I grew up in the small island nation of Singapore. It's home to a variety of people; most of whom are either foreigners from faraway lands or decendents of foreigners that came a long time ago. We speak a weird mismatch of languages. Some of our elders especially tend to speak in multiple languages at the same time. It makes it harder for the younger generation to understand them sometimes. When you're constantly exposed with so much culture, it naturally integrates into your lives and becomes a part of you. It's simply the outcome of living in such an environment. That's why I never find it that hard to learn the languages of the cultures that live here despite it being seen as a very hard task.
To truly take part in a culture, you must be exposed to it regularly. The real problem then becomes trying to find a place where you can access it. With the advent of the internet, taking part in cultures outside your area can potentially become trivial. For this reason, I have decided to start The Worldspeaker Project. The Worldspeaker Project is an ongoing effort to bring cultures from around the world closer to those who otherwise won't have access to them. As our first effort, we shall create a web application that serves as a library tailor made for wannabe polyglots.
The Polyglot Collection allows you to read various passages from different languages and provides instantaneous translations and pronounciations of them upon selecting their words or sentences. The translations are written specifically for the context of that passage allowing you to better understand the passage as a whole. This is a lot better than looking up the translation in a translator's dictionary as the dictionary lacks the true context of the passage to properly translate the word or phrase properly. The passages themselves will be organised according to language, theme and most importantly, comprehension level. The passages are diverse ranging from snippets of fantasy novels to scientific papers. They even include children's picture books and comics for those who wish to see illustrations of the passages to give more context.
This idea, while simple, is a great step to making the cultures of these languages more accessible. Trying to find access and take part in cultures you want to engage in can be hard if you don't live in the area where that culture takes place. It can be even harder to then understand the language the culture is spoken in. With all of these passages in one place and organised to suit the needs of individual readers, we can make it easier for people to reach out to cultures other than their own.
I know that most of you came to this forum for C++. However, this does present a good oppertunity to get into web development. You'll have plenty of time to start as I myself am just starting to learn how an application like this is built and managed. For people who are starting off, I suggest making a local apache server on your computer and trying to make an web application with that. Happy hunting!
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The Partridge Family were neither partridges nor a family. Discuss.
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