Note

This documentation is under active development. Criticism is very welcome.

Overview

LARA is a reading-listening tool that lets you mark up text to help students to improve their reading ability in a new language. Features include:

  • concordance pages for words showing where they have occurred before in the student’s own reading progress

  • these words are shown in contexts in which they have previously occurred.

  • colour-codes for how often a word has been seen

  • audio recordings of both segments and individual words

  • an easy tool for recording the audio

  • mouseovers for translations

  • automatically generated flashcards for self-testing

  • links to grammar resources etc

  • images and embedded audio files

  • HTML formatting

  • support for sign language

LARA pages are intended to be placed on the web and read through a web-browser. All information can be accessed by clicking or hovering with the mouse.

The easiest way understand what LARA does is to look at an example:

_images/PeterRabbitExample.jpg

On the left, we have a page of text from Peter Rabbit. The reader has just clicked on the word “ran”, and on the right we get a list of all the places in Peter Rabbit where a form of “run” has turned up in the student’s reading history, which so far only consists of this one book. Note that the list contains examples with both “run” or “ran”. Clicking any word, on the left or on the right of the screen, produces a similar list. The reader can hover the mouse over any word to hear a spoken recording, and also get a translation. If they hover the mouse over a loudspeaker icon, they get a translation of the whole preceding sentence, and if they click it they hear an audio recording of the sentence. The colours show how often words have occurred to date. Red means once; green means two or three times; blue means four or five times; black means more than five times. When you start, everything is red. As you read, more and more of the words turn black.

This document explains

  • how to access content to read it: reader portal

  • how to create content using LARA tools: constructor portal

You can also download the underlying tools and run them on your laptop, though you’ll probably need some software skills to do that.

In the next section, we’ll start by showing you how to log in to the Portal and interact with some actual LARA content.

Who did what

The original LARA concept was suggested by Cathy Chua.

The first version of the LARA core engine was implemented by Manny Rayner in a mixture of SICStus Prolog and Python 3. The second version, which is described in this document, was implemented by Manny Rayner and Matt Butterweck in pure Python 3. The flashcards module was originally implemented by Bjartur Örn Jónsson and improved by Hana Steríková.

The LARA portal and LARA social network were implemented by Hanieh Habibi in PHP. A substantial part of the design is based on suggestions from Branislav Bédi.

The LARA GUI was implemented by Matt Butterweck in Python 3.

Icelandic morphological processing is performed by ABLtagger developed by Steinþór Steingrímsson and Örvar Kárason. Lemmatizing is performed by Nefnir, developed by Jón Friðrik Daðason.

Polish morphological processing is performed by Morfeusz2, developed by Marcin Woliński.

Turkish LARA SAAS servicing from the ITU Turkish NLP pipeline has been developed by Gülşen Eryiğit.

English LARA content has been developed by many people, including Kirsten Anker, Cathy Chua, Gwyn Glasser, Robert Gasser, Marta Mykhats, Chadi Raheb, Manny Rayner and Rosa Ritchie.

French LARA content has been developed by many people, including Cathy Chua, Gwyn Glasser, Marta Mykhats, Chadi Raheb and Manny Rayner.

Irish Gaelic LARA content has been developed by Harald Berthelsen and Neasa Ní Chiaráin.

Icelandic LARA content has been developed by Branislav Bédi.

Old Norse LARA content has been developed by Ingibjörg Iða Auðunardóttir, Branislav Bédi, Brynjarr Eyjólfsson, Birgitta Björg Guðmarsdóttir and Ingibjörg Þórisdóttir.

ÍTM (Icelandic Sign Language) LARA content has been developed by Sigurður Vigfússon.

Farsi LARA content has been developed by Elham Akhlaghi and Hanieh Habibi.

Japanese LARA content has been developed by Junta Ikeda and Hakeem Beedar.

German and Middle High German LARA content have been developed by Matt Butterweck.

Italian LARA content has been developed by Sabina Sestigiani, Catia Cucciarini and Ivana Horváthová.

Israeli Hebrew LARA content has been developed by Ghil’ad Zuckermann.

Barngarla LARA content has been developed by Ghil’ad Zuckermann.

Swedish LARA content has been developed by Harald Berthelsen and Manny Rayner.

Turkish LARA content has been developed by Fatih Bektaş.

Dutch LARA content has been developed by Helmer Strik and Catia Cucciarini.

Danish LARA content has been developed by Pernille Hvalsøe and Manny Rayner.

Polish LARA content has been developed by Anna Bączkowska and students.

Mandarin LARA content has been developed by Yao Chunlin.

Spanish LARA content has been developed by Rebeca López, Roy Lotz and Manny Rayner.

Most of this documentation has been written by Manny Rayner, with contributions from Matt Butterweck and Hanieh Habibi. It has been edited and substantially rewritten by Cathy Chua.

Grateful thanks to Johanna Gerlach for help with LiteDevTools, Philippe Baudrion for organising the CALLector webspace, and Lionel Nicolas and Verena Lyding for flexibility in supporting contacts between the various people involved in developing LARA.

Acknowledgements to funders

The greater part of the LARA core software has been developed under funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation.

The greater part of the Old Norse and Icelandic Sign Language content has been developed under funding from the Icelandic Centre for Research.

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