Schulenberg and Associates, Inc.:   The Spanish Literature Assistant™: Build Vocabulary Through Literature

Spanish Language Vocabulary and Literature (freeware)

Schulenberg and Associates (since 1981): Originators of the Thermodynamic Approach to Stock Market Timing and the Stock Strategist™ Newsletter

The LinguaPro™ Spanish Literature Assistant: Learn Vocabulary Through Literature and Vice Versa. (download or get on our mailing list to be notified about updates)

Our "Mission": Provide free quality software to teach Spanish Vocabulary through Literature, and Spanish Literature through Vocabulary.

The Spanish Literature Assistant™ is a large download (> 300mb), but it contains a large dictionary, verb conjugation patterns for over 13000 Spanish verbs (all printable in 1-page summaries), and over 600 complete individual works (providing almost 3,000,000 lines of text). It thus provides a large, instant library of books, with dictionary support, vocabulary cross-reference, and vocabulary flashcarding capabilities fully integrated into a single package.

With the widespread availability of public domain literary works in English, Spanish, and other languages, it is an appropriate time to release freeware programs that can integrate this existing high quality material and provide added value. A program like the Literature Assistant™ can provide an efficient way for a student to acquire a larger vocabulary, and also to gain greater familiarity with the enormous amount of Spanish literature that is now available on the Internet (for English vocabulary and Literature see our English Literature Assistant here). Therefore, Schulenberg and Associates is pleased to release the SPANISH Literature Assistant™ as a free general use program. We would like to see widespread use of this program, and so our users are encouraged to pass it on to others.

Getting Started:

Download the Spanish Literature Assistant (it's a BIG download) into a folder on your hard drive (e.g., C:\spalitasst) and unzip the complete contents. There currently is no real installation program. Instead, simply click on the executable file LA.EXE, or create a shortcut on your desktop that points to the file. Once the program is started, use the F1 key for HELP, and remember that the Mouse is not used. Instead, use the cursor arrows, the Home and End key, the Enter and ESC keys, the PgUp and PgDn keys, and function keys F1-F3. Everything else is done by typing a single letter command (upper or lower case), e.g., D, E, F, R, S, etc., and then pressing the ENTER key to activate the comand.

You might wish to first try flashcarding easy Spanish words first. Select option 13 on the Primary Menu to activate the flashcarding algorithm for the easiest 5000 Spanish words, and then press the ENTER key successively. A couple of sentences will first be shown that are extracted from one of the works, and one of the words or phrases will be blotted out by question marks. At the same time you will be prompted with a 'definition' for the missing word. Press the ENTER key a second time to see the correct word. If you wish to drill on that word in the future, either because you did not know the correct spelling or the correct definition, type an E (or e) and press the ENTER key to signal an error -- rather than simply pressing the ENTER key by itself to advance to the next word. Be sure to try the V command to access the Verb Reference Facility (VRF), the R command to begin 'reading' the work shown, and other commands as suggested by the HELP 'try this' sequences that are shown when you use the F1 function key.

Our Overall "Plan":

This program is in a very early stage, and there is an absolutely enormous amount of work stretching out ahead of us. For example, at the present time the program itself has only an 'adequate' user interface. It isn't really a true Windows interface because it doesn't employ a Mouse, but the keyboard- based interface is certainly good enough for now -- while our focus remains on improving the actual "content": a wide range of well-formatted error-free Spanish texts supported by a comprehensive Spanish dictionary that contains accurate definitions PLUS an accurate parser that correctly identifies every word (and its correct part of speech) in every one of the texts. This is an enormous agenda.

Our current To-Do List is as follows:

(1) Improving the baseline dictionary. Our current dictionary is insufficient for the needs of this program, not only in the number of defined words, but also in the shades of meaning that are required to deal with this kind of Spanish material.

(2) Improving the Parser/Tagger that analyzes every word of every sentence of every work, determining the correct part of speech, and associating the word with the correct Dictionary entry. Currently you will notice that many words have been misidentified because of an incorrect determination of their role in the sentence (verb, noun, adverb, etc.).

(3) Adding more Spanish texts (up to a limit of 1,000 or so), pruning the less useful ones that we already have, and improving the formatting (screen appearance) of the texts.

(4) Improving the User Interface (GUI) by using a Mouse when appropriate.

(5) Improving the Flashcarding algorithm, not only increasing its maximum speed but also providing a more efficient drilling frequency by replacing the current fixed drilling value of showing one missed word on every 5th drilling cycle.

(6) Improving our 'Difficulty' algorithm to include grammatical complexity rather than the current simple scheme of utilizing vocabulary usage frequency.

How You Can Help:

You can help us carry out our mission by using this program and sending us feedback about it, by passing the program on to others who might also enjoy using it, and finally, by helping us actually add or correct definitions. The Jot-A-Note™ feature is a convenient way of generating feedback. Use the J command (Type J or j on any screen, fill in a Note, and press the ENTER key) to build up the JOT.TXT file -- then email it to us. Also, please send us an email requesting to be added to our Distribution List so we can notify you of newer versions



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