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Highlights of new features of JTLanguage.
Version 1.0 was based on a complete rewrite of a previous version of JTLanguage from the ground up. Some key changes or goals for this rewrite were:
- Provide a more stream-lined and robust user interface.
- Make most pages mobile browser-friendly.
- Provide companion mobile apps.
- Internally, provide a more scalable and robust data model and controller, using portable model and controller libraries common to both the web and phone applications.
Version 1.1 builds on version 1.0 by adding some cool new features, as well as implementing some features I had in the earlier version, but hadn't reimplemented yet. See a summary of some of the key new features below.
Note that while all the features for creating and using basic lessons are provided and ready to use, not all features of this website have been implemented or completed yet, and more options for lesson study are in the works. But I think you'll find that what is provided is very extensive and robust, and that JTLanguage is a great platform for language study.
Your feedback is welcome. Know of a feature that be useful in your language study? Let me know about it and I can see if I can fit it in. Want to create some lessons? Jump right in!
Feature Update 1.1.8 - 16 January 2020
This release is for bug fixing and further staging of the new table-based inflection/conjugation mechanism currently under development. See the details of this and other recent feature changes and bug fixes below and also in the notes for the previous release.
- The Automated conjugation/inflection layout was revised for improvements.
- Spanish now has a "Compact" layout table, in addition to the "Full" layout.
- The Text Study Tool now makes use of the de-inflector in providing word definitions.
- Added several features to the inflection table mechanism for coming language support.
- Revised the Sentence/Word mismatch messages to give sentence or word counts for the language items.
- Fixed a number of problems that appeared in the text study tool with respect to Spanish word parsing. There are still some problems with respect to some irregular verbs to be addressed in future releases.
- Fixed some problems with audio references in study lists.
- Fixed several other minor problems I didn't record.
- Implement the word conjugation mechanisms for languages not yet supported. Improve the generic table-driven mechanism to work for (most) all languages. (Japanese is in the works.)
- Need more video documentation for teachers and students.
- Implement the remaining features I had in the old site, or had at least planned to have. These include a translator, a searchable grammar reference, teacher and user blogs, forums for questions and discussions, a chat mechanism for textual and audio chatting with other JTLanguage users for exchanging language practice, and a place to list references for other web sites and tools. The next will probably be the blog and forum mechanisms.
- Enhance the media player to support multiple subtitle languages and and a mechanism like the text study tool to click on words for definitions.
- Create a sentence diagramming mechanism. Incorporate it into the study list and dictionary example pages.
- Add a trigger and branch mechanism for audio/video media.
- Add speech-recognition to "Choose" mechanism choice selection in the Automated scripting.
- Revise audio recording and speech-to-text in Flash tool to be automated (no need to click "Record" and "Stop" buttons, though the buttons will still be there), and hopefully improve the turn-around time for speech-to-text process (which sends the audio to the server, which then sends it to a Google translate service).
- Create language-practice bots, using both text and/or speech recognition. In other words, practice the language with a robot mechanism that understands a limited number and form of questions or responses.
- Show status indicator for courses, groups, lessons, and content, showing if the item has been seen yet, how many times visited, or if it is marked complete. Track for individual users. Also provide setting and clearing mechanism for this.
- Add a history mechanism, so you can see what you've done, and easily jump back to previous places.
- Add a logging and general undo mechanism.
Known bugs not fixed yet:
- The JTLanguage Survival Phrases, Vocabulary, and Grammar courses have some missing media files, and the automated translations need fixing, to put it mildly.
- On all versions, sometimes the audio for a study item cuts off early.
- In the mobile versions, there's no way to select audio in the Record and Map Media pages in the audio visualization.
Past Feature Updates
Feature Update 1.1.7 - 18 December 2019
This release features an initial version of a table-based inflection/conjugation mechanism currently under development, plus additions to the study tools mechanisms. See the details of this and other new features and bug fixes below.
Internally, I've developed a table-driven conjugation/inflection mechanism (conjugation applying to verbs and inflection to other parts of speech). My goal is for this to be the basis for a universal conjugation/inflection tool.
I have support for this new table-based mechanism for English and Spanish verbs only, Japanese still uses the code-based conjugator I developed in a previous release, and supports verb conjugation, and adjective and noun inflections. The Japanese currently lacks some host translation matching for conjugations not supported in the host languages. I will try to address this in the next release.
Also internally, to go along with the conjugation/inflection mechanism, I've also developed a table-driven layout mechanism to be used in a new "Inflect" page under the "Resources" menu.
So far, only Spanish has a layout table for the "Full" layout.
Though not implemented yet, a future feature will be to also support uploading and downloading the inflection and layout tables such that a teacher could upload inflection and layout support for languages not yet supported, or fix problems in existing tables.
Internally, here is also a de-inflection mechanism that will automatically be supported when the inflection tables for a language are present.
The Text Tool and Dictionary Search pages make use of it, such that when a conjugated word is parsed, it will show the conjugation information and translation.
Under the "Resources" main menu item, there is a new "Inflect" item and corresponding page for displaying inflections or conjugation of a dictionary item.
A "Search" fieldset provides for looking up a dictionary item, which defaults to the last selected item, of the last item looked up in the Dictionary Search page.
A "Found" fieldset the selected dictionary item in its target languages form, with the selected host sense and synonym meaning to be used. A drop-down field lets you select a different sense/synonym host meaning.
An optional "Conjugation/Inflection Classifier Filter and Layout Selection" fieldset allows you to enable or disable certain classifications of the conjugations.
A button next to the fieldset label allows you to hide the fieldset contents.
If any layout tables have been uploaded, a "Layout type" drop-down field will be displayed at the bottom of the fieldset, which you can use to select among any available layouts.
By default, an "Automated" layout is provided for by using some row and column hints given in the associated inflection table for the language.
The "Full" layout lists all the conjugations with host translations and audio play buttons. At present, only Spanish has this layout table.
A "Compact" layout option is planned for the next release, which will display just the target conjugations in a more compact form.
Also displayed at the bottom of the fieldset are toggle buttons for hiding or showing the audio play buttons, and hiding or showing the target or host language conjugations.
The "Conjugations/Inflections" label marks the beginning of the resulting inflections/conjugations display. Conjugations are typically grouped in some way that makes sense for the language, though some groups may only have one item.
Note that the number of resulting conjugations can be huge, as some conjugation recurse with multiplicative permutations, and there can be contracted forms. Japanese is an example of this, with thousands of permutations. Thus the classification selection mechanism can be useful to show only those you are primarily interested in.
It also runs pretty slow, especially the first time it is used, when the tables are loaded on the fly, and when the number of conjugations is big, such as for Japanese. I have some ideas for performance improvement.
I will add support for other languages, layouts, and part-of-speech types in later releases, as well as work on the performance. I'll also create a video demonstrating this new feature.
In the "Dictionary Search" page, if an item is inflectable/conjugatable, it will have a new "Conjugate/Inflect" action button. This will take you to the above "Inflect" page using the associated sense and synonym of the dictionary entry.
Study tools now have a new drop-down menu field called "View" for selecting alternate pages when in the study tool.
The available options for this field are: "Study", "Select", and "List"
The "Study" option is for displaying the normal study tool page.
The "Select" option displays a list of the current study items, including their status and location, and checkboxes for selecting items. The study tools will then limit themselves to the checked items. The "List" view, described later, will also only display the selected items.
This can be useful if the study list is big and you want to temporarily focus on a subset. (Otherwise, preferably, study lists should be broken up into smaller groups or a hierarchy.)
The usual buttons for selecting all, none, or ranges are provided.
Filtering options can filter the displayed items based on status, and sorting options allow you to sort the list progressively. (Click the column title to sort, click again to reverse the order.) Note that this filtering only applies to the study item list display, and doesn't affect the study tools. The sorting options can, however, affect the order of the items in the study tools, though the current selection algorithm used may override it.
For the new inflections options in the "Source" field described below, if these are selected the "Select" page will also display a "Conjugations/Inflection Classifier Selection" fieldset for selecting the desired conjugations to be used in the study tools and the list view.
Be sure to click "Save" to save the changes on the "Select" view page.
The "List" view option also displays the current study items, including their status and location, and also with the filtering and sorting options, as well as selections from the "Select" page.
It also provides buttons for changing the status of individual or selected items.
The "Source" drop-down menu field in the study tool pages now has two new options: "Study List Inflections" and "Vocabulary List Inflections" These are in addition to the existing "Study List" and "Vocabulary List" options.
The "* Inflections" options cause the study tools to use as source the conjugations of all conjugatable/inflectable items in the study list that are in dictionary form.
Note that this can result in a huge number of resulting study items.
If you first use the "Select" view (select the "Select" view first and then the "Inflections" source), you can limit the study items to be conjugated, and you can also select which conjugations you want to be use via the "Conjugations/Inflection Classifier Selection" field set which is displayed in the select page when one of the the inflections source options is used.
Note that the local dictionary must have definitions corresponding to the source study list items. You can use the "Download dictionary" link on the Dictionary page to download a local dictionary, or you can use the "Dpownload vocabulary dictionary entries and audio" option of the "Download course/group/lesson media" page to get just the used dictionary entries.
This feature requires that you have a study list the with verbs or other inflectable items for which you wish to study the conjugated or inflected forms. Create a new study list with the dictionary form of the items in a plan or private lesson if you don't have the items you want in a study list already. (Note to self: If a study list has items that are already conjugated, I could probably figure out the dictionary form.)
At present, only English, Spanish, and Japanese have conjugation support, and English and Spanish has support only for verbs so far.
This basically implement the wish list item I had for a conjugation study tool.
- Sorry, in the phone app versions, course downloading was broken for several days right before this release due to a poorly tested silent update I made. It should work with this release now.
- Changed Text Study Tool to not end lines in middle of words in character-based languages. Also applies to "Show Words" option in study list pages.
- Fixed the Dictionary Search pages to work correctly when the "Remote" lookup checkbox is checked. Internal caching of local "not found" entries was making it look like no remote entry was found.
- Subtitle font size didn’t seem to be used.
- Upload media from Map Text page crashed.
Feature Update 1.1.6 - 6 September 2019
- Revised the difference display in the flash and test tools to allow for more lenient matching based on the language. In particular, Japanese Romaji comparisons can take the long vowel notations or expanded vowels, and the particles with the funky conversion can match the literal or usual conversions, i.e. "wo" or "o". Chinese pinyin can be numeric or tone-marked (this was already supported), but it's still kind of dumb with respect to spaces between syllables.
- Fixed the "Tool Study List" page to work properly when the "Vocabulary List" source is used, and the study list is a study list hierarchy.
Feature Update 1.1.5 - 8 August 2019
Primarily a maintenance release:
- Finally fixed the iPad display, where the app only used a phone-size rectangle in the middle of the screen.
- Revised the layout sizes to better accomodate different screen sizes.
- Fixed some problems and did some polishing on the "Install Course", "Update Course", and "Download Media" mechanisms in the phone app version.
- Fixed various problems with the "Dictionary Download", "Dictionary Media Download", "Delete Dictionary", and "Delete Dictionary Media" mechanisms.
- Modified the "Descramble" configuration of the study tools to show the difference view.
Feature Update 1.1.4 - 3 August 2019
It includes the following changes:
- Added "Parse Best" and "Parse All" options to the dictionary search page. These options will break up a sentence into individual words and display their definitions. "Parse Best" attempts to find the best word boundaries and only display those words. "Parse All" will use all possible word boundaries and display those definitions.
- For Japanese only at present, added support for looking up conjugated verbs and adjectives and displaying what kind of conjugation it is, as well as an attempt at the conjugated meaning.
- Added sentence and word boundary edit options in text study list editor. Use this to fix sentence and word boundary problems.
- Added "Show/Hide word borders" option to Text Study tool. Use this to make word boundaries more obvious for languages that don't use spaces between words.
- A lot of fixes to Japanese word boundary detection, Romanizer, and dictionary support.
- Some fixes for the Chinese Romanizer.
- Fixed mobile installer to include course, group, and lesson icon images, even if the "Include media" option is off.
- Fixed to allow relative "../" path components in the course, group, and lesson icon image files so that these files can be shared.
Feature Update 1.1.3 - 30 March 2019
This is a maintenance release. It includes the following changes:
- Fixed the Romanizer to preserve zero-width spaces so word run parsing will work.
- Flip tool fixed to honor study mode.
- Flip tool fixed to use word layout when the tool source is a vocabulary list.
Feature Update 1.1.2 - 22 March 2019
This release is primarily staging for a language tool mechanism that will support things like verb conjugation and other kinds of inflections. At present this is only implemented internally for Japanese. It is also staging for improvments to the text study tool, and other coming features. Some database format changes were needed, but old versions of the mobile apps should still work with the updated server.
This release includes the following changes:
- Added an internal verb conjugation and adjective inflection mechanism for Japanese.
- Revised the Romanization and transliteration converters to fix a number of problems with the Japanese Kana and Romaji conversions, making use of the inflection mechanism.
- Improved the word detection in Japanese. This will help the text study tool.
- Revised the dictonary mechanism to look up words in sentences. However, it's very slow and still a bit broken, and only works for Japanese. I presently only have dictionaries for Japanese and Chinese.
- Improved the vocabulary download option when installing courses on the mobile apps. This is still really slow, so you probably want to uncheck this option in general when installing courses on mobile devices, unless you really need to use the text study tool offline.
- Fix numerous minor bugs.
Feature Update 1.1.1 - 14 Dec 2018
This release includes the following changes:
- Added "Level" attribute for courses. The Courses page can now filter courses based on a selected level.
- Replaced storage mechanism for course references, which is staging for future changes. Hopefully you won't notice.
- Added new annotation type called "Text", which enables you to display styled text in a study list which is not treated as a study item. If the study item to which the annotation is attached is empty, the study item will not appear as a blank line. The "Value" field is for an optional semi-colon-separated CSS attribute list.
- Added new annotation type called "Ordinal", which lets you prefix study items with raw text, usually a number, which unlike the "Prefix" will not enclose it in parentheses.
- Added a new Format implementing a web crawler, called "Crawler". This is a mechanism for importing courses, groups, lessons, or study lists from a website directly. One of the parameters that will appear when this format is selected for an import is "Web Format Type", for selecting a particular web page format. For this release, the only type provided for general use is called "Generic Text", for pulling text from a web page generically. However, you can specift an XPATH pattern for a specific element you want to import text from, to avoid surrounding cruft you don't want in the study list. (See https://www.w3schools.com/xml/xpath_syntax.asp for information about XPATH's.) Another parameter is for specifying the web address.
- Fixed problem with study item cut mechanism cutting the wrong items.
- Add and Insert Lesson was not adding or inserting the new lesson in the right place in many cases. Yikes!
- Appending items in editing study lists was not scrolling to edit controls.
- Fixed mobile version bug where study list got matched to the wrong study list during course installation.
Feature Update 1.1.0 - 31 Oct 2018
This release includes the following changes:
- Added "Done" button to study tool pages.
- Added Insert Lesson/Group and Insert Multiple Lesson commands.
- Show lesson count in course and group info and front pages.
- Added Filter out duplicates option to Patterned formats.
- Added Captcha to Contact page. I was getting lots of spam. Sorry for the inconvenience, but this will make it less likely that I miss a real message from you.
- Fixed Text study tool to be case insensitive.
- The Hide New option on the Vocabulary List page was broken.
- Vocabulary Phrases were not seen in the Flash tool.
- Multiple definitions in text study word only had the first definition in tool study list item.
- Fixed a crash in text study tool if a language item string was empty.
- Fixed phrase selection to unmark starting word if recently defaulted to grade 1.
- Fixed node navigation to preserve action.
- In Extract format and text study, it now uses a case insensitive match.
- Fixed the no anchors case in the patterned import.
- Fixed some problems in the phone apps related to when there was no network.
Pre-1.1.0 Feature Updates
The following is a summary of key features added since the 1.0 release and before 1.1:
- Added a full-featured dictionary supporting audio and pictures and rich search and editing capabilities. Note, however, that except for a couple of languages where I found public domain dictionary databases, there might not be dictionary content yet.
- New study tools. In addition to the Flash study tool, there are now Flip, Hands Free, Match, Test, and Text study tools. See the introductory help pages or videos for information on these. In particular, the Text study tool is a powerful way to study text by clicking on words or phrase you don't know, and then seeing an editable definition.
- Vocabulary database and vocabulary list pages. You have your own vocabulary list that is the basis of the Text study tool. New pages have been created for viewing and editing the vocabulary lists pertaining to individual study lists (via the Vocabulary List button link on study list pages), or your global vocabulary list (via the Home->Manage Vocabulary menu item).
- Tool study list page. There is now a page for viewing or editing the grading or status of your study items as a list (via the Tool Study List button link on study list pages).
- Automated lesson study. The markup template mechanism is now also the basis for an automated and interactive scripted study mechanism. This can be provided in lesson either explicity via media content items, or implicitly via Lesson Study links added automatically to the lesson in the tree control, if there is no such media item. A default script can be set by the user in the Home->Settings page.
- Scripted audio generation. The markup template mechanism is now also the basis for generating audio files for media items. Manage this via the "Generate media" button links.
- Added support for YouTube and other external video content in media items. Optionally import YouTube video transcripts to a study list via an "Import transcript" button link on the mapping page.
- Added new commands to the study edit page for joining phrases, extracting individual audio files from media references, propagating media, etc.
- Added "Add study list to dictionary" command.
- Added several help pages and introductory videos under the Browse Help page.
- Many other improvements and bug fixes.
There are companion apps available for Android and iPhone! These support many of the features offline.
Get them here (or by searching for "JTLanguage" on the Play Store or App Store):
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