Learning english prepositions – the smart way

In my review of WordChamp and LingQ I mentioned that an ideal language learning system would have deep support for the specifics of the learner’s target language. I was asked to clarify what I mean by that.

I have now found an example of what could be a step in the right direction. It is an online research system called WERTi from the Computational Linguistics and Language Technology group at The Ohio State University. The system allows anonymous access and it uses real English news sources.

In nutshell, the system finds interesting texts (using your keywords) and then identifies all propositions (at, in, by, through, etc.) in that text. It allows you to read the text with propositions highlighted; allows you to try picking propositions in the text and even allows you to test yourself by hiding the propositions in the text and letting you to fill your guesses.

The purpose of the system is to make the learner notice how the propositions are used in the text and through increased awareness speed up the memorisation process.

Obviously, WERTi is just one piece of the total language learning system, but – in my eyes – this is a good demonstration. I cannot wait until such systems will become available for commercial use.