Saturday, July 08, 2006

Trip to Reno, Nevada gave new ideas: textual context for words

I took a couple of days off from Internet Polyglot to drive to Reno, Nevada. The city is nice but albeit it tries to be a second Las Vegas it is far from it. If in Vegas you can go to shows or simply enjoy strolling on the streets, in Reno you have nothing but casinos and boring slots.

Interesting observation - I don't know anybody who would ever win in casino. Still people go there and lose their money. Is it just for fun or there are still some of them who believe in winning?

Anyway, after losing a couple of dozens bucks playing video-poker it brought me back to thinking of how to further improve Internet Polyglot.

The idea is to provide for each word in the Internet Polyglot database a phrase that would show the usage of this word in live context. Of course it would be very hard to do that for each word in each language so I am thinking about the following approach:

1) There will be a way to enter a piece of text by any registered user.
2) This text preferably should be fun to read, for example it can be a joke or a funny story. It even can be copy-and-pasted from public sites that contain well-known jokes and funny stories.
3) This way there will be a library of texts in different languages.
4) On the lesson detail page (the one that contains words and their translations) there will be an icon against each word and translation - when a user moves the mouse over it a popup window appears with a short snippet of some text that contains this word. On the same popup window there is a link that lets the user read the entire text.

Such a feature, I expect, should kill two birds with one stone: first, there will be language context provided for the words and translations; second, there will be more fun learning since the context will contain mostly jokes and funny stories.

And now the joke of the day:

A 90-year-old man said to his doctor, "I've never felt better. I have an 18-year old bride who is pregnant with my child. What do you think about that?"

The doctor considered his question for a minute and then said, "I have an elderly friend who is a hunter and never misses a season. One day when he was going out in a bit of a hurry, he accidentally picked up his umbrella instead of his gun. When he got to the Creek, he saw a rabbit sitting beside the stream. He raised his umbrella and went, 'bang, bang' and the rabbit fell dead. What do you think of that?"

The 90-year-old said, "I'd say somebody else killed that rabbit."

The doctor replied, "My point exactly."

1 comment:

Kate Z. said...

I like it! Can't wait to see it implemented :)