When I am working on a book or story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write… You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and you know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that. When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.
Wait, wait! Don’t go away. Not yet.
Now, replace writing with language learning.
If you are a so-so tennis player and you challenge the local champion and he takes you seriously, you will be vanquished. Perhaps you have high expectations, but your defeat makes you feel terrible, and you think you should give up the game.
New Year’s Resolutions work like that. They can easily frustrate you like that champion tennis player who made you feel defeated and terrible, and caused you to think you never want to have another goal for yourself.
In setting goals, you can be happy if the goal is doable — something, that is within your power to accomplish in a relatively short period of time. It is like playing tennis with someone close to your skill.
Read the whole essay by Dr. Ted Sielaff published at tpr-world: Making Yourself Happy – The value of setting short-term goals
IGOR: Today I’ve found another free LWT/LingQ-like application, it’s called Foreign Language Text Reader or FLTR.
I highly recommend it.
Foreign Language Text Reader (FLTR)
A Handy App For Language Learning
Abstract and Introduction
FLTR helps you to do both extensive and intensive reading as part of your foreign language acquisition in an easy and pleasant way.
While reading, you look up unknown words in web dictionaries (you must be online to do so) and save vocabulary terms (words and multi-word expressions) with translations, romanization (like Pinyin, Hiragana, etc., optional) and example sentence (optional). Each term has also a learning status (1/”Unknown” to 5/”Known”, plus Statuses “Ignored” and “Well Known”) with an associated color.
The saved words will automatically show up with all their data and status in all texts in the same language. They can be easily imported into flashcard software like Anki or Mnemosyne via the export function.
FLTR is in many areas similar to the Public Domain software “Learning With Texts” (LWT). But FLTR is much easier to install and to run – no personal web server and no database is needed. “LingQ.com” offers a (web) service with a huge text library and tutoring services, and is similar to FLTR, but much slower because it is a web service. You must be online to use LingQ, and it costs money (basic account: $10 per month). CompareSoftware …
FLTR is programmed in Java 6. To run FLTR, you need an installed Java 6 or Java 7 Runtime Engine (JRE) from http://java.com . The program runs on Mac OS X, Windows XP, Windows 7, and Unix/Linux. There is no need to be online while using FLTR, however you must be online if you use online dictionaries.
FLTR reads and writes its data (language definitions, texts, terms, export, general settings) in UTF-8 text or TAB-delimited CSV files, which makes it easy to add, change, or extract data with simple to use programs like a text editor or a spreadsheet program.
From the Wikipedia article “Extensive reading”:
Extensive reading (or Free voluntary reading) is an aid to language learning, including foreign language learning, by means of a large amount of reading. The learner’s view and review of unknown words in specific context will allow the learner to infer and thus learn those words’ meanings. … Extensive reading is contrasted with intensive reading, which is slow, careful reading of a small amount of difficult text – it is when one is “focused on the language rather than the text”. Extensive and intensive reading are two approaches to language learning and instruction, and may be used concurrently; intensive reading is however the more common approach, and often the only one used.
Stephen Krashen has published more than 350 papers and books, contributing to the fields of second language acquisition, bilingual education, and reading.
He promotes the use of free voluntary reading during second language acquisition, which he says is the most powerful tool we have in language education, first and second. Watch this video.
0.8.6 (28-Aug-2012 06:50 UTC)
FLTR is a program still under development. It is possible that we change some functionality of the program without prior notice. The documentation is still not complete.
The source code is not available at the present time. It will be published later.
Read about Download and Installation.
Now you must do the Initial Configuration.
Language Settings will be saved in “XXX_Settings.csv”. These settings must be adjusted/changed for exotic languages and to specify dictionary URLs, font, font size, etc. See: LanguageSettings
Now the fun begins: ReadingTexts !!!
The Vocabulary will be saved in “XXX_Words.csv”. The optional Vocabulary Export will be saved in “XXX_Export.txt”. Details see: VocabularyFile
You can work with your saved vocabulary: Just select <Vocabulary> in the text combo box, then filter, sort, and limit the terms, and decide whether to review as a text, or to review in your browser, or to export the data. See: ReviewEditVocabulary
General FLTR Settings are saved in a file named “.fltrprefs” in the user’s home directory. See: GeneralSettings
Screenshot Start Window (OS X Lion)
Screenshot Start Window (OS X Snow Leopard)
Screenshot Start Window (Windows XP, font size 100 %)
Screenshot Start Window (Windows XP, font size 120 %)
Screenshot Start Window (Windows 7)
Screenshot Start Window (Ubuntu Linux)
Screenshot Start Window (Xubuntu Linux (Xfce Desktop), Nimbus Look & Feel)
Screenshot Directory Structure
Screenshot Text & Term Windows (New Term, OS X Lion)
Screenshot Text & Term Windows (Edit Term, OS X Lion)
Screenshot About Window (OS X Lion)
Screenshot (Windows 7)
Screenshot (Windows XP)
Screenshot (Ubuntu Linux, System Look & Feel)
Screenshot (Xubuntu Linux (Xfce Desktop), Nimbus Look & Feel)
We are two language enthusiasts with enough programming skills to create something better than LingQ.
LingQ is a great system, but unfortunately it’s slow and buggy. Many deficiencies that we and other users posted in the LingQ forum were never fixed and probably never will. LingQ’s development strategy is somewhat strange. LingQ seems to put a lot of work into avatars and colorful gadgets, but not into bug fixing and system improvement. With so many bugs, LingQ is too expensive. What’s more, you have no full control of all the data you type in. Import and export of terms does also not work in all cases!
LWT is much, much better. But the installation of a personal web server is not an easy task for the average PC user. LWT is often not as fast as it could be. As we loved LWT, and as it’s in the Public Domain, why not creating something better?
So we took the best from LWT and programmed a really simple desktop app named FLTR around it. We chose Java to make sure that everybody can use it: Windows, Mac and Linux users. It took us only 6 weeks to create the first release of FLTR.
Many language teaching or self study services cost money. We think that language education should be not a question of available money: FLTR is freeware!