Python Language Program

This post will be discussing my Big Project I have worked on for DGST 395: Python_Language_Program.ipynb.

Over the course of the Spring 2021 semester, Dr. Whalen’s Applied Digital Studies class has been individually working towards a Big Project of their choice. The nature of these projects is different depending on each person, who have been allowed to generate their own project that furthers their learning in digital studies.

For the majority of the semester I have been working alongside a fellow classmate, Jamie Keller, as we create a program in Python. Our goal was to create a simple language practice program that will assist anyone learning a foreign language. Neither of us had much experience with Python code prior to this class, so this project soon proved to be both interesting and well beyond our reach. Despite some complications along the way, as well as limitations due to time restraints, we have managed to put together a working version of our code.

To make this project accessible to as many people as possible, we decided to create the entire thing in Google’s Colaboratory Notebooks. From there we started creating language files for two different languages: Latin and French. My partner was specializing in the Latin portions while I was focusing on the French. The idea was simple: create language files in Google Sheets that could be downloaded as .csv files, which could then be uploaded to Colab and run through a Python program.

For a quick introduction to Google Colab, watch this video. While it does not cover everything that you can do with colab, if will make you familiar with the tool that was used to create this project. TensorFlow. “Get Started with Google Colaboratory (Coding TensorFlow).”, January 30, 2019.

Writing out the language files was the easy part. Creating the code was the hard part.

I had never coded in my life before taking this class. I realized about halfway through this project that it could very well crash and burn, and that all out work will have been for nothing. Fortunately, Dr. Whalen has told us that this project is not about passing or failing; it is about learning. Anything we learn along the way means we will have succeeded in our goal for this project.

I did quite a bit of research. Both Jonathan Calazan (2012) and Sandy Diao (2020) had previously created programs with a similar goal in mind. I mainly based by program off Diao’s, but had to make some modifications since it was originally made in Python 2 and Colab uses Python 3. From there I tried to make the program as simple as possible, making it so anyone could come along and try to improve my code. It turned into various Python quizzes that allow you to upload a .csv file, either locally or through a mounted Drive. From there you simply type in the name of the file you can to practice, answer specification questions when prompted, enter the the number of rounds you want to practice, and then presto! You can practice French or Latin by using our files, or add your own in a language of your choice! The finished project can be found here: Python_Language_Program.ipynb. It is meant to be fully self contained, with links to Drives folders than contain all the vocabulary and sentence practices we made to accompany the Python quizzes. So if you give this program a chance, good luck! It is a bit awkward at times, but for my first time coding I consider it a success!

Feel free to leave a comment down below and tell me what you think if you tried it out! Everyone is free to make a copy for their own use. Keep in mind that this is meant to be nothing more than a study tool that was primarily for personal use and not a major language program. If anyone wishes to make use of this program, go ahead!

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