The best way to learn words in a new language.
There is a better way to learn vocabulary in a new language.
LoomVue helps you learn a new language just like you learned your first language: by acquiring vocabulary in context. LoomVue uses state-of-the-art neural machine translation and alignment algorithms to find words for you to learn on webpages you visit, translating them (taking sentence context into account) and replacing them in the page to create a dynamic "diglot weave."
* Dynamically translate words across a variety of languages.
* Save words you want to study later.
* Listen to how the words are pronounced.
* Control every aspect of your learning, from the pace to the intensity.
* Frictionless learning - you can learn while you work, study, write email or read the news.
* English -> Spanish
* Spanish -> English
What is the LoomVue Browser Extension?
Learning a language is a monumental task. It requires mastery of an alphabet, grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and even aspects of a culture. While all of these elements are critical, learning enough words to communicate effectively (i.e., vocabulary acquisition) is the most important. As one scholar wrote, “while without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary *nothing* can be conveyed”.
Fortunately, the human mind is innately designed to learn vocabulary. Consider that native English speaking 12th graders know around 40,000 words, having learned approximately 3,000 words annually — a staggering 8 words per day. While some are explicitly taught in classes, the vast majority of new words are learned implicitly from context in a process that researchers call “incidental vocabulary acquisition.” If we learned the vast majority of our native language words implicitly, then can we do so when learning a new language?
The answer is a resounding YES! Our LoomVue Browser Extension enhances your ability to learn new words from context by overcoming the limitations of implicit language learning. Specifically, it helps you by (1) surrounding the new words with words you already know from your native language (using a diglot weave approach) or known words from the target language; (2) reducing inaccurate guesses by providing the native language synonym and additional information about the new word; and (3) showing the native language synonym with an easy mouse-over action that takes little time and distraction from the primary goal of reading. The end result allows you to frictionlessly enhance your vocabulary using your mind’s innate ability to learn new words from context.
What is a Diglot Weave and how can it help me learn a new language?
Reading is the best way to build your vocabulary in a new language. However, reading texts in a foreign language is extremely difficult when you have a limited vocabulary. This results in a Catch 22 — you need a big enough vocabulary to effectively learn new vocabulary words! To get around this problem, people typically resort to a number of sub-optimal and frustrating approaches to reading a foreign language:
1. Read simplified Dick and Jane books that use an extremely limited vocabulary. This gets old quick if you’re over the age of 6!
2. Read more interesting texts, but look up the majority of words in a dictionary. Ugh.
3. Read a “diglot reader” book that shows your native language on one side of the page and your target language on the other side of the page. Better, but all the switching back and forth is still pretty frustrating.
Fortunately, there’s another option: use a “diglot weave reader” that blends words from both languages into a single text. Por ejemplo, this sentence combina palabras English and Spanish palabras. In this example, it is easy for the reader to recognize that “por ejemplo” means “for example.”
The phrase diglot weave comes from the roots: di- (two), glot (languages), and weave (to blend two languages together). This approach, also called the bilingual reader method, substitution method, or sandwich stories, has been studied by linguists for over 70 years. A handful of theoretical and empirical studies have demonstrated the value of the approach which, in the words of its earliest proponent, leverages “the most natural and most indispensable ally in our struggle with the foreign language: our own native tongue”.
Some key research findings from studies of diglot weave readers show that:
1) Readers of diglot weave texts learn many new words compared to other techniques. Using a diglot weave book led to 35% more vocabulary words learned compared to reading a challenging text solely in the target language, 75% more words compared to semantic mapping techniques, and were equally effective as computer-based drill and practice programs.
2) Readers enjoy reading texts using a diglot weave. They were less frustrated and had reduced anxiety, as well as increased optimism when compared to reading a text solely in the target language. They also liked it better than semantic mappings and a computer-based drill and practice program.
You may be asking yourself: If this approach is so powerful, why haven’t I heard of it before? The main reason is that, until recently, diglot weave texts were only available in print format — or in a static digital format. This has the major limitation that a given book cannot be customized to a specific learner’s reading level. If, for example, you read the Learn Spanish: Substitution Method Joke Book, it doesn’t take into account what words you may already know in Spanish. Another major problem is that you are limited to reading a small number of texts that someone already created in a diglot weave format — you can forget about reading today’s news or your social media feed.
Fortunately, we live in an era where any text (e.g., website, news article, social media feed) can be automatically turned into a dynamic diglot weave text on-the-fly and tuned to your personalized vocabulary knowledge. The LoomVue browser extension relies on cutting-edge neural machine translation and alignment algorithms to dynamically transform the websites you visit every day into fully-fledged diglot weaves -- allowing you to learn without even trying!