English to Malibu



    Today, I still decided on this.
    To discuss with the audience of Habr the format of studying the English language that we use on our project and try to prove that it has the right to exist along with other wonderful services.


    You can immediately see what will be discussed: malibu.io .

    Or walk with me from the start. This is not a long story.

    To learn English, I sat on foreign entertainment sites:
    9gag, reddit, imgur ... etc (sorry, "etc.").
    I really liked the process, because during the rest I got some benefit for myself, developed - learned new words, expressions and saw how native speakers really use English. And most importantly - it was not so embarrassing for the time spent.
    Then I wrote out all the new words for myself in a column in the gmail draft, so that I could later go over and repeat.

    There were several inconveniences with this:
    • The very first nuisance was that the layout of sites often did not allow you to easily (without opening the web inspector) select a word or expression. On all these sites, the most key and interesting text goes in the title and is a link to the post page where you cannot start highlighting the text in the middle (instead, the entire link-title will begin to be dragged).
    • Highlighting words in mobile applications is not possible, and with the mobile version of the site is also wildly not convenient.
    • I had to switch to the tab with the translator, and then to the tab with the mail to put a new word in my improvised dictionary. Occupation is a bit dreary.
    • If it was a new phrase, then you had to write it in Google search: phrase + "meaning" to find out what it means.
    • When I went through the list of my words, I did not have the opportunity to return to the context in which I inserted these words. It was the most classic column. the word is translation. ”

    Starting to watch entertaining materials on foreign sites, I still sometimes continued to go to Russian-speaking.
    True, the feeling was that a good 30 percent, if not more, were materials copied from Western sites.
    It caused a little negative emotions, because Often, users give away other people's wonderful posts as their own. For example, the most angry was the user who translated a very interesting investigation + the hypothesis of the collapse of the MH370 from a foreign blog and passed it off as his work. The credibility in the league of detectives was secured.

    All this motivated me to create a project where copying materials from foreign sources will benefit people studying English, and the link to the original will be preserved.

    The project is committed to hosting interesting materials from foreign sites, citing not only the Russian translation, but also English from the original.

    The format of the materials we have We

    came to him in a natural way and never carried out a serious analysis of the effectiveness, but here is what I think:

    I like about it:

    • Learning words in context and with vivid visual associations
    • Interest in the materials being studied (everything that I have ever managed to learn successfully in English was done with incredible enthusiasm when I was partial to something)
    • Fast content. Yes, sometimes we have long posts ( http://malibu.io/post/3902/ ), but even they are very light in content, not overloaded with text. This means that you can come to us and see a few posts at any time (at least for 5 minutes while you are traveling in transport or waiting on the line) and you can interrupt at any time. In my view, in order to master the language - it must be made a part of your life (at least a small part).
    • The translation is immediately written below. We recommend reading in English and looking at the picture, and after that, if you can’t figure it out, look at the translation (therefore, it made it thinner in gray). And for more advanced in English, we recommend turning off the Russian language in the settings, and when you meet a new word, you can click on it, and the translation will appear below. We could go the way of using LingQ / LinguaLeo technology, but in my opinion it is not quite suitable for our project. I would not want to burden users with the task of sorting out translations from the English-Russian dictionary themselves. Nevertheless, according to the plan, people come to Malibu primarily to relax, but at the same time they improve English. I think that if the site always only displayed English, then we would not be able to focus on a wide audience. Posts in one English will repel users for whom this language is like an impenetrable jungle. By the way, it is believed that the most effective way to learn English is to immerse yourself in an English-speaking environment. But there is one caveat. One dive is not enough. Try to throw a person who cannot swim into the water. It would seem that a complete immersion in the necessary environment, but he will drown. When immersed in a foreign language, an assistant is needed, who will give a hand, will assist in a difficult situation. In the best case, these are your parents who explain complex unfamiliar words to you based on simple ones that you already understand. But there is one caveat. One dive is not enough. Try to throw a person who cannot swim into the water. It would seem that a complete immersion in the necessary environment, but he will drown. When immersed in a foreign language, an assistant is needed, who will give a hand, will assist in a difficult situation. In the best case, these are your parents who explain complex unfamiliar words to you based on simple ones that you already understand. But there is one caveat. One dive is not enough. Try to throw a person who cannot swim into the water. It would seem that a complete immersion in the necessary environment, but he will drown. When immersed in a foreign language, an assistant is needed, who will give a hand, will assist in a difficult situation. In the best case, these are your parents who explain complex unfamiliar words to you based on simple ones that you already understand.

    I do not like about it:

    • Perhaps as much as I do not like to read the large "walls" of the text in English, on the reverse side I am not pleased with these viral headlines "the most ... in the world ...", "amazing, incredible ...", which are more often found on entertainment projects
    • Not that I do not like it, but we must understand that only on these materials you can’t master the language. You will not master grammar and colloquial speech. But everything must be done in a complex.


    // TODO: supplement both lists with reviews from comments

    My subjective conclusion: what we did is not a universal tutorial. This is just another format to learn. For those people who are already studying English, it can wonderful complement the existing approaches: courses, series, films, skype, books. There is also hope that he will push people to study who before that were too lazy to take up.

    A separate item is the dream of the project - in the future, to help foreigners learn Russian!

    PS
    • Perhaps someone will be interested in how the posting of materials works. English text and pictures are pulled from a post from a foreign site, Google Translate API provides machine translation. If not everything is perfect with him, then you can manually fix it. Done! In addition, the site script goes through all the words in the post and accesses the Yandex.Dictionaries API to link them. The latter works correctly at this stage in ~ 90% of cases, and we check the posts before displaying them on the main page.
    • I am sure that there are small bugs on the project, but this is not the most important thing at this stage. First of all, I want to check the concept.
    • This is the second attempt to tell about the project on the hub The first did not take place for reasons known only to UFOs.

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