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Old 05-06-2012, 10:04 AM   #1
takikura
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eBook reader for language learning

Hi

I am looking for an eBookreader, better than I have now, for learning German.
I have Kindle Keyboard, Sory PRS-650 and Boox 60. I also have an Android tablet with Android 3.2 and iPod.
I have been testing the ebook reading software available on or for these gadgets.

What I like to do are;

1. To read as many German story books within a limited time. Since my knowledge of the German language is elementary and I am 62 years old, I need an excelent built in Germany-English dictionary. I also need to have a log of checked German words for testing how many of them I can still remember after few days. For this purpose I used e-Ink book readers, so that I do not damage my eyes further.

2. To read German magazines and text books in colour with the help of German-English dictionaries.

What I think are good readers for these purposes are as follows;

1. Onyx Reader developed by Eduardo Terol which run on the Onyx Boox 60 (Please google and visit his home page to find out the functionarities of this excellent reader. What is not explained in the home page is its efficiency of finding the basic form of German words which change their form violently in sentences depending on cases, sexes, modes etc. There are wide differences of the dictionariy software's capability for coping with this problem. Good German-English dictionaries look to have information for helping the software to reach the basic form of the words from their changed forms.
The worst software: Original Boox 60 (beBook Neo) dictionary software. It hits German words only when they are used in their basic form in sentences. Totaly useless. I bought this reader because this was one of the first readers claiming that they could handle German dictionaries. At that time german dictionaries were not available for Kindles and Sony Readers.
So So software: Those which can handle the declension of nouns and adjectives and conjugation of verbs but cannot handle verbs with separable prefixes. Built in dictionary software of i2 Reader and eBookMobion my iPod and ColorDict and Fora Dictionary on my Android tablet. Pons German-English dictionary on Kindle Keyboard.
Good one: The ones which can handle verbs with separable prefixes. Dictionay Universal made by Dmitry Zhuk for iPod, Collins German-English dictionary on the Sony PRS-650. The best one is OnyxReader built in dictionay made by Eduardo.

The above are my opinions which may not be very objective as I do not use the ipod and the android tablet so often for reading books. If you find some errors in the above please correct them. I intend to do some tests of how quickly I can reach the basic form of German words and get their meanings in English and put the results in an Exel sheet for comparison in the near future.

2. There are not so many sets of software which can handle PDF files with searchable transparent text attached to them. I found the Mantano reader on my android tablet is a good one for this purpose and can handle these files relaively well . The ebookMobi on my iPod also can handle them. The former uses the ColorDict and the latter has its own dictionary software which can use stardict format which all the other dictionary software mentioned above can handle. I would appreicate it very much if you could let me know which other software for the android tablet and iPod/iPad can handle this type of PDF files.

Time is running out. I now have to write my weekly report. If you are learning languages, please let me know which ebook reader you have found is good for that purpose.

Thanks

takikura
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Old 05-07-2012, 01:52 AM   #2
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Prs-650 German dictionary is good. On my tablet I use Moonreader with GoldenDictionary + databases from Babylon, works like a charm. For lexis acquisition I use Ankidroid for Android.
Plus podcasts listening for comprehensible input (WDR radio). Whenever I start to learn a new language I try to listen more than I read and since I am an avid reader, it had taken me a few years before I understood that reading itself is not that beneficial if you want to use the language actively, but everybody learns differently.
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Old 05-07-2012, 04:07 AM   #3
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Most modern language teaching is "immersive" - ie you are taught almost exclusively in the language that you're learning. It's an approach that's been proven to work much better than the old-fashioned "learn the grammar first" approach. You pick up the grammar by example by listening to and speaking the language, and only then have the formal "rules" explained.
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Old 05-07-2012, 05:11 PM   #4
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Prs-650 German dictionary is good. On my tablet I use Moonreader with GoldenDictionary + databases from Babylon, works like a charm. For lexis acquisition I use Ankidroid for Android.
Plus podcasts listening for comprehensible input (WDR radio). Whenever I start to learn a new language I try to listen more than I read and since I am an avid reader, it had taken me a few years before I understood that reading itself is not that beneficial if you want to use the language actively, but everybody learns differently.
PRS-650 German is not bad. But I prefer Langenscheidt dic to Collins. I downloaded the Moonreader and Ankidroid today. I will try them over the next weekend. Anki means "memorizing" in Japanese which is my mother tongue. Today I found that ezPDF is better than Mantano reader on the tablet. I am having a problem of selecting a word on Mantano but ezPDF is more comfortable in that respect. It also has better PDF rendering capability than Mantano. Colordict looks to have sometimes problems of reaching verbs' infinitive forms from their perfect tense forms. Eduardo's dictionary is much better in this respect.
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Old 05-07-2012, 05:37 PM   #5
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Most modern language teaching is "immersive" - ie you are taught almost exclusively in the language that you're learning. It's an approach that's been proven to work much better than the old-fashioned "learn the grammar first" approach. You pick up the grammar by example by listening to and speaking the language, and only then have the formal "rules" explained.
I agree with your opinion on immersive teaching method. The problem is only a limited type of people can afford it. My friend, teaching English in a Japanese university, used to tell me that we should read more than 10,000 pages of English text to become decently proficient with this language. I have done that and I believe my written English is not so bad. But I speak broken English and have enormous difficulty of understanding films in English without helps of subtitles. I do not dream of attaining a decent speaking capability of the German language. My brain is too old and jammed to process all these word changes real time. But I hope that I can some day achieve skills of reading German books relatively fast with a help of a good reader and writing decent sets of mail and letters in this language.
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:07 PM   #6
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takikura, I am studying Japanese at present and I would be thrilled to be able to write as well in Japanese as you do in English! Your written English is excellent.
Ganbatte! in your German studies.
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:35 AM   #7
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So, as English isn't your native language either I may write you in German as well - just to give you a little practice!

Ich persönlich habe sehr gute Erfahrungen gemacht, wenn ich nicht nur Texte in der Fremdsprache lese, sondern zusätzlich mit einem Vokabeltrainer arbeite, also alle mir unbekannten Wörter übersetze und dort eingebe. Der Vokabeltrainer fragt die Vokabeln nach 1, 3, 10, 30 und 90 Tagen ab. Weiß man das Wort, kommt es eine Phase nach oben, wenn nicht, geht es zurück in die Anfangsphase. Obwohl sich dies nach stur mechanischem Pauken anhört, funktioniert es erstaunlich gut.
Ich nutze dieses Programm: www.phase6.de, es gibt aber bestimmt auch andere.
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:22 PM   #8
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takikura, I am studying Japanese at present and I would be thrilled to be able to write as well in Japanese as you do in English! Your written English is excellent.
Ganbatte! in your German studies.
Arigato. Totemo ureshiidesu. Anatamo Nihongo ganbatte kudasai.
I have difficulty to write Kanji with a pen. Living in Europe for sometime and having almost no chance of writing something manually, I am clumsy at hand writing even when I have to write my own name in Kanji. I assume you can write more Kanji than I can.
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:47 PM   #9
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So, as English isn't your native language either I may write you in German as well - just to give you a little practice!

Ich persönlich habe sehr gute Erfahrungen gemacht, wenn ich nicht nur Texte in der Fremdsprache lese, sondern zusätzlich mit einem Vokabeltrainer arbeite, also alle mir unbekannten Wörter übersetze und dort eingebe. Der Vokabeltrainer fragt die Vokabeln nach 1, 3, 10, 30 und 90 Tagen ab. Weiß man das Wort, kommt es eine Phase nach oben, wenn nicht, geht es zurück in die Anfangsphase. Obwohl sich dies nach stur mechanischem Pauken anhört, funktioniert es erstaunlich gut.
Ich nutze dieses Programm: www.phase6.de, es gibt aber bestimmt auch andere.
Thanks for the tip on phase6. Since the idea of this training software is similar to that of Anki system bernardpar referred to, I have install Anki software on my Windows and Ubuntu PCs, mobile devices I have. I was really impressed with the volume of decks accumulated and available to public for free. I have installed a deck of having about 1000 German words and another deck for training on word genders. Thanks for introducing me this software. This reminded me of the fact that I made such a program about 30 years ago on a PC with Z80 CPU with 5 inch floppy disk system. I used the Basic language but the simple editor made with the interpretor was too slow and had to be re-written in Z80 machine language.
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:09 PM   #10
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Although I do not have one nor have seen one, the specs of the jetBook Color seem to be very language learning oriented (not surprising considering Ectaco makes traslation devices.) Check out the Hands-on Review thread for more details.
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:23 PM   #11
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Arigato. Totemo ureshiidesu. Anatamo Nihongo ganbatte kudasai.
I have difficulty to write Kanji with a pen. Living in Europe for sometime and having almost no chance of writing something manually, I am clumsy at hand writing even when I have to write my own name in Kanji. I assume you can write more Kanji than I can.
Arigatou gozaimasu, takikurasan.
I doubt very much that I can write more kanji than you, but I am used to writing manually with a pencil. All my school work is done manually, with a mechanical pencil. I have tried to do shodou with a brush pen, but it is very difficult to control the brush; however, it would be fun to learn some day. Of course if I ever start writing a lot of Japanese I will use Microsoft IME and forget how to write everything just as you have!
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:07 PM   #12
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I read in French on my Kindle. Two problems I have had with it:

- it translates all verb tenses as a straight infinitive e.g. If you highlight parlais which is a past tense, it will return it as the infinitive 'to talk' and not as 'I talked' or 'I did talk' or whatever it was. I sometimes get the different verb endings confused and I wish it would translate conjugations more precisely.

- it limits you to one language per book. I have a Jules Verne omnibus which has his complete works, and what they did is use English translations where available, and if a translation was not available, they included the French version rather than omit it completely. The kindle treats this omnibus as an English book (and it 80% is) so if I want to use the French ditionary to read the French parts, I have to manually change it over. With books it recognizes as French books, it will use the proper dictionary automatically.

I do have an iPad app which can load French ebooks and it can handle verb tense phrases correctly, thus fixing issue #1. But it does this through an in-app Google Translate plug-in, which means I have to be in wifi range. This is not always possible, so it is not a perfect fix.
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:30 PM   #13
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I already read English, French, Japanese and Chinese. My latest ambition is to learn Turkish properly. The grammar is similar to Japanese (aglutinative) and not overly difficult. Any suggestions for websites and software on Ubuntu or Android are welcome. By the way, Takikura-san, I am 69 and time is running out even faster for me.
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Old 05-11-2012, 07:53 PM   #14
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Although I do not have one nor have seen one, the specs of the jetBook Color seem to be very language learning oriented (not surprising considering Ectaco makes traslation devices.) Check out the Hands-on Review thread for more details.
Thanks for this information. I looked thru the review quickly and found this reader is quite different from those I have now. I will study the reader further to see which functions I can impliment on my Androd tablet using apps available for this one.
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Old 05-11-2012, 07:57 PM   #15
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Arigatou gozaimasu, takikurasan.
Of course if I ever start writing a lot of Japanese I will use Microsoft IME and forget how to write everything just as you have!
IME = Input Method Editor: a preprocessor for inputing Japanese and Chinese characters for the Japanese language which comprises more than 10,000 characters, using the limited number of keys on a PC. Preprocessors called ATOK or MS IME helped us become lazy and successfully deprived us of dexterity of rendering our beautiful ideographic symbols on a sheet of white paper.
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