An idea about vocabulary learning

I read news everyday, mostly from online. News are not limited to just news websites, but also various blogs. I use live.com as my aggregator and let me take a look what I have there. OK, for English I have MSDN Blogs, MSN Auto News and /.. I also have non-web-based way to get news. P-I Reader from Seattle Post-Intelligencer is such a great application for me to know what is happening around the world and local.

Beside getting to know what’s new, I read news also for learning more vocabularies, since English is just my second language. Whenever I see some word never seen, I just shoot it to en-cn@hotmail.com in my Live Messenger for translation. This dictionary bot is convenient. However, it is not efficient for learning new words particularly. (I just typed the word ‘particularly’ in the wrong chat window. I’m sorry! 😛 ) And just now, an idea came out of my mind.

Alright, here is the scenario. When a web browser or some other reader-like application is first brought up, it automatically highlights all the words shown in the screen. When user reads the page, he/she clicks on the word he/she already know, so the highlight of that word dismisses. This could be annoying at early stage, since not many words have been clicked. But once a word is clicked, it will never be highlighted again. So after a while, there is going to be only those vocabularies this user doesn’t know highlighted in the screen.

Of course, to do this there has to be backend database to store all the words that have been clicked. And it only applies to languages whose phrases are delimited by spaces. A counter example is Chinese. It doesn’t matter to me, since I am learning English only. A difficulty of designing this tool is how to integrate the word highlighting and clicking into the existing applications. Maybe just do it on HTML-engine based applications? I don’t know.

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