due to some health problems I had again to make a little break in my language learning. Today I came back and I really like the new look of the site! :)
Only one thing confused me a bit: Has there not been an accent filter for the library in earlier times? I'm learning portuguese and would like to stick with european portuguese for now. But I can't find the filter anymore. Could anyone help me?
Yes, we have removed the Accent filter along with Categories and Types and converted all into Tags. Unfortunately, tags aren't yet working in the Library. We do apologize for this and hope to have them working soon. They will be better in the end since all selected tags will be remembered. For now, if you go to the Learn page and click the New Course button, you can select your desired level and desired tags including accents which appear there and this will show all courses you are looking for.
That is very bad news, Mark. As Mithridates said, it will now be almost impossible to find European Portuguese lessons, Canadian French lessons, or to distinguish between Bokmal and Nynorsk in Norwegian, This is by far the worst of all the changes included in this update. I am really disappointed... :(
I agree with mikebond. There are huge differences between some of the accents.
@OzzyHellBack: There is a difference between an accent and accent. The difference between american and canadian accent is small. The difference between Brasilian and European Portuguese is much bigger.
@Mark: I understand that you have put Categories and Types into tags. I've never understood why there was such a difference. But I cannot understand why you mix this up with the accent, a totally different class of information in my opinion. What I always find strange according to the tags is the mixture of German and English expressions for the Categories and Types in the German library. How have you dealed with that? Can new tags be created or can only given tags be used.
yes, I think Vera is right. For me as a beginner the difference between european and brazilian portuguese is large. I slowly start to hear the difference now and most of the time I notice if the text is european or brazilian. But for single words the different pronounciation is still very confusing for me. That's why I want to stick with one accent until I made more progress.
In my opinion, the information about the accent should stay an own category. And even more: I think it should be mandatory for new lessons. (Because I think this was voluntary till now, so some lessons had no information about the accent at all, is that right?)
Anyway, thank you a lot for the direct links, Fernanda! Your lessons are still my main source :)
Thanks for all the feedback. Please keep it coming and we will certainly end up with the best solution for all concerned. Agreed that accent is important for many people, and different from categories and tags in my view.
If you want to find lessons in European Portuguese go to the New Course popup from the Learn page and click the tag European. You will then see all courses in European Portuguese.
Regarding tags, you can use existing tags or create new ones every time you add a lesson. What's more lessons can have multiple tags which was an issue before. There are situations where speakers in a lesson have different accents. Now both can be added as tags.
We will be continuing to refine the tagging system but I suggest we wait until it's working properly in the Library and try it for a while to see how it works. I understand it's hard when things change, especially when things aren't working properly but we did this as a way to improve the ease of use in the Library which was not as good as it could be.
I find it frustrating that I cannot see the accent any longer in the library. I want to see if a lesson has British/American/Canadian/Australian accent or German/Austrian/Suisse accent at the first sight. It was definitely not an improvement to put this in the tags.
I should add that the purpose of this change is to make this and other sort fields more obvious. In its older form few users knew that there was an accent filter.
I really enjoyed the accent button and hope it returns. As a beginner Spanish learner, I do dabble in all the Spanish accents as I know it will only help in the long run. However, later on I intended to focus mostly on the Latin American side as the majority of Spanish speakers I will ever encounter are not from Spain.
Steve said: "In its older form, few users knew that there was an accent filter", but all content providers knew there was an Accent field where they should select the appropriate accent, for the benefit of the users who did care about accents. Now, there is no way for content providers to know they are supposed to add the accent as a tag. You should at least add a Help button or, better, a written line where you explain what to add as tags, including the accent of the audio file.
@mikebond - that's a good idea. We will add a line explaining the types of tags people can use. People also now have the ability to add multiple tags such as Portugal and European or Canada and Quebec.
Thanks, Mark. I look forward to that. I certainly like having the ability to add multiple tags. If you make it clear what types of tags can/should be used, I will no longer miss the "Accent" field (which was a wrong label in some languages, e.g. Norwegian, Latin, etc.).
As a language learner I find it very helpful to know the accent of the speaker. I think that many lesson creators might forget to include this information (as a tag).
Also, speaking of tags, I think it would be helpful to include a tag box in the course edit window in order to be able to apply the desired tags to all the lessons in the course instead of having to apply tags to each lesson individually.
I still wonder how many learners seeing tags like "Venetian", "Tuscan", "Australian" or, even worse, "Stockholm", "Goteborg", "Ecclesiastical" and so on, will understand that they relate to accents or pronunciation varieties. How are we supposed to make a distinction between the tag Stockholm meaning "lesson about the city of Stockholm" and Stockholm meaning "lesson read in Swedish as it is spoken in Stockholm". It would be necessary to rewrite such tags to make it clear that they deal with accents and pronunciation, e.g. "Venetian accent", "Stockholm variety", etc. I could do it, at least for Italian, but it would be quite time consuming. Call me pessimistic, but I don't see a bright future for accent tags in their current form.
My last accent-related message for the day is a bug report: I tried to create a tag consisting of two words but the first word was converted into a tag on its own before I could add the second word. This is something you should have a look into.
@mikebond - I think if I were interested in Australian English or Venetian Italian, I would be tempted to click on australian or Venetian. 99% of what I find will be accent related. Tags can be in whatever language people want to create them in. Make one in English and add the same in Italian. They are much more flexible this way. We may look at allowing creation of two word tags although I'm not sure it's necessary.
I was thinking of writing tags like "Venetian accent" and similar, or content-related tags like "Italian literature", "World War II", so it would be very useful to have tags of more than one words. In most websites allowing tags, tags are separated by commas, not just by spaces, as far as I know.
I think it isn't a good idea to have the tags not translated. I found it strange in the 'old' version too because the tags were in English only. For example if my mother wants to learn Italian it would be difficult for her because she didn't know any English nor Italian. How should she know the meaning of the tags if she doesn't speak these languages? I often think that learners without a good knowledge of English are lost on LingQ ... Other language learning sites deal better with this.
I still think tags are a good idea, but I think they are not a good idea regarding to the accent. It is much better to have the accent as a separate criteria for search and classification that content providers and users can clearly see that it is required.
Meanwhile, it would be very good if the system could remember the tags from the previous lesson in a course, as it happened to the Type and Category fields before. Also, we should be able to apply tags to a whole course, as we did before with Type and Category.
I see it is now possible to save tags for a whole course, and tags longer than one word, so thank you for that. However, "course tags" only apply to the lesson that exist when you tag and not to the future lessons of that course. Moreover, they are not displayed in the Edit Course page (as if they hadn't been saved, while I did click on "Change for all").
I've to come back to this issue again. I had a closer look to the German library. I wanted to search for lessons with an suisse accent. What a surprise to not find a tag "Suisse" or "Switzerland".
I think tags needs to be improved urgently.
1. The tags are hidden under "Extra filters". That makes it difficult to newbies to even recognize that there are these filters.
2. The tags itself seems to have no special order.
3. Important tags are missing. See the first paragraph.
4. Lots of tags seems to be missing.
Here is the list of tags the German library shows: 1. Beginner I Entertainment Literature Nachrichten Fiction Culture And Religion Humor Member Created Fairy Tales Other Daily Life Sprach-Bestandteile Mitglieder Schreiben Gespräche Und Interviews Current Events Kurzgeschichten Hörbücher Education Short Stories Austria 2. Beginner Ii Culture Gespräch Language Ecology Podcasts For Beginners Vortrag History Health And Beauty Science Travel Audiobooks Poetry Übungen Lingq Germany News Articles Business
Danke, Vera, für das Beispiel der deutschen Tags: Diese Tags sind ein "Sammelsurium". Wenn ich meine Podcast Co-Produkte selbst taggen müsste, dann könnte ich da gar nichts von verwenden. Es ist auch sehr unprofessionell, wenn manche deutsche Podcasts auf Deutsch getaggt werden, andere auf Englisch und wieder andere in beiden Sprachen durcheinander. Auf HTLAL läuft es einheitlicher, weil dort nur Moderatoren die Tag-Begriffe creieren und die Einheitssprache aller Tags Englisch ist.
There are certainly issues here but I am not sure what the solution is and when we will be able to get to it. I understand your sense of urgency and appreciate the feedback. I know it is on the list of things to do, (a long list).
@Fasulye: Ich habe das schon vor vielen Jahren kritisiert und um Änderungen gebeten, wurde jedoch immer wieder vertröstet. Nun ist etwas passiert, aber drch das Zusammenlegen von Kategorie, Art und Akzent ist das jetzt sogar noch mehr Durcheinander als es schon war, sofern das möglich ist. Das schlimmste ist, dass man jetzt noch nicht mal alle Tags sieht und auswählen kann! Nach meinem Gefühl ist taggen ist damit absolut sinnlos geworden.
@Steve: I feel the list gets longer and longer and longer and longer with every update.
I see that you improve the "look & feel" of the website, but I think technical issues should be resolved too. The language filter was something that has worked before. You decided to change the way you handle this, and said we should use the tags instead, but they don't work as my example has shown.
Don't get me wrong. I love LingQ, and I still love LingQ but I've seen many updates in the past years. What I now really want to see is that you look for working "on the list" to make it shorter and to resolve known problems instead of creating new ones. After each updates it tooks weaks and months to solve the problems. I know you have not many resources, but then you should think of what is more important: A feature that only is used by a small part of the members (for example Chrom users) and makes "the list" even longer, or working on the list of known issues.
Sorry if I probably sound more angry than I feel. I don't want to make a fuss about this, but I think tagging lessons is now a waste of time. And new members who creates content will simply not understand how to tag, and what makes sense.
Vera, I am in favour of spending more time on the library and fixing the filters. It is not just up to me. There are many demands, and many different objectives.
The Chrome extension was started by a member, not initiated by us. We simply had one of our programmers complete it when that member moved on to other things. It does have the advantage, however, that it is something that can be offered in the Chrome store and thus spreads the word about LingQ.
As to the problems cause by our updates, we have now instituted some changes, added servers, and changed our configuration so that we will be better able to simulate the impact of changes, and hopefully we will not experience these problems next time we update. We have also increased programming resources to work on both site performance and new features. I can assure you that it is not easy.
Again thanks for your patience and continued support. We are listening and appreciate these constructive criticisms and the spirit in which they are offered. We will get there.