Language learning website using bilingual stories?
May 25, 2012 1:20 AM   Subscribe

I came across a very neat online language learning tool a few weeks ago, but I didn't bookmark it and now I can't find it again. Basically it worked like this: you choose a preset text or story (I think they were mostly fables and fairy tales), your native language, and the foreign language you're trying to practice. Then it shows the text of the story with a few of your native words replaced with their foreign equivalents, letting you learn them in context.

For example, if you chose ‘English’, ‘French’, and ‘Sleeping Beauty’, you might get a story starting something like:

‘Once upon a time there was a reine who had a belle baby fille. She asked all the fées in the royaume to the christening, but malheureusement forgot to invite one of them, who was a bit of a sorcière as well...’

... and so on. It had different skill levels to control the number of substituted words. I think the language selection was restricted to a few of the most popular second languages for English speakers (French, German, Spanish etc.). I've been going nuts trying to find the site again. Does anyone know its address?
posted by pont to Writing & Language (4 answers total) 99 users marked this as a favorite
This sounds like the "language immersion" add-on for the chrome browser. It does this for any web page.
posted by lollusc at 2:23 AM on May 25, 2012 [9 favorites]

Duolingo (sorry can't link from my phone) does something like this. It's by invitation only right now but opening to the public very soon.
posted by katie at 4:02 AM on May 25, 2012

I think you might be talking about this suggestion posted to a question I asked here.
posted by spbmp at 5:45 AM on May 25, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses so far! None of them are the actual site I'm looking for, but all are interesting.

lollusc: I've installed the Chrome language immersion add-on, and it's great fun. As the authors readily admit, it's not perfect (setting it up with a language I know results in the occasional obvious mistake) but it looks great for a steady drip-feed of foreign vocabulary into everyday browsing. I have a feeling that the site I'm looking for employed some kind of human oversight to check for mistranslations -- hence its limited selection of languages and texts -- although I might be wrong about that.

katie: Duolingo is somewhat different to what I was thinking about, but it's an exciting idea; I've signed up for the waiting list. In case anyone else is interested: the idea, in a nutshell, is to use web content as practice material for language learners, thus producing crowdsourced translations of web pages as a side-effect of the teaching process. From this blog entry, it appears that they're putting some thought into the learning and feedback process rather than just taking an obvious "right/wrong" approach.

spbmp: the slangman fairytales are quite close in approach to what I was after, but the resource I am looking for was definitely an interactive website rather than printed books and audio material.
posted by pont at 10:00 AM on May 25, 2012

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