eLingua Latina

Background

eLingua Latina is an e-Learning program suite in development, which will comprise five components when completed: Verba, Mundus, Fabula, Oratio, Quaestio. Verba (the parsing engine behind all the tools) will be released in 2011. Mundus and Oratio exist as demonstrable prototypes and Fabula is finally taking shape as a 3D game but with a long way to go. I hope to demonstrate progress with Fabula at the ISAGA 2011 conference.

eLingua Latina product image.

eLingua Latina is a collection of computer-based reference and exercise-rehearsal resources designed to facilitate the learning of Latin. The design was undertaken as an exploration into Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) to create self-learning reference tools, extendible to languages other than Latin and English, and to explore possibilities for the creation of immersive VR language-learning environments. It uses the Whitaker Latin and WordNet English datasets. The design implements a range of innovative content-based, problem-solving approaches to language acquisition, alongside machine-based remedial feedback on natural-language text-input, Latin text-to-speech solutions & 3D-gaming environments.

I've written a few papers on this project:

Verba

Verba (the parsing engine behind all the tools) will be released in 2011, hopefully. I released a video advertisement and tutorial on Verba on YouTube on 08 April 2010. Have a look.

The cost of a single-user licence for Verba is £11.75 (inclusive of 17.5% VAT) for those purchasing within the European Union or £10 to non-European Union licensers. Further details about licensing will be published on product release.

I ask you then to consider my request for a licensing fee as the only possible way open to me for project funding support. To date, there has only been me writing alone and bearing the time and development-tool costs.

Mundus

Mundus facilitates vocabulary acquisition and composition within a wider programme of study, and is aimed at second- or third-year students.

It has two parts: a pictorial mini-cyclopaedia, "Things and Actions", and a puzzle-book, "Puzzles and Games". "Things and actions" contains 75 topic sections. In all sections, there is (1) a short descriptive essay ("Descriptio"), (2) a tool to present vocabulary elements, usually within a scrollable clickable window but also, with some topics, via fully-functional mini-applications (virtual calendars, maps or pocket-calculators), (3) a series of tasks to test vocabulary comprehension and reinforce retention (by identifying images on "flash cards" presented, or parsing words in a sentence, or in other tasks). A feature to direct movements of an animated agent around the screen, described in earlier papers, was moved to the labyrinth puzzle section, to streamline and simplify the application. The Mundus puzzle section includes interactive guessing-games, word-games, card-games, and a labyrinth. Some (crosswords, cyphers and guessing games) are programmed to mine the program's dictionaries to create puzzles from billions of unique potential outcomes.

The user can look up words in another eLingua Latina program, Verba. It appears in a moveable floating window over Mundus, but this time in a fully-Latinized version. Switching on the "speech" option, the user can also hear all on-screen words (in feedback elements or otherwise) spoken in Latin by a lip-synced animated tutor.

Users can also switch immediately between wholly Latin and wholly English versions of the program.

I'm still working away on Mundus. Note that it's a feature of Mundus and the other eLingua programs that you can actually adjust the Latin text-to-speech pronunciation, between Restored-Classical and Late-Italian (often called Ecclesiastical) and allow for regional or national phonemic variations (e.g., English Latin or French Latin and so on). I think this is a nice illustration of an innovative approach to product localisation.

Fabula

Have a look at this little interactive eLearning tool, an ancient Roman abacus in Latin! It's an element I hope to include in the Fabula component.

You also have these test elements from Fabula:

Project Support

eLingua Latina is a very large project, very ambitious, doesn't have any funding, and targets a small language-learning audience, and there's only me developing it. If you would like to make a financial contribution of any amount, no matter how small, how happy I would be, because that would help with ongoing project costs (notably software development tools). Please donate, mentioning the eLingua Latina project.

Project Feedback

Again eLingua Latina is a very ambitious project, undertaken as an experiment in developing more interesting Computer Assisted Language Learning tools. While I can claim to be an eLearning design professional, I cannot claim professional expertise in Latin. I am self-taught, and this design project was my way of learning. I can say in good faith that, as a learner, I have found this tool extremely useful for vocabulary acquisition and focus-group feedback has been very positive. Verba and Mundus prototypes have been tested with small groups but there has been no funding to employ professional Lain-language experts to extensively proof the tools. It seems that the toughest test I can do, and one that I must do if the project is to continue, is to start to release the tools and see how they stand up to criticism in the outside world. I need critical feedback so that they corrections and improvements can be made in future releases. Please email me to notify me of errors or problems on product release.