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Outlier Linguistic Solutions


OneEye
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I have a few updates:

 

We've added a Recent News section.

Ash gave a well-received presentation at ICLP last week. We took video and will be putting together some clips to post to YouTube.

I officially joined as an investor and board member last week.

And the big news: our website is now available in Chinese (both traditional and simplified). Except the Recent News section, which is being translated.

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  • 3 weeks later...
The dictionary will cover the 3000 most common characters (in both simplified and traditional), with an additional volume planned later with another 3000 for those who require more. Both an English and a German edition will be published initially, with hopefully other languages to follow, and every edition will be entirely bilingual (both Chinese and the base language).

Does this mean that editions will be available where the Chinese explanatory text will be in simplified? I.e. English/Trad, English/Simp, German/Trad, German/Simp will all be available?

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Yes, we'll be doing both simplified and traditional versions of the explanations. Additionally, the dictionary will contain both simplified and traditional variants of the 3000 characters, so you can look up either one and read the explanation in either one too.

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We're a little behind where we wanted to be as far as that goes. We're working on a mock-up with some sample entries which we'll send to [insert company here] in hopes of getting a contract, and we're being a bit perfectionistic about it so it's taking a while. I don't know if I should say the name of the company until it's finalized. But rest assured, Chinese-forums will hear about the release format as soon as I do.

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Well, with the news that you'll do simplified versions, that just makes me all the more excited about this! I'd hazard a guess that by the time this is released I'll already know 3k odd characters, but the etymology stuff's fascinating, and it'll be good for comparing simplified forms to traditional forms, too.

 

Any estimates on pricing?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Have you given any consideration into indexing? One of the big problems I had with trying to look characters up before I gave up and just got tools aimed at foreigners was having to figure out both the specific radical used for indexing and the number of strokes in the character.

 

It's not easy, but indexing it by something that's as rule based as possible would help a lot. I'm not sure you need to go as far as  McGraw-Hill's Chinese Dictionary and Guide to 20,000 Essential Words: A New Method for Non-Native Speakers to Look Up the 2,000 Most Commonly Used Characters in Chinese does. They categorize the characters based upon the top left most stroke followed by the number of strokes in the character. With any stroke that makes a 90 degree or greater bend considered to be broken at each of those bends for the purpose of counting.

 

I should point out that they do also have a more traditional radical based index as well.

 

I think that's probably going a bit overboard with making it accessible to people that aren't strong with their component sense, but I do think that having a more accessible indexing system would greatly increase the number of potential buyers.

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That's definitely something we're considering, especially when it comes to the paper edition. We've given a lot of thought to ease of use, and we plan on including as many useful ways of indexing as possible.

 

In other news, as I announced in our most recent newsletter, we're considering doing an online video course about how to learn Chinese characters. We'll be explaining the Outlier system in detail, including how to apply this stuff now, before the dictionary is out. Maybe at Udemy or some place like that. Would anyone here be interested?

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That's going to depend a bit on price and where it's posted. I'm a fan of Udemy, they've got some really good courses there already. Without knowing your system, I don't know if it would make sense to do a short promotional course for free and then a more in depth one that you charge for. I'm guessing that it wouldn't make much sense.

 

I'm not surprised that you've already been considering indexing, indexes are probably the biggest problem for beginners and often times a bit of an issue for more experienced readers.

 

But, if it's as well thought out as I think it's going to be, I'd be likely to subscribe when it first comes out. Just please try to avoid too many hard sell techniques. It tends to irritate me and I refuse to buy such courses by habit. Good material shouldn't need too much pressure to sell.

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Well, we're not planning to do that sort of thing, or use any hard-sell tactics or anything like that. We're just kicking the idea around right now, but our philosophy is that whatever we do, it has to be quality. Quality speaks for itself, and if we have to resort to gimmicky marketing to sell something, it isn't worth selling. If we do a course, it will be reasonably priced and it will be worthwhile. The point is to put something out there that will be useful for people in the interim between now and when we release the dictionary.

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  • 1 month later...

I hope the publisher is able to do an ebook version rather than just a paper copy. I'll be back in China and I'd rather not have to deal with the inconvenience of a dead tree edition.

 

And I do agree with you about the functional components, it's just a shame that so many of the components don't have a name, which makes it a bit trickier to memorize them.

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  • 1 month later...

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