language

  • Blue Canoe takes on language learning with a focus on pronunciation

    Blue Canoe takes on language learning with a focus on pronunciation

    If you want to pick up a new language, there’s no shortage of options. But one aspect of the process that has been neglected is pronunciation, which is especially important for professionals. Online, learning pronunciation is generally “hear a recording, then repeat it.” Blue Canoe uses an established curriculum and machine learning to make things easier and more effective. Read More

  • English teaching service VIPKID raises $200M and reportedly hits a $1.5B valuation

    English teaching service VIPKID raises $200M and reportedly hits a $1.5B valuation

    VIPKID, an online English teaching tool, announced today that it has raised $200 million in financing. That financing round values the company at $1.5 billion, according to a report by Bloomberg. That wouldn’t just give VIPKID unicorn status — it also exposes a huge amount of demand there is in China and other countries as a tool to learn English from English speakers. VIPKID… Read More

  • Facebook’s fastText library is now optimized for mobile

    Facebook’s fastText library is now optimized for mobile

    This morning Facebook’s AI Research (FAIR) lab released an update to fastText, its super-speedy open-source text classification library. When it was initially released, fastText shipped with pre-trained word vectors for 90 languages, but today it’s getting a boost to 294 languages. The release also brings enhancements to reduce model size and ultimately memory demand. Read More

  • LingoZING is trying to teach new languages through comics pages

    LingoZING is trying to teach new languages through comics pages

    I’m willing to try pretty much anything at this point, when it comes to learning another language. I took years worth of language classes, downloaded all the latest apps and even bought a Muzzy tape or two off of eBay – all to no avail. That last one in particular didn’t go great. LingoZING is, at its fairly silly name implies, an attempt to find some common ground… Read More

  • Microsoft strives to give computers common sense with Concept Graph

    Microsoft strives to give computers common sense with Concept Graph

    Today, Microsoft Research is publicly releasing its effort to tackle just one of the problems plaguing natural language understanding — knowledge. The company believes that background knowledge is one of the key separators between the way humans and machines understand language. Probase, a knowledge database Microsoft has been working on for quite some time, is serving as the base for… Read More

  • WTF
    FOMO, TMI and ICYMI added to Merriam-Webster dictionary

    FOMO, TMI and ICYMI added to Merriam-Webster dictionary

    It’s a big day for Linguistics Departments across the English-speaking world, as Merriam-Webster has just added more than 1,400 new words and phrases to the dictionary. Some newly defined words include ‘waggle dance,’ ‘wacky tobacky’ and ‘hella,’ which may lead you to believe that the latest additions are rather silly. However, words are our most… Read More

  • WaitChatter Helps You Learn A New Language While You Wait For IM Replies

    WaitChatter Helps You Learn A New Language While You Wait For IM Replies

    Despite the pace of online communications, we still spend a lot of time waiting: staring at an IM window is a common occurrence for anyone who spends a better part of their day at a computer. WaitChatter wants to make use of that standby time to promote a vital skill, letting users brush up on their vocabulary for a second language while they wait for their colleague or friend to respond to… Read More

  • Linqapp, Which Lets You Get Real-Time Language Answers From Real People, Launches On iOS

    Linqapp, Which Lets You Get Real-Time Language Answers From Real People, Launches On iOS

    The last time I enrolled in a Mandarin language program was back in 2007, light years away in terms of technology. I considered myself lucky because I had a Besta CD-618 electronic dictionary and a weekly language partner to answer questions about slang and other words that weren’t in my (very dry) textbooks. If Linqapp had existed back then, however, I would have passed out with joy. Read More

  • Listen Carefully

    Listen Carefully

    There are lessons to be drawn from how people are talking about the technology services they are interacting with. Not just in general terms — whether they like or dislike a service and so on; but what more subtle linguistic signifiers might be expressing on their behalf. What reactions might be evident in language choice before those feelings are being consciously articulated as… Read More