Polyglatte: a website for reading and listening to Japanese

Hello everyone! I’d like to share a project I’ve been working on for a bit now to help with studying Japanese: https://polyglatte.com.

It’s a language learning app to help you read and listen to more real world Japanese. It complements WaniKani because Polyglatte doesn’t help you learn Kanji or the fundamentals of Japanese. Polyglatte is about reading and listening to real Japanese out in the wild to help build comfort with the language and to acquire the language skills that can only be learned through usage of the language.

Polyglatte tracks word knowledge to help you find content at your level and lets you review words while reading or watching videos. We have an upcoming feature that creates dynamic study plans for articles, videos, or word lists that you want to learn so that you can prepare for content that’s a bit beyond your current level by reading and listening to easier things. The long term vision is to make reading and listening more approachable and fun to help more people reach their language learning goals.

Polyglatte currently works with any text-based content as well as YouTube videos with captions, and local videos + subtitle files (the local videos don’t leave your computer, Polyglatte simply provides an interface for you to watch videos that are on your own computer with Polyglatte’s features on top of it).

We’re in active development and Polyglatte is currently completely free with no ads. We’re hoping to make the best language learning tool that we can and are looking to get more feedback to do just that.

We’d be honored if you’d try us out and give us feedback (in our feedback form or on Discord)!

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Sounds like a really interesting premise - will definitely give it a try and give you some feedback :smiley:

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I just tried it, and it works well.

I don’t want to discourage you, especially if this is just a fun side-project. But if you want to make money on this in the long run, I think you’re going to have a very hard time unless you can figure out how to convince people this isn’t just a Lingq clone.

Pretty much anyone who wants to pay for a service like this is already going to be established in Lingq.

Thanks for the feedback! That’s actually very useful to hear. We don’t have much written about this anywhere so I’ll take this as a chance to:

Lingq is fantastic but I think it’s kind of a different type of system from what we’re building. Polyglatte in the long term is more focused on automating processes to make language learning easy through continuous motivation, like a faucet of content at your reading level personalized to your interests. Aside from just content scheduling, Polyglatte does more processing of the language itself (our words are parsed, lemmatized, and PoS tagged) and we plan to utilize more of what modern computing has to offer to make the lives of language learners more fun. We want to make language learning so fun that it’s not something that you have to try to do (admittedly, we have a long way to go before we get there :sweat_smile:).

As for competition, while we would live in a similar niche (though I think they’re somewhat disjoint), we’re not thinking about dividing the pie but rather growing it. I think the popularity of beginner focused language learning software shows that there is very large demand for language learning but that somewhere in the process people are falling off. I think there is really no shortage of people that would learn another language if the process was as fun as mindlessly opening YouTube or TikTok. Our long term goal is to work toward making that more possible and hopefully massively increase the amount of people that can engage in language learning!

Many of the big ideas of Polyglatte aren’t ready yet but I’m hoping to get more feedback as it grows to help shape what it becomes. I’m sharing it now in the hopes of that feedback but also because I think what we have now is already potentially quite useful!

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Sentence / text parsing tools can be immensely helpful for beginner learners, I agree!

I only checked out the tutorial article so far, but I have to ask: did a native speaker check/write the article? :sweat_smile: Expressions like 言語を勉強に役立ちます and 単語の知識を進んで make me doubt the trustability of the site language-wise. I understand that most of the content would not be contributed by the site itself, but instead by the users, but I think the tutorial, which is basically the front page of the site, might benefit from a language double-check. This is not meant as a discouragement! I love the fact that so many tools that help with language-learning are available nowadays and I’m sure many users will benefit from what the site offers :slight_smile:

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Yeah that is embarrassing, I did write the Japanese tutorial quickly myself without checking it at all. You’re completely correct and I’ll get a native speaker to rewrite it. That’s the only Japanese article on there that I wrote, I promise :joy:. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

edit: I’ve had the Japanese tutorial article rewritten / corrected by a Japanese friend of mine, so it should be good now.

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The Chinese is also odd…

“建立任何您喜歡的文章,包括Youtube影片!”
“Create or discover articles from anywhere, including youtube!”

I mean I’m not against Google Translate, but I’m under the impression that if it’s an option on the site it would be proofread by a native speaker.

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My immediate feedback after doing the tutorial and using it for a bit:

  • There needs to be a quicker way to mark the particles as “known”
  • I marked に as known, but now it recognizes ように but I only get to mark よう? So idioms aren’t included for studying?
  • Edit: Wait, but it lets me pick さらに. Is it because I picked よう as known earlier?
  • Items with long definitions take a lot of scrolling to get to the custom definition field. Maybe a fold would help.
  • It would be nice to have a browser icon. :slight_smile:

The positives:

  • Really nice looking interface, and very responsive
  • The parsing engine seems to be pretty good
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I tend to think that particles shouldn’t be considered “words” for vocabulary purposes. Does anybody really try to learn に as a piece of vocab via a flashcard?

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The Chinese was written by a native speaker (1of the 2 people that makes Polyglatte is a native Chinese speaker) and I just got a second opinion from another native Chinese speaker and they said it was fine too. Perhaps it’s a difference between Taiwanese Mandarin and other flavors? Personally, my Chinese isn’t good enough to speak definitively on it, so I defer to them.

edit: The original author was trying to capture all the nuance of the English version when they wrote the Chinese version, perhaps that’s what you’re picking up on? She suggested “您可以從任何平台尋找並建立文章,包括Youtube” as an alternative but my second opinion says that both are fine, just that the new one is more polite :person_shrugging:.

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That’s really useful feedback – thanks!

We’re investigating starting with more knowledge, either a placement test or perhaps being able to use things like the WaniKani API to import starting knowledge. We completely agree that the brand new experience doesn’t make a lot of sense right now; we assume you’re comfortable with kanji and basic Japanese grammar but then ask you to tell us that you know what に means… that doesn’t make a lot of sense.

We don’t currently support reviewing of phrases. It’s high priority, just something that fell through the cracks, we’ll get that up and running soon too!

  • The parsing engine seems to be pretty good

Thanks! Our Japanese parsing has had the most love given to it. There are still a few weak areas where it could do better though, so if you see anything particularly annoying, please let me know. Parsing varies heavily by language though and our Chinese parsing (PoS tagging in particular) for example is really bad right now and I’m planning on completely redoing it soon.

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