How To Install Learning With Texts On Your Own Computer

Learning With Texts LWT

I’d be lost without Learning With Texts (LWT).

It’s a language learning tool that I use on a daily basis for all my languages and a brilliant way to expand on vocabulary in a fun (and slightly addictive) way.

LWT is very similar to LingQ which is another excellent tool – the only difference being that at this time LWT supports more languages and it’s 100% free.

The basic idea is that it’s an assisted reader which enables you to mark individual words as known or unknown, and uses a simple color-coding to rank how well you know each word.

For example:

Not attempted. Unknown. Seen it before but unknown. Familiar. Very familiar. Known but can’t always recall. Well known.

To make it even more convenient it has an audio player built in so you can play an audio track of the text being spoken, and a one-click way to quickly acquire dictionary definitions using your preferred online dictionaries. Even though you can do these things manually it’s really convenient to have them all in one window.

Here’s a good demonstration from FluentCzech of LWT in action:

 

Eliminating the need to rely on another server: LWT is a piece of cake to install

It’s an awesome tool but LWT is a web-based program that depends entirely on a few things which are a little too technical and confusing for most people, such as a web server and database software.

This is because it’s designed to run in your internet browser, storing your growing list of texts and words in a database for quick retrieval.

It also means unfortunately that you’re at the mercy of other peoples’ web servers/sites that run LWT, needing to always be connected to the internet, forever checking back to their server, and constantly at risk of the real possibility that at any time you could lose all of your work.

Isn’t it much better to have a copy of LWT on your own computer or laptop, able to be run even if you don’t have access to the internet?

I think so.

It’s actually really easy to do.

Here you’ll find a brief, straightforward how-to for installing the program on your own personal computer. Although the LWT homepage provides the same information, I wanted to make it a little bit easier for people to find these steps.

 

AMP this and AMP that – WTF is AMP?

I don’t want to bore or intimidate you with technical stuff (you don’t really need to understand this) but this is just in case you’re wondering what it is.

If you’ve read through the LWT homepage or other articles for installing a web server you may have come across these acronyms: WAMP, MAMP and LAMP.

This is what they stand for:

W, M and L: Windows, Mac, Linux (operating systems)

A: Apache (the name of the web server software)

M: MYSQL (the name of the SQL database software)

P: PHP (a web-based programming/scripting language)

When you see these acronyms, all they’re referring to is an operating system-specific package where this software is bundled together. Many web-based programs require all of these packages to be installed together in order to work and LWT is one of them. Installing AMP on your operating system effectively means that you’re running your own personal web server on your machine.

For Windows and Mac it’s as simple as downloading and installing a single file whereas Linux requires each one to be installed sequentially.

After installing AMP you’re ready to download and install LWT.

 

Installing WAMP and LWT on Windows with EasyPHP

This is easy enough for almost anybody to do.

1. Go and download the latest version of EasyPHP here.

2. Run the .exe file and follow all the prompts to install it.

Bam. WAMP is now installed and configured. All you need to do now is install LWT.

3. Go here and download the latest version of LWT which is a .zip file.

4. Copy it over to the C:\Program Files\EasyPHP-[whatever the version is]\www directory and unzip it all here (it should create a directory called \lwt).

5. Rename the file connect_easyphp.inc.php to connect.inc.php.

Now all you have to do is run EasyPHP in the Start menu to start your web server.

You can stop it whenever you want by right-clicking on the EasyPHP icon in the bottom right near the clock and clicking stop. You can also change the settings to make EasyPHP run every time you turn your computer on or only when you want to. Up to you.

To get started using Learning With Texts all you have to do now is open your web browser and go to:

http://127.0.0.1/lwt

Bookmark it so you don’t have to type it in every time.

 

Mac users: Installing MAMP and LWT

1. Go here and download and install the latest MAMP archive.

Remember that when you install this you don’t want to install MAMP Pro. The Pro edition isn’t free and you only need the personal edition which is free.

2. Go ahead and download LWT here.

3. Copy it over to /Applications/MAMP/htdocs and unzip it.

4. To make it easier for you later, rename the the new lwt-[whatever the version is] folder to just lwt.

5. You need to rename the file connect_mamp.inc.php to connect.inc.php.

6. Run MAMP or if it’s already running, restart it. The video above shows you how to do this.

By default, MAMP runs on port 8888 which means you need to type this in your web browser to use LWT:

http://127.0.0.1:8888/lwt

Done. Just run the MAMP application whenever you want to use Learning With Texts.

 

Installing LAMP on Linux with LWT

These instructions are for those of you using Ubuntu or Ubuntu-derived distributions.

I run Slackware but I’m assuming that if you do too then this post won’t be of much use to you :)

It used to be necessary to install each package individually but thanks to tasksel life is a bit easier for Ubuntu/Debian users. You can install LAMP with two commands:

1. sudo apt-get install tasksel

2. sudo tasksel install lamp-server

If tasksel doesn’t prompt you then go ahead and set your root password for MySQL like so:

3. sudo mysql -u root

4. SET PASSWORD FOR ‘root’@’localhost’ = PASSWORD(‘whatever your password is’);

Create an LWT database:

5. CREATE DATABASE lwt;

Create a user with rights (I give all privileges at home) to access the new lwt database:

6. GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON *.* TO ‘username’@’localhost’ IDENTIFIED BY ‘whatever your password is’ WITH GRANT OPTION;

You can use phpmyadmin to do this if you don’t like typing commands. Up to you.

7. Download and extract LWT to /var/www/lwt.

8. Now you just have to rename the connect_xampp.inc.php file to connect.inc.php and edit it to add the details of your new database and login info. Leave the line that says localhost alone.

9. Restart Apache:

sudo service apache2 restart

All done! LWT should be running:

http://127.0.0.1/lwt

 

Install the demo database if you want to save time

When you first run Learning With Texts it will ask you whether or not you want to install the demo database.

My advice is to say yes simply because there are some non-Latin script languages (East-Asian and Hebrew) already configured and it just saves a little bit of time (if you’re not learning one of these languages then it doesn’t matter obviously).

Arabic isn’t included in the demo database but you can configure it by adding this setting to the Edit Language page:

RegExp Word Characters: \x{0600}-\x{06FF}\x{0750}-\x{077F}\x{FB50}-\x{FDFF}\x{FE70}-\x{FEFF}

Learning With Texts LWT Arabic

And for Georgian:

RegExp Word Characters: \x{10A0}-\x{10FF}

If you’ve used LWT with another language and know the settings please share them in the comments section below. There are quite a few scripts that I haven’t had a chance to try yet so your input would be really helpful!

If you have language-specific questions or need any other kind of help, a great place to ask is this thread over at the How To Learn Any Language forum.

If I’ve missed something in this post or one of the steps doesn’t work for you then please let me know and I’ll do my best to help.

Good luck! :)

 

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Creating Opportunities To Speak: Cold-Calling

Speaking Opportunities

Note: This is fun but it’s not free. I suggest using Skype credit rather than your home or mobile phone as it’s much cheaper. At the time of this writing many countries can be called using Skype for about 2¢ per minute (others are a little higher).

Don’t go running your phone bills up though and then blaming me for it. :)

This little exercise is for people learning a foreign language at home and looking for more opportunities to practise.

 

Be creative!

Part of being a good learner is coming up with creative ways to overcome challenges and one major challenge for a lot of people is finding opportunities to practise new target language content.

One thing I used to do a lot with Arabic was target language cold-calling.

Sure you can use sites like LiveMocha, Busuu and italki to connect with native speakers for conversation practise (if you’re lucky enough to find a willing language exchange partner that is) but what about when you’ve just covered a specific topic and want to put it to use straight away but aren’t able to?

Let’s say for example that you spent a study period learning all about how to book accommodation or how to hire a bicycle in your target language.

Unless you’re abroad chances are you won’t get an opportunity to use that language so it tends to be forgotten easily. There is a fun way to practise the new content immediately using Skype and it only costs a buck or two.

 

How much for bike rental?

Spend some time going over new phrases and vocabulary relating to a specific product or service (e.g. renting a bike or inquiring about a guest room). You might choose to hone in on something specific like the size of the rooms or asking about the cost of renting a bike for a day.

Google “yellow pages” + your target language country (Georgia, Ireland, China, etc.) and usually the first Google search result will show you the business directory of the country (each country also has other directories but Yellow Pages is a good starting point).

Georgian Yellow Pages:
Yellow Pages Tbilisi Georgia

 

Irish Golden Pages:

Spiddal Ireland

Gather a short list of a few businesses and their telephone numbers, and call each of them asking a prepared list of questions about their products or services.

Let them know that you’re calling from overseas and apologize in advance for not understanding everything. Once they know you’re calling from abroad they’ll be curious as to why you called them specifically and you’ll probably make their ordinary, mundane day at work a little more interesting! :)

It’s great if you have a genuine query too. Instead of using Google to find out certain information consider taking the old-fashioned approach and making a few phone inquiries to get some practise.

Phone conversations are lot more challenging than face-to-face chats so make sure to record the Skype call so you can study it afterwards!

There are plenty of programs available for doing this such as Skype Call Recorder (Linux), Ecamm (Mac) and Pamela (Windows).

A simple, minute long exchange with a stranger over the phone will get you using vocabulary that you’d otherwise quickly forget or never get a chance to use.

 

This was written by .

Do you use StumbleUpon, Reddit, Pinterest or Digg? A quick upvotelikepin or digg will make my day! Thanks :)

Comments: If you’ve got something you’d like to add to this or some constructive criticism you can do that at the bottom of this page. Just please be respectful. Any abusive or nonsensical comments will be deleted.

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