If you can handle – or actually prefer the increased stimulus of – a monolingual dictionary resource, this one looks nice – with its parallel display of dictionary entries, etymology, common collocates, and empirical use in KWIK format – and well-founded: Based on the Wörterbuch der deutschen Gegenwartssprache (WDG) and providing access to many corpora that document empirical use (including frequency and longitudinal information) of the language – modern German, including spoken language and many newspapers, altogether comprising about 1.75 bn words.
Advanced language learners can test their English, German or Spanish proficiency in 3.5 minutes here using Exhale
Go here and click English or German, or (also requiring only 3.5 minutes to take, but more for manually grading your test with this answer key) go here for Spanish, if you want to to take a simple quick vocabulary test that has been shown to correlate well with general proficiency. You can find more info here on English and German, and here on Spanish.
Installing is easy (our example is Wikipedia): Right-click a word, pick “define” from the context menu, the click download in the side pane for the app you choose.
However,how o I change the default lookup that happens on double click on a word?
Improving language learning with technology for me seems to have 2 avenues: AI and human intelligence. Automated feedback on writing provided by proofing tools – even if they have become smarter and more contextual to spot (in MS-Word 2007 and up) common errors like your/you’re or their/there – makes one wonder about the feasibility of the former. But that automated essay-scoring tools which have been developed and deployed (at least for ESL) claim to score similarly as teachers makes one wonder about much more… Correcting writing remains expensive!
So may be we should look into crowd-sourced writing correction which needs no cutting edge NLP, only well-understood WWW-infrastructural technology to connect interested parties, but requires social engineering to attract and keep good contributors (and a viable business model to stay afloat: This site seems freemium).
Reading online comments and postings in your native language makes one wonder: can language teachers be replaced by crowdsourcing? I became aware of this the language learning website that offers peer correction of writing input by native-speaker through a language learner corpus. I have not thoroughly evaluated the site, but the fact that its data is being used by SLA researchers here (http://cl.naist.jp/nldata/lang-8/) seems a strong indicator that the work done on the website is of value.
- have not pre-installed in the LRC (for that the extension would need to be more manageable by the teacher during face-to-face classes, which include exams),
- but can (with some reservations) recommend the Google Dictionary extension (even though it is only available for Chrome). Here is why:
- Google dictionary extension provides an interface to Google define and translate
- that is convenient (as quickly accessed like glosses) for reading activities in many languages (Q: is the privileged word sense displayed here intelligently chosen?)
- while (for some languages more than for others) providing access to additional word senses, usage examples and historical background information
- Interface 1: Tooltip,
- for English with audio
- for other languages without audio (even though audio pronunciation may be available in Google translate for that language):
- convenient access (I have been loving the tooltip interface since Google toolbar days)
- limited, but useful information,
- Interface 2 (“more”)
- For English, a click on “more” leads to the Google “define”search operator (the related etymology search operator has been reviewed here before):
- Interface 3: unfold the search results by clicking on the down arrow at the bottom to access additional information: =
- additional word sense entries
- frequency data
- translation/dictionary entry:
- for our learners of languages other than English, the translation appears right in the tool tip, see above;
- for our ESL learners, this seems a few too many steps for accessing this information, although a monolingual dictionary is useful in many instances also.
- For languages other than English, a click on more leads to Google translate, which (should get its own article, but for what it is worth) can be
- more limiting than “define”: While you are given multiple word senses for
- for many languages the results are much more limiting:
- Still no per-user tracking? Here it would make sense for the user.