mots are selected such that restructuring of les sentences is not necessaire; for un similar raison, idiomatic expressions are not altered, otherwise it would be a complete dog's dejeuner. En effet, it is a form of progressive Franglais electronique.

And so, nous continuons. A niveau neuf ou dix, la majorité des mots will be en Francais, et vouz will find que vouz comprenez sans much difficulté. Aussi, the order des mots est changée where necessaire, so you begin to learn un petit peu de grammaire, et a few expressions idoimatique, while you are reading your livre choisi . Sacre bleu!

You may also, si vouz voulez, select "modalité automatique". Avec cette option, the level of difficulté is increased automatically as you read, advancing to the next niveau as soon as you have read a long passage sans having to ask pour la traduction.

Finalement, au niveau onzième, tout sera en français, et vous serez devenu un haut-parleur français sans même s'en rendre compte. Gadulka!

MaxwellBuchanan, May 13 2011

Let's Parler Frainglais http://www.amazon.c...ngton/dp/1861057822
[hippo, May 16 2011]

Franglais http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franglais
[hippo, May 16 2011]

Language Immersion for Google Chrome http://lifehacker.c...-you-browse-the-web
[ytk, May 17 2012]

Ming-a-Ling...daft name... https://addons.mozi.../addon/ming-a-ling/
...now Men-ge-le that'd be more memorable [not_morrison_rm, May 18 2012]

Text Ladder http://www.readingenglish.net/software/
Analyses sets of texts to sequence them in a manner that optimises the rate new vocabulary is introduced to the language learner when reading [NotationToby, May 20 2012]

Flewent https://chrome.goog...gnahmdgminfepnokjhh
Another Chrome app that translates bits of web pages to different tongues. [tatterdemalion, Aug 08 2012]

[link]






       Holy merde! There are deux patisseries deja! Quelques demi-bakers can read plus vite than je can edit.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 13 2011
  

       Sacre Vache! Vous etes polyglot, juste comme moi!
AbsintheWithoutLeave, May 13 2011
  

       Oui, c'est true. Je mange trop.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 13 2011
  

       Superb! La terre a marché pour moi.
bigsleep, May 13 2011
  

       Encourages cultural diversity [-].   

       Encourages foreigners to be even more lazy and shiftless than they are currently [-].   

       Fails to promote the rigid unity of outlook appropriate to an Aggressive Hegemonising Swarm [-]   

       french [--------------------]
8th of 7, May 13 2011
  

       C'est un "non", alors?
MaxwellBuchanan, May 13 2011
  

       Jawohl !   

       The idea would be much more acceptable if - as we had hoped from the title- it was a proposal to enclose france and all its inhabitants in a semi-permeable membrane and apply steadily increasing extreme pressure until all the water is forced out.
8th of 7, May 13 2011
  

       This could work even plus efficace for audio livres, as you'd be able entendre la prononciation of the mots, and would be mieux prepared d'avoir une conversation in the langue de your choix.   

       Takzhe, some languages may be trudno to read without hearing someone govirit them first. And languages that aren't katuv from left to right would drive you meshugah trying to kroa them.
ytk, May 13 2011
  

       Oh [+].
infidel, May 13 2011
  

       La probléme avec une audio version, [ytk], would be that c'est difficile to seamlessly subsitute les mots étrangers dans a spoken passage. You would need avoir onze complete texts, chaque read with an increasing proportion des mots étrangers. Aussi, c'est difficile to ask a spoken text to arreter and donnez vous the traduction, if you don't comprenez a particular mot.   

       (J'ai juste noticed that le spell-checker ici dans la demi- pattiserie can recognize si I am typing en francais, and then queries mes mots anglaises. C'est smart!)
MaxwellBuchanan, May 13 2011
  

       Let's see you do this with Chinese.
RayfordSteele, May 13 2011
  

       Why would Chinese want to learn French this way?
infidel, May 13 2011
  

       //Let's see you do this with Chinese//   

       No. 1 Riz special
No. 2 Canard a la Pekinoise
No. 3 Chow le mien
No. 4 Sucre et aigre porc
AbsintheWithoutLeave, May 13 2011
  

       //Let's see you do this with Chinese.//   

       Yes, that would be 難,perhaps even 不可能.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 13 2011
  

       In fact (and this may of interest to 8th) I believe one could even learn Borgeoise in this way.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 13 2011
  

       Binary is of course the universal language, consisting as it does of just 0's and 1's, or alternatively Yes and No…or if you're Monsieur le President de la Republique, General Charles de Gaulle, just 'NON !'
8th of 7, May 13 2011
  

       If it's such a 1derful language, 1 1ders why so few people speak Borgoise.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 13 2011
  

       Je suis ce que je suis,
mais je ne suis pas ce que je suis,
car si j'étais ce que je suis,
je ne serais pas ce que je suis.
  

       'I am'='I follow' in direct translation.
bigsleep, May 13 2011
  

       Well, that's Popeye in the merde, then.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 13 2011
  

       "There are many parts of the world in which people do not take the trouble to learn English. This means that we have to shoulder the burden of communication by learning their language, if we want them to understand when we tell them how to do things."   

       Worthy of a croissant for the first paragraph alone!
bob, May 13 2011
  

       "Fails to promote the rigid unity of outlook appropriate to an Aggressive Hegemonising Swarm [-] "   

       What language are you speaking 8th of 7 ?
bob, May 13 2011
  

       C'est la langue de la Borgeoisie.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 13 2011
  

       //A niveau neuf ou dix, la majorité des mots will be en Francais// A quel niveau commence-t-il l'imparfait du subjonctif?   

       Apart from a typo in the title (should be \\Apprenons Franglais avec le Kindle\\) this idea is flawless [+]
mouseposture, May 13 2011
  

       Vous êtes très gentil, [posture de la souris].   

       Si je were vous, je would évite l'imparfait du subjonctif comme la plague.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 13 2011
  

       "Ah ! je vois que vous bronchez sur cet imparfait du subjonctif"
(L'auteur est correct, mais vous vous avez trompe de roman. C'etait _La Chute_ et non _La Peste_)
mouseposture, May 13 2011
  

       Niveau onzième, sacre bleu! My feeble French is learned by audio, so I cannot comment worthily.   

       I really like this idea, seriously, and had to stop halfway through just to laugh.   

       May I suggest that niveau 1/2 highlights les mots that are the same in English et le Français?   

       The Avion My Uncle Flew is a rather good children's book that adds in French as the story progresses, by the way. The idea of doing so electronically deserves a croissant, of course. [+]
baconbrain, May 13 2011
  

       //The Avion My Uncle Flew is a rather good children's book that adds in French as the story progresses, by the way.//   

       Aha! Les grands esprits pensent alike. (Ou, perhaps, les fous rarement differ.) Merci beaucoup!
MaxwellBuchanan, May 14 2011
  

       Un petit d'un petit
S'étonne aux Halles
Un petit d'un petit
Ah! degrés te fallent
Indolent qui ne sort cesse
Indolent qui ne se mène
Qu'importe un petit d'un petit
Tout Gai de Reguennes
tatterdemalion, May 14 2011
  

       //les mots that are the same in English et le Français? //
I've got a book with the following printed on its spine:
  

       Dictionnaire   

       Medical   

       Dictionary   

       "Medical" does double duty as both a French and an English word, you see. So the "level" in the Osmotic Kindle would be, in a mathematical sense ill-defined. Not a problem, really, just an observation.   

       ([tatterdemalion] That's from _Mots D'Heures: Gousses, Rames_ isn't it?)
mouseposture, May 14 2011
  

       (Oui.)
tatterdemalion, May 14 2011
  

       You lost me when you turned the slider from one to deux. The theory is better than the reality.
ldischler, May 14 2011
  

       Peut-être vous avez need de nos édition Americain-a-French au lieu, [ldischler]?   

       (Incidentalement, le Traduction Google me donne "fallent" pour la traduction de "fallent".)
MaxwellBuchanan, May 14 2011
  

       I employ the American method of speaking slowly but loudly, and with enough repetitions that even the most recalcitrant Parisian will eventually surrender and admit that he is actually quite fluent in English.
ldischler, May 14 2011
  

       Zut! J'ai une autre idée fantastique! On peut implementer this idea dans une browser! Puis, tous les pages du web peut etre displayed avec un utiliseur-selected percentage du mots French!   

       (Oui, je sais q'il y'a Google Translate, mais c'est ne pas the same thing.)
MaxwellBuchanan, May 14 2011
  

       (+) J'ai ri. M'écriai-je. J'ai acheté le t-shirt.   

       [+] Un *tres* bon idee. Cert. Pour plus de langues aussi, pas de Francais seulement.
FlyingToaster, May 14 2011
  

       As someone who has real difficulty learning languages, I think this could really work. Definite bun.
MechE, May 14 2011
  

       //Un petit d'un petit S'étonne aux Halles //
sp. "sa donne un ouialle"
AbsintheWithoutLeave, May 14 2011
  

       I think this Idea suffers from the fact that not every language has the same sentence structure as English. In French (and other Latin-descended languages) it is normal for adjectives to follow the words being modified by them, while in English it is normal for adjectives to precede the words being modified by them.   

       So, whle direct replacement of words is partly workable, more needs to be done, as part of the teaching process, than just that.   

       This Idea might also benefit if the human race decided to create an All-Culture Character Set, able to accommodate all the sounds used in all human languages. Then the very first step would be translating the English text to that symbology, before trying to use that symbology to teach a very different language like Chinese.
Vernon, May 14 2011
  

       [Vernon] // Aussi, the order des mots est changée where necessaire, so you begin to learn un petit peu de grammaire//. Lisez et comprendrez.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 14 2011
  

       Il va être très difficile, l'enseignement de la langue française pour les Américains. Ils n'ont pas encore maîtrisé l'Anglais, comme vous pouvez le voir, m'sieur [Maxwell Buchanan].
infidel, May 14 2011
  

       Pas de how.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 14 2011
  

       //Pas de how// That's a suburb of Coeur d'Alene, isn't it?
mouseposture, May 14 2011
  

       Yes, I believe it's near Pas de Comment.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 14 2011
  

       A similar clojure could be subclassed to { people.teach how to code } ;   

       N'est pas?
not_only_but_also, May 15 2011
  

       Pas doubt, [pas seulement but aussi].
MaxwellBuchanan, May 15 2011
  

       The thing au sujet de départ pour apprendre le français by reading, is that il n'y a pas d'orientation for le necessité a developper un accent outrageieux francais. Will there be an option to mettre en marche links to des clîps Monty Python ?
bigsleep, May 15 2011
  

       Pas de How or Savoir-faire?
infidel, May 15 2011
  

       [MaxwellBuchanan], sorry, I don't know any significant amount of French. Much of your original post is gobbledygook to me. So, quoting it doesn't clarify anything.   

       I might mention that not everyone wants to learn other languages. My personal rationale involves the choice between learning the same old stuff six different ways, or learning all-new stuff. This point became clear to me after I found myself learning my sixth computer-programming language....
Vernon, May 15 2011
  

       [bigsleep]//Will there be an option to mettre en marche links to des clîps Monty Python ?// En aucun cas. Would put people in mind of the Hungarian phrasebook.
mouseposture, May 15 2011
  

       //Much of your original post is gobbledygook to me//My apologies. However, I bet you can make sense of the first six paragraphs. In fact, you're a perfect test subject.   

       What I was saying was that "Also, the order of the words is changed where necessary, so you begin to learn a little bit of grammar."   

       //not everyone wants to learn other languages// And quite right too. I personally believe that these oddball foreigners ought to just agree that they haven't come up with anything better than the Queen's English (which, incidentally, we allow them to use at no charge whatsoever, despite the immense development costs over a period of several hundred years), and just stop their linguistic affectations. However, it's a case of montagnes et Mohammed. This idea is not compulsory (and, even if you buy one of these eBooks, you can just leave the slider at zero and read it in proper English as god intended).
MaxwellBuchanan, May 15 2011
  

       My insignificant knowledge of French reveals that you didn't really "get" what my first post was talking about. I said, "whle direct replacement of words is partly workable, more needs to be done, as part of the teaching process, than just that."   

       So, for example, if some text in English includes the phrase "green house", and your automatic translation (here I used Google Translate) converts it to "maison verte", then how is the reader supposed to know which word means "green" and which word means "house", when you didn't warn the reader in advance that the order of words would be changed?   

       That is, you ASSUMED that the reader would recognize that words have been transposed, and I didn't make that assumption when I wrote my original post here.
Vernon, May 15 2011
  

       Very cool.
nomocrow, May 15 2011
  

       If either the grammar and vocabulary step up independently, or there is a logical procedure where you get vocabulary first, and then move on to grammar, [Vernon]'s point should be solvable.   

       Just knowing the vocabulary should be enough to let you read the language anyway (and barring pronunciation issues understand it spoken, slowly and clearly at least). Moving on to the grammar would be necessary to write and speak it clearly, but anything would be a help.
MechE, May 15 2011
  

       [Vernon] you're right, assuming that (a) you skip the first few levels, where you'll see things like "the green maison" and "his maison in the country"; and (b) you also fail to tap the phrase "maison vert" to view the translation as "green house".   

       Of course, if anyone in the story has a greenhouse and works at the Whitehouse while listening to Jailhouse Rock, we're back in the shit-house again.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 15 2011
  

       //Anything would be a help// Exactly. The idea, it seems, is to create, by relexification, a pidgin which solves the practical problems of interacting with Frenchman, while thumbing its nose at the French language, and, indeed, the very idea of any language other than English.
mouseposture, May 15 2011
  

       I think I missed the part about tapping the text, but that still doesn't tell you which word means "green" and which word means "house". A lower control-setting is probably the best way to introduce the new words, but I suspect that a mere 11 settings is FAR too few.   

       Also, I suspect whole books need to be read at lower settings, before increasing the setting level. That's to allow words to be correctly identified from their use in multiple contexts. For example, if just the word "green" was changed, in a book, would the reader even know that the replacement word was a color, from just one encountering of it? Probably not! But encountering it in multiple contexts should make it clear. Yet that means not advancing the setting-level of the translator until well after the reader has had a chance to encounter a changed word in multiple contexts....   

       In the end, then, I tend to think that while the language-learning process may be simplified by this Idea, I also think the new language will take as long to learn as it usually does.
Vernon, May 15 2011
  

       //I suspect that a mere 11 settings is FAR too few// Just for you, we'll let the slider go up to 12. And yes, you're right. On the other hand, I didn't specify that you could only choose integers...   

       //whole books need to be read at lower settings, before increasing the setting level//   

       You can choose your settings all the time. You can start out on level 4, then you can decide you need to go back to level 1.3, then you can go up to 2.3. You can stay on level 2.3 for as long as you want. You can read ten books on level 2.3 if you like, before trying to read a new book at level 3. Then, if you get a book which covers a very different topic (like fly-fishing in India) and you don't recognise a lot of the French words, you can start reading that book at level 1 until you've picked up the new vocabulary.   

       Likewise, if you find that the editors of one book have "scaled" the settings a bit differently (so that, for instance, level 3 in "Gone With the Titanic" is as hard as level 4 in "Zen and the ARTRR"*, you can adjust accordingly.   

       What I'm sort of getting at here is that you can choose what level you read at, always. You can even just read everything in English if you're on holiday and just want a good story.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 15 2011
  

       *)
MaxwellBuchanan, May 15 2011
  

       The only thing is that each story would have to be chosen to be translated manually in order to avoid all the ins'n'outs of the to/from languages. However this need be no or little more difficult than translating a novel into another language already is.   

       Well worth it though, and congratulations Max, this is the first idea I've seen that would make me even consider purchasing one of those things. Consider me poleaxed.
FlyingToaster, May 15 2011
  

       // each story would have to be chosen to be translated manually//   

       Absolutely. A simple "search and replace" might work for a few nouns, but manual editing would be essential beyond a basic level. Also, the translator would have to use judgement to decide which level of translation corresponded to which numerical level. This is one reason why it's necessary to be able to continuously choose the level you read at, to allow for slight differences in the "scaling" of the difficulty between different translators.   

       If Mr. Kindle is reading this then (a) I just love your cakes and (b) feel free to contact moi.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 15 2011
  

       That was the lousiest request for free cakes I've ever seen.
pocmloc, May 15 2011
  

       [Max], on the basis of the travails this idea is enduring in certain parts of the "free world", might I suggest devising one to first teach English?
infidel, May 15 2011
  

       I was always told, by my Great Aunt Maxwelline, "Quand on n'a rien de gentil à dire, il faut ne rien dire."
MaxwellBuchanan, May 15 2011
  

       //You lost me when you turned the slider from one to deux. //   

       you just proved yourself wrong friend...
Voice, May 15 2011
  

       Only the autoboner could bone this.
Voice, May 15 2011
  

       Everyone sounds comme Delboy. J'adore it, Rodders! [+]
theleopard, May 16 2011
  

       Avez-vous ne signifie pas, "Quand vous n'avez rien de gentil à dire, il est préférable de ne rien dire"?
infidel, May 16 2011
  

       Bravo! This is a great idea...   

       By the way, I believe this is practiced in Indian speech: quite strange to hear perfect English spoken in the middle of what sounds like total gibberish.
Ling, May 16 2011
  

       Learning foreign languages is counter-productive. There are roughly 400m people with English as their first language, but about 2 billion learning English as a second language. Thus, when someone with English as their first language travels abroad it is both courteous and helpful for them to talk loudly and slowly as an example of correct English for those learning English as a second language.
hippo, May 16 2011
  

       What [Ling] said...this is also baked on Spanish radio and TV stations in the US. It appears there is no other word for *internet* and many other English terms that do not translate.
xandram, May 16 2011
  

       Actually, this is something like using Miles Kington's "Let's Parler Franglais" books (voir les liens) to teach yourself French.
hippo, May 16 2011
  

       Not so much that there is no word, just that the word is identical. With the exception of France, where they have deliberately come up with French back formations, words that developed after languages were more or less codified are frequently borrowed wholesale. Since much of the technical progress for the last 60 years was in English (not all by native speakers, but the premier journals mostly are), the words were formed of English roots.   

       This is the same reason why medical and legal terms are frequently Latin, it was the language of international communication at the time those disciplines were codified.
MechE, May 16 2011
  

       Not only for that reason. In technical vocabulary, it's useful to have words without "baggage" -- words with only a single definition, and no connotations. Loan words from a dead language are useful for that. I guess I should add that the above is only my opinion, although it seems self evident.
mouseposture, May 16 2011
  

       I think it would be far more fun to use this method to deliberately teach broken Frenglish to the world, just to piss off the stuffy French and their pathetic insistence upon maintaining the purity of their hooting, pretentious lingo.
infidel, May 17 2011
  

       //Actually, this is something like using Miles Kington's "Let's Parler Franglais" books (voir les liens) to teach yourself French//
Complete with the glorious motto of the Navire Francaise "A l'eau, c'est l'heure".
AbsintheWithoutLeave, May 17 2011
  

       //I should add that the above is only my opinion, although it seems self evident.//   

       I have copy-et-pasted that phrase into my list of Useful Phrases for Difficult Arguments. Merci.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 17 2011
  

       //the glorious motto of the Navire Francaise "A l'eau, c'est l'heure".//   

       And not forgetting the dying words of Napoleon to Josephine: "Qui s'amie heures dit."
MaxwellBuchanan, May 17 2011
  

       Nor indeed the rousing and patriotic words of General de Gaulle when faced with the challenge of protecting Paris against the high-minded Germans: " Oui, ville fait t'aime. On dit 'bêcheurs'! "
MaxwellBuchanan, May 17 2011
  

       I'm worried a little about grammar, but you did it very well in your post, so it could certainly be run over.
fischerman, May 17 2011
  

       I think so too. Grammar is one of them things at which I am good at running over.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 17 2011
  

       //Grammar is one of them things at which I am good at running over.//   

       You're not making this easy. Its like a yellow rag to a bull'.
bigsleep, May 17 2011
  

       This could be a good way to infiltrate and corrupt the French with poor grammar, leading invaribly to their downfall. (waiting for the obvious tautology there to be pointed out...)
RayfordSteele, May 17 2011
  

       //Its like a yellow rag to a bull'.//   

       I thought it was "like a red rag" ?   

       No. Wait.   

       "Like a yellow rag to a red rag." would make no sense whatsoever.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 17 2011
  

       //would make no sense whatsoever//   

       Clearly one of us has been drinking and one is trying to be funny. We can never know both so lets walk away now before any cats are harmed.
bigsleep, May 17 2011
  

       You seem to have excluded the possibility that I might fall into both of those catbaskets.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 17 2011
  

       //idiomatic expressions are not altered, otherwise it would be a complete dog's dejeuner//   

       Yes they are - I have never heard the idiomatic expression 'a dog's lunch', I would have thought it sould be 'a dog's dîner' (not diner, unless the diner has become the dîner).   

       [+] for everything else.
TomP, May 17 2011
  

       Now, you see, the need for me to expand my linguistic horizons has been brought to the phore. Which is exactly why I proposed this idea.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 17 2011
  

       Incroyablement, this has since been plus or moins cuit au four (voyez link).
ytk, May 17 2012
  

       Well, allez a pied d'escalier!
MaxwellBuchanan, May 17 2012
  

       Uh, what about languages with differing grammars or tense structures, or where sentences are structured differently? How would the transition be handled there without going through a transitional phase of utterly illegible nonsense?
Hive_Mind, May 17 2012
  

       I'm claiming prior art on this one ;-)   

       I built something like this for my MSc Disertation in 2001/2002. Except it used English and German. It was for German learners of English.   

       It was 'English by Osmosis'. But I called it PATRIC (partial translation in CALL -Computer Assisted Language Learning). I built a bilingual dictionary with a word frequency attribute.   

       You pasted some english into a web form. This then sent the English off to be tagged for part of speech (my dictionary was tagged by part of speech - to distinguish between bank - financial and bank - turn a corner in a plane or motor bike).   

       The words were then run through my dictionary and turned into xml   

       <word>   

       . <english>dagger</english>   

       . <pos>noun</pos>   

       . <freq>0.00xyz</freq>   

       . <german>dolch</german>   

       . <friend>false</friend>   

       . <synonym>knife</synonym>   

       . <synonymfreq>0.0xyz </synonymfreq>   

       </word>   

       <word>   

       . <english>elephant</english>   

       . <pos>noun</pos>   

       . <freq>0.00xyz</freq>   

       ..<german>elefant</german>   

       . <friend>true</friend>   

       . <synonym>NA</synonym>   

       . <synonymfreq>NA</synonymfreq>   

       </word>   

       then it spat out a web page which contained the xml a some javascript that checked a cookie for the user's current translation threshold, loaded up an xsl style sheet, used the cookie to modify a parameter in the xsl, then used the modified xsl to parse the xml to produce some partially translated English.   

       I did get accepted on to a 2-year phd to flesh it out but didn't get proper funding so didn't do it. So I keep meaning to get back to it as a hobby.   

       the xml sample I gave is stylised, I've added a couple of tags I was hoping to implement later. Friend and synonym.   

       Friend was for words that were so similar like elephant and elefant that it was pointless translating them and better to allow the learner to notice the obvious low frequency 'cross-lingaul cognates'?. And the synonym tag was to avoid translation when a more common target language synonym within the current translation frequency threshold was available, ie. translating dagger into knife.   

       So I'm claiming this as 'prior art' semi-baked in prototype form. My dictionary had about 50K words.
NotationToby, May 17 2012
  

       //I've got a book with the following printed on its spine:   

       Dictionnaire   

       Medical   

       Dictionary //
Ca marche seulement parce-que "dictionnaire" est masculine. Un whole autre boite de verres.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, May 18 2012
  

       Now probably isn't the point to mention the Firefox add on ming-a-ling which replaces a certain number of words....   

       // French back formations,   

       Sounds painful, you should see a doctor.
not_morrison_rm, May 18 2012
  

       Vraiment, cette idée est bollocks du chien [+]
hippo, May 18 2012
  

       //cette idée est bollocks du chien //
sp. "bolleaux"
AbsintheWithoutLeave, May 18 2012
  

       //I think this Idea suffers from the fact that not every language has the same sentence structure as English. In French (and other Latin-descended languages) it is normal for adjectives to follow the words being modified by them, while in English it is normal for adjectives to precede the words being modified by them.//   

       When I created the web-app for my MSc. (see above) that did something similar to this idea. I chose to back translate from the target language. This meant that the structures of the language you are learning are preserved.   

       So you need to start with a French text and word for word translate it into English. Yes, this will look odd but it will give you a kind of psuedo-dialect of French-structured-English, which may have educational value in itself.   

       Although this will look a little like gibberish, the contextual clues and the magic of the human brain will cope and pick up some French gramaticallity. I suspect if the reader persists with this they will learn French 'thinking'.   

       The ambiguity of words decreases as their frequency decreases. So once we do start to back translate the English words into the original french words (starting with the most common/frequent French words). The amount of lexical ambiguity will decrease more and more.   

       When I looked into the research into second language acquisition from reading. The amount of words that was found to allow comprehension of the meaning of a passage of text came out at about 94%-96%. It seemed, if 1 in 20 words was unknown the reader could gradually acquire the missing words.   

       To achieve 95% is a huge vocabulary for general English. My argument was that if an intermediate learner with a couple of thousand words had say 70% coverage then, you could leave 75% untranslated. preferably with the 5% unknown being the next most useful/frequent words.
NotationToby, May 20 2012
  

       This is damned clever. It's how people often learn new languages in practice anyway. My grandparents would speak to my mom in about half Ukranian half English. So as a kid I'd hear stuff like "Bladovich bladovich to the bakery to get some bladovich." Sure sentence structures may be different, but once you get the words down you can communicate. If somebody says "Toilet, where is?" you don't say "What the hell are you talking about?"   

       The downside is it prolongs the agony of the world speaking different languages, something that makes absolutely no sense. I think any language besides English should be targeted for extermination like polio but that's just me.   

       Bun but only for the "English by Osmosis" version. Or "Anglais by Osmose" I guess.
doctorremulac3, May 20 2012
  

       May I just say, that I would pay a rather healthy surcharge above the listed price, per volume, for this service. Choose something that can be read over and over without tiring, like To kill a Mockingbird, HHGTTG, or Catch 22.   

       This really should be a thing, and certainly has no place residing here in the HALFbakery, rather it should be pushed, kicking and screaming, out into the FULLbakery, somewhere. More than any other 1/2B idea I can readily recall at this time, this ticks both the achievable and worthwhile/profitable boxes that to me says it should be made a reality.   

       I'd think that an integer version could be a) much more easily achieved, and b) much more practical to "certify" to whatever standard you're applying to each translational stage. Ie, if you declare 5 variable stages of translation, and produce reasonable guidelines for each stage, it would be then as simple as getting a suitably skilled linguist to translate the volume 5 times. Certify, publish, .... Profit.   

       I also think that you'd just as simply decide which languages are compatible with english, and only offer the service for those. I'd start with languages that are natively written with the english alphabet and are gramatically similar, although that's by no means the limit.
Custardguts, Jul 30 2012
  

       Well, there are quite a lot of out-of-copyright popular books that one could start with. If anyone wants to bake this as an onlineable thing, just cut me in for 4% of the first £10m.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 30 2012
  

       Well, nous could commencer with a bit of Agiterlance:

Être or ne pas être, telle est la question...
hippo, Jul 30 2012
  

       Wikipedia might be a good starting point for an app like this. There is often more than one possible translation of a word. If your app has a list of possible translations of an L2 word on an wikipedia page, then if there is a link on the left to a corresponding article in English (or your L1 of choice), then the correct translation might be present in the parallel article. This would aid the selection of this particular translation.   

       Or failing that it could be an interesting crowdsourced translation project.   

       [MB] regarding the 4% royalty, i claim prior art on this one!
NotationToby, Jul 30 2012
  

       //prior art// fair enough. I'll settle for 4% of your 4%.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 30 2012
  

       Deal. You seem to be doing a better job of disseminating this one than i ever did. (possibly being a bit hard on my self I did present a short workshop on it at an OU conference)
NotationToby, Jul 30 2012
  

       //a short workshop on it at an OU conference//   

       That is, to borrow a phrase from our American cousins, cool! Tell more.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 30 2012
  

       I had 20 mins to show the prototype (which I described in previous annos) to the people at my workshop/seminar/thingy (I forget). I spent about 10mins showing how it worked and then took questions. Some people seemed intersted, others not so much.   

       I think some educationalists are wary of mixing up languages, and also maybe (IIRC) think translation is a very old fashion way of learning. I think they imagine a painstaking full translation, whereas this is reading acquistion with lots of input and the translations are just there to improve the contextual clues, to a level where the gist of the sentence can help the learner acquire some of the unknown vocabulary.   

       There were some other cool ideas I found while writing up the project for the dissertation. I 'll see if I can find a link to a program called textladder someone wrote. It sequenced a set of texts to cluster similar texts together to minimise the vocabulary pre-reading required to ensure that succesive texts presented to the learner where 95ish% comprehensible. - the site/article describing this program probably does a better job describing this.   

       haha, I already did in May!
NotationToby, Jul 30 2012
  

       Ah, May - two months and a lifetime ago. Memory is such a fickle, ah, wossname.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 30 2012
  

       So true, that's why I envy those lucky people who don't have middle names, took a good 18 years before I could remember how to spell mine.
NotationToby, Jul 30 2012
  

       Je connais ce posting ziemlich bien. Het is een klassiekje Halbbakkereiidée. Alhoewel ich all the same seulement s'koshi Franzöisch ili Mangeldeutsch learnt durch ukuFunda this maniére. Und ngi khohliwe lonke namhlanje, en miskien habe ich ein bischen confused etait and in fact often bewildered durch das application of the technique ("pazhaosta?") gewürden (qué?) waren.   

       In spite of that, I can say that it almost works, je pense. It's just that one must be realistic about how many languages it's possible to go beyond, "Semimasen? aygawgha wakarimas ka?" in. (Können Sie englisch? / Est-que ce que c'est qui ca comprenez l'anglais / Kan u Engels praat? / Habla Inglés? / ukhulum' isiNgisi, wena?)   

       Voilá un demi-pain. Le quatorzieme c'est von mich!
skoomphemph, Feb 28 2014
  

       I thank you from the derrière of my coeur.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 28 2014
  
      
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