FAQ and main help menu.
Q: What do I need to know before getting started?
A: It is best to read the instructions before beginning the lesson. Read the “Before answering your first question“ at the bottom of this FAQ page, if you need to review them again in case you have missed or forgotten something important about the software.
Q: What is the importance of learning the Spanish language?"
A: Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world. There are 330 million people who speak Spanish. It is also spoken in 25 countries as a second language. If you learn to speak Spanish, you will be able to communicate better with these people in the world.
Q: What about the French language?"
A: Speaking French is very useful in many countries besides France, such as in Africa, Québec, and many other. French is the official language in 33 countries across all 5 continents. It is the 3rd most frequently spoken non-English language in US homes and the second most commonly taught foreign language in the United States after Spanish. More than 25% of English words are of French origin. A French lesson is a journey into the world of fashion, gastronomy, the arts, literature and architecture.
Q: What about learning a foreign language?
A: Some facts you may know or don't know:
- In a typical high school or college course, most students forget 90% of what they've learned after a few days.
- Knowing a limited number of foreign words takes you a little way, but you really need to know a lot of words to truly communicate with people in another country.
- Words should be learned in context, such as in a sentence or in a text. A word’s meaning is inferred from context and therefore better retained.
- Testing your vocabulary is a clear indication of progress, makes you aware of your knowledge gaps and stimulates your vocabulary acquisition in a good way.
- Trying to learn words in statements, such as a sentence or phrase, is tedious and won't help you much.
- Learning new words one by one, and testing your new knowledge frequently inside and outside class, is the most effective way to build your vocabulary - and still remember those words weeks later.
A great body of work is available to support this short list of facts. We have learned different techniques in language learning through our own experience. Along with many other teachers and linguists from around the world, we have put together ideas and proven methods in this program to help you in your learning.
Q: Why is it important to provide the context of the word?
A: Many words in English convey two or more different meanings. These words can be used as a verb, a noun, an adjective, an adverb or another part of speech.
Each part of speech explains not what the word is, but how the word is used.
For example the word “mean” can be a noun, a transitive verb, intransitive verb or adjective. This word has a lot of different meanings.
Simply remember the two different uses of “mean” as an adjective like mean as in “average or median” and like mean as in “lacking distinction, dignity or honor”.
You must give the context of this word when you are asked for its translation to obtain the exact translation without possible confusion.
Q: What makes the synonyms of the words an important part of the answer?
A: The other unique feature of this program is that each question, with or without an attached context, might have more than one correct answer.
Many words might have several synonyms. (Synonyms are words that have nearly or the same meaning as another word.
The richness of any foreign language resides in the number of synonyms possibly used in the translation.
The program will pause when a synonym is in use and will display all other answer(s), up to 3 more possible answer(s), in order to provide the correct and complete answer to the question.
Q: Do you have any example?
A: When the English word ”female” is translated in Spanish, it is by: la mujer, and in French, it is by: la femme. But when referring to a female animal, la hembra and la femelle are used
The reverse translation is an interesting example as well since the French word la femme or the Spanish equivalent word la mujer, both have 2 correct translations in English, which are wife and woman.
The program provides you with the context of the word to translate, whenever it is necessary to avoid any confusion and any other mistakes in translation.
Q: How are the lessons organized?
A: The English words are grouped by topics in two levels: “basic” and ”advanced” levels.
Q: How many lessons are available?
A: The English-Spanish vocabulary Language Tutor offers you the opportunity to learn more than 6,000 useful words of carefully selected English vocabulary. You will be working by themes like in a school book, but better and faster! There are more than 54 basic or advanced level lessons organized in 9 categories.
Q: How does the program shuffle the words?
A: The words appear in random. A special algorithm ensures that the same word does not appear again within the next few questions. The program makes it so that the word you have answered correctly is removed from the pool of words for the next 4 drawings. At the end of the lessons, only when the number of word remaining goes below 4, repeated occurrences might happen.
Q: How do I answer a question?
A: The program asks you immediately the first question when you access the lesson screen.
You have to type in the answer box where the cursor has been automatically positioned.
Use your keyboard. If your answer needs special characters, look up the keyboard shortcuts table and use the shortcuts. Simply click on the shortcuts with your mouse and press Enter.
Q: How long do I have to wait for the next question?
A: If your answer is correct, the program will show you other possible correct answer(s) if there are possible answers) after which the program will pause, allowing you to read and memorize the word(s) and the meaning(s) of the word(s).
If your answer is wrong, the program will display all possible correct answer(s) and will wait for you to re-enter one correct answer.
Make sure to take note of all the correct answer(s) and of their correct spelling.
Q: Can I answer the same question with the other possible answers?
A: Yes, you can. Any of all possible correct answer(s) will be accepted. This is important, since typing a word you did not know will help you memorize it better and strengthen your vocabulary.
Any typing error when re-entering an answer will not count against your score.
Notice that some answer(s) include a comment or grammatical information placed into parenthesis. The parenthesis and its content need not to be entered to see your response accepted by the program.
Q: What makes this software tutor efficient as compared to the flashcard program?
A: The first part of learning sequence is the lesson. When answering the lesson, the program is able to assess how well you know a word or how much you have memorized the vocabulary in the lesson:
1) If your first translation is correct:
The program understands that you know and remember this word well. You will be asked again in order to make sure that you really know the word. On your second correct answer, the program has no doubt that you have knowledge of this word, and it will not ask you this question again.
2) If your first translation is wrong:
The program will give you all the possible correct answer(s) and will pause to allow you to read, memorize the word. You will then be given a chance to write the correct answer. Please take note of the correct answer(s) and their correct spelling.
The program will remember your mistake for this word and will ask it again several times more. You will have to correctly translate the word four times in a row. Be very careful, a translation error at this point will lessen your credits earned from other correct answers.
Q: How does repetition help me?
A: Repetition is the second part of the learning sequence. The algorithm of the program ranks each word and uses the calculated data on a scale of 1 to 3 to resubmit the word at defined intervals chosen to be optimized according to the spaced repetition principle.
Stay focused and follow continuously your progress through the star and diamond ranking system.
Q: How many users can work at the same time?
A: Three users can use the program. Each user can access his/her own lesson/s and work independently.
Each user can select up to 4 different lessons. The program is able to keep track of the different lessons separate from each other allowing you to keep track of your progress for each lesson. All data are individually stored for each user.
Q: How do I keep track of my progress?
A: There is a progress bar attached to each lesson. It will show you the number of words you have learned and the lessons you have taken. This information is available anytime. Simply move your mouse over the lessons, a small pop-out window will show you detailed information of your progress.
Q: Why am I being asked the same question again and again?
A: Based on our unique auto-adaptive spaced repetition methodology, you will be repeatedly asked to answer the same words over and over again. This is to ensure that you perfectly memorize the words. The program is able to remember the words you find difficulty and will continually to repeat these words until you have successfully learned the words. The program helps you to become a fast learner.
Q: How do I receive updates of the software?
A: The program will check when you are online and might detect that a new update has been made available. Therefore, from time to time, you will be asked to accept updates for the software or for the database.
Star and Diamond scoring system:
A unique knowledge level index is assigned for each word you will encounter in the program.
During the lesson:
With every correct answer you will earn one star. You need to get four stars to complete a word in the first lesson. This will allow you to access the next level, the repetition level, where you will be earning diamonds to build up your status.
If you reach the 4-diamond status you then achieve complete word knowledge
During the repetitions of a lesson:
The spaced repetition algorithm takes over after you reach your 4-star level. The stars are then converted to diamonds based upon your performance during the lesson.
The program will use the entire history of your encounter with a word and will rank you at 1-diamond status up to 3-diamond status. Your new goal is to reach 4-diamond status
How well you answer will set you up faster toward reaching complete word knowledge.
Some links related to language methods:
Main help menu:
Read these rules first:
Rules about the use of articles, capital or small letters, and the use of punctuation marks.
1) Articles used in English are small words that combine with nouns to indicate the type of reference being made by the noun. The three articles used in English are "the," "a" and "an." These articles are usually characterized as definite (the) or indefinite (a, an).
As a general principle definite articles are mostly used. They are not required in the answers in English, but they must be entered in Spanish or French translations, since both Spanish and French use articles to indicate the gender and number of nouns.
2) The assumption is that you are always asked about a word or a group of words as they would be used in a part of a sentence, and not as in a separate sentence. As a consequence, capital letters are not required when you answer unless the word is a proper noun.
3) Make sure that you use punctuation marks correctly. Spanish uses "¿" before a question and "¡" before an exclamation, with no spaces before or after those marks. Only small letters are used after the marks, as you would do for any word or group of words in a sentence.
This application has been designed to be very easy to use from the start. Pay attention to the context help menus the first time you use it. You will learn, review or rediscover more than 6000 useful words.
You will start by selecting up to four lessons from a list of lessons organized by category. Move your cursor over categories or lessons to discover the inventory of vocabulary available, then drag and drop your selected lessons in the current working lessons panel.
Each lesson you learn will display on the side as a moving indicator of your progress. Advanced statistics on your past work are updated in real time.
Lesson and basic or advanced levels:
The nine proposed categories are referenced to the main themes in the vocabulary, covering many situations in life. Two levels of completeness are available for some of the main lessons to allow you to start a lesson at a basic level (B) or at an advanced level (A). At any time, you will be able to choose the level you prefer by marking a checkbox.
Practice with repetition:
The “practice, repeat and learn” method requires your active participation, which is why you will be asked to read and type in all the words you study. This method helps to solidly imprint new words into your memory, one by one.