Project News

Free and innovative technology opens up lucrative book market targeting children and English learners

posted Aug 12, 2013, 6:23 PM by Ziyuan Yao   [ updated Aug 13, 2013, 7:28 AM ]

Dear Book Publishers, Authors and the Publishing Industry in General,

A free software program has recently made it possible to create two new kinds of books that have a huge commercial potential. First, let's have a quick look at two sample books:


The first sample shows Chapter 1 of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in English, with diacritics added to show pronunciation, and is intended for children learning to read (Grades K-3). The second sample shows the same story in both Chinese and diacritically marked English, and is intended for Chinese people learning English. To understand the diacritics used in these books, the reader only needs to learn a one-page scheme, like this:


Now we'll show you several reasons why making such books is profitable, and how to get started with this new technology—PIE (Phonetically Intuitive English).

Reason 1. Significant Positive Feedback

The free technology, PIE, has received positive comments from the US Department of Education[1], literacy and ESL experts, parents and users[2], and been covered by PCWorld and a number of other US and international media outlets[3]. The Department of Education recommended that the project be forwarded to local education authorities for consideration[1]. PIE was also invited to National Education Association Exposition 2013 (coinciding with NEA's 150th annual meeting) and got very positive feedback from educators nationwide[2].

Book publishers and authors can certainly put these positive comments on such books to increase the books' credibility.

Reason 2. Proven Market Success

In China, similar phonetic annotation known as "pinyin" is a must-have in books for children learning to read. See [4] for a photo of such a book where pinyin is printed above every Chinese character, telling young readers their pronunciation.

A similar story happened in Western history. Alexander the Great quickly conquered many new territories and his scholars invented diacritics for his Empire's language, Ancient Greek, enabling new citizens to learn it quickly.

Reason 3. Novelty as a Market Teaser

As such diacritically marked books are a first for English-speaking countries, potential buyers would be intrigued to buy them at least because of their desire to try them out.

Reason 4. Big Buyers

Literacy is a major concern in K-12 education, and school districts can be big buyers of such diacritically marked books for every K-3 student. We're informing America's top 100 school districts of this new way of teaching literacy, and are starting to receive positive feedback from them.[2]

Reason 5. Flexibility for Different Reader Levels

The software can generate diacritics in three modes: Full, Lite and Extra Lite. Each successive mode shows fewer diacritics for more advanced readers. See [5] for screenshots of the three modes.

Reason 6. Benefits for Children Learning to Read

Traditionally, teachers use "phonics" as a method to teach children to read. Phonics is the pronunciation rules of English, such as the "vowel + consonant + e" pattern as in "take", "eve", "nice", "mode" and "cute". But such rules can be confusing. For example, "ea" has a wide range of diverse pronunciations in "speak", "steak", "bread", "Korea", "reality" and "create". In contrast, PIE directly shows every word's pronunciation, enabling students to start enjoying the pleasure of reading right away.

Also, this new method is supposed to dramatically reduce the total time to achieve basic literacy from 4 years (Grades K-3) to much shorter.

Reason 7. Benefits for International Learners of English

For a person who learns English as a second language, knowing a word's correct pronunciation actually has two benefits. The first benefit, obviously, is the fact itself—the learner can now pronounce the word correctly in speaking, and recognize it correctly in listening. The second benefit, not so obviously, is that pronunciation is actually the best mnemonic to help memorize a word's spelling as well—it's how native speakers learn a word: first pronunciation, and then spelling.

Reason 8. Source Texts Abound

PIE can convert ANY English text to the diacritically marked form, which means you can turn any work from the world's treasure trove of literature into a diacritically marked book, tapping on established market interest in well-known literary works.

Reason 9. Low Creation Costs

Converting a normal English text to the diacritically marked form is a fully automatic process, so it costs almost nothing to create such books.

How to Get Started

So you're interested and want to learn more? Follow these steps.

Step 1: Learn more about this free technology at its official website:


Step 2: Try out the technology in your Chrome web browser:


Step 3: Try out toolkits that help you create such books:



Best Regards,
The Phonetically Intuitive English Project

References
[3] Coverage of PIE by PCWorld and other media outlets: https://sites.google.com/site/phoneticallyintuitiveenglish/general-resources/media
[5] Screenshots of the Full, Lite and Extra Lite modes: https://sites.google.com/site/phoneticallyintuitiveenglish/using-pie/modes

Disclaimer: This message is not affiliated with nor endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education. The content of any information posted herein does not reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Education.

Free and innovative software to teach ESL receives positive feedback

posted Jul 12, 2013, 9:48 AM by Ziyuan Yao   [ updated Aug 3, 2013, 3:06 PM ]

Dear ESL Teachers and Researchers,

We're a free software project called PIE (Phonetically Intuitive English), which provides a novel approach to teaching word pronunciation and meaning. Since our recent debut, we have been thrilled to receive positive comments from the US Department of Education[1], ESL experts and users[2], and be covered by PCWorld and a number of other US and international media outlets[3]. The Department of Education recommended that the project be forwarded to local education authorities for consideration.[1] We were also invited to National Education Association Exposition 2013 (coinciding with NEA's 150th annual meeting) and got very positive feedback from educators nationwide.[2]

The said software can automatically add diacritics to English words in a learner's Chrome web browser to show pronunciation (see [4] for a screenshot). As soon as the learner masters a one-page scheme (see [5] for the scheme), he would be able to acquire words' correct pronunciation as he browses the Web! The software also provides three modes (Full, Lite, Extra Lite) that progressively show fewer diacritics as the learner advances his English level (see [6] for screenshots of the three modes).

Knowing a word's correct pronunciation actually has two benefits. The first benefit, obviously, is the fact itself—the learner can now pronounce the word correctly in speaking, and recognize it correctly in listening. The second benefit, not so obviously, is that pronunciation is actually the best mnemonic to help memorize a word's spelling as well—it's how native speakers learn a word: first pronunciation, and then spelling.

The diacritics alone only show pronunciation but not meaning. To address this need, we also provide an associated free Chrome extension "Word Translator"[7], which can show an English word's meaning to an ESL learner in his native language, when he points his mouse at that English word. See [8] for a screenshot that shows PIE and Word Translator working together, providing both pronunciation and meaning to the user.

Besides transforming web pages to the diacritically marked form in real time, PIE can also be used to produce bilingually aligned, diacritically marked books intended for ESL learners. Such books tell a story in both English and the learner's native language, and the English part is marked with diacritics, so that the learner can acquire all three elements—spelling, pronunciation and meaning—as he reads the story. This enables ESL educators to both promote English and get rewarded financially. See [9] for some sample books and a toolkit that helps you create such books.

Educators of the lingua franca of the world, the time has come to usher English education from the age of the stagecoach into the age of jet aviation. :-)

Get the free software directly from here (requires the Chrome browser):

Or visit our project website for more information:

Best Regards,
The Phonetically Intuitive English Project

References
[3] Coverage of PIE by PCWorld and other media outlets: https://sites.google.com/site/phoneticallyintuitiveenglish/general-resources/media
[6] Screenshots of the Full, Lite and Extra Lite modes: https://sites.google.com/site/phoneticallyintuitiveenglish/using-pie/modes

Disclaimer: This message is not affiliated with nor endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education. The content of any information posted herein does not reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Education.

Free and innovative software to teach literacy receives positive feedback

posted May 6, 2013, 10:33 AM by Ziyuan Yao   [ updated Aug 14, 2013, 6:16 AM ]

Dear Literacy Teachers and Researchers,

We're a free software project called PIE (Phonetically Intuitive English), which provides a novel approach to literacy education. Since our recent debut, we have been thrilled to receive positive comments from the US Department of Education[1], literacy experts and parents[2], and be covered by PCWorld and a number of other US and international media outlets[3]. The Department of Education recommended that the project be forwarded to local education authorities for consideration.[1] We were also invited to National Education Association Exposition 2013 (coinciding with NEA's 150th annual meeting) and got very positive feedback from educators nationwide.[2]

The said software can automatically add diacritics to English words in a student's Chrome web browser to show pronunciation (see [4] for a screenshot). As soon as the student is taught a one-page scheme (see [5] for the scheme), he would be able to start reading any English web page with such diacritics right away! The software also provides three modes (Full, Lite, Extra Lite) that progressively show fewer diacritics as the student becomes a more advanced reader (see [6] for screenshots of the three modes).

Traditionally, teachers use "phonics" as a method to teach children to read. Phonics is the pronunciation rules of English, such as the "vowel + consonant + e" pattern as in "take", "eve", "nice", "mode" and "cute". But such rules can be confusing. For example, "ea" has a wide range of diverse pronunciations in "speak", "steak", "bread", "Korea", "reality" and "create". In contrast, PIE directly shows every word's pronunciation, enabling students to start enjoying the pleasure of reading right away.

Besides transforming web pages to the diacritically marked form in real time, the software can also be used to produce diacritically marked books intended for children learning to read. This enables educators to both promote literacy and get rewarded financially. See [7] for a sample book and a toolkit that helps you create such books.

Cultivators of America's future, the time has come to usher literacy education from the age of the stagecoach into the age of jet aviation. :-)

Get the free software directly from here (requires the Chrome browser):
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/pie-american/hlpncajbcabflblkdajhpogljllncdna

Or visit our project website for more information:

Best Regards,
The Phonetically Intuitive English Project

References
[3] Coverage of PIE by PCWorld and other media outlets: https://sites.google.com/site/phoneticallyintuitiveenglish/general-resources/media
[6] Screenshots of the Full, Lite and Extra Lite modes: https://sites.google.com/site/phoneticallyintuitiveenglish/using-pie/modes
[7] A sample and a toolkit for creating diacritically marked books: https://sites.google.com/site/phoneticallyintuitiveenglish/publishing-pie-books/pie-books-for-literacy

Disclaimer: This message is not affiliated with nor endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education. The content of any information posted herein does not reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Education.

Many Improvements

posted May 1, 2013, 7:53 AM by Ziyuan Yao

PIE American Edition released

posted Feb 7, 2013, 7:32 AM by Ziyuan Yao

In November 2012, PIE split into two editions: International and American. The International Edition uses a scheme designed after an international standard known as the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), and therefore is intended primarily for international learners of English. We also provide an "American Edition" that uses a slightly different scheme designed for American children learning to read.

PIE Lite released

posted May 11, 2012, 7:05 PM by Ziyuan Yao

See here for details: PIE Lite

PIE Transformer 0.1.22 released

posted May 7, 2012, 4:30 PM by Ziyuan Yao

We have chosen default PIE fonts for different platforms:

- Cambria for Windows Vista and Windows 7 (this font is shipped with these modern Windows versions);
- Lucida Grande for Mac OS X (this font is shipped with Mac OS X);
- CharisSILW for Linux and other Windows versions (this font is shipped with PIE Transformer).

These fonts are guaranteed to work well. However, you can also read our font guide to explore more fonts :-)

1-7 of 7