Are your electronic communiqués ostensibly bereft of magniloquence and erudition? Fret not: a new app translates your prosaic conversation into sentences with more bombastic, academic-sounding words – instead of "Hi", greet someone with "Salutations".
Q: How came the idea to create Words U about?
– We both struggled terribly with an endless number of flashcards when we were studying for standardized tests. We asked our teachers for the best way to learn and they always told us to read more. We were walking past a bookstore in NYC and realized that it isn't that people read less, they just read text messages instead of novels. Once the idea hit, we started to build Words U and have not looked back.
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Q: How can it “translate the conversation”?
– We built a custom dictionary and special algorithm to find the best words to transform in each sentence. The algorithm hunts for the best words, chooses them from our dictionary and then edits the rest of the sentence based on the rules of grammar.
Q: What is it’s purpose?
– Our initial intention was to build a tool that help students study for the SAT. However, since launching three weeks ago, over half of our users come from around the globe and want to learn English. Words U's unique ability to help place words in the proper idiom and context makes it a great tool for anyone looking to improve their English. And Words U also brings people from around the world together to share experiences.
Q: Don’t you think these message facilitating apps make people write worse?
– This is a very interesting question which is very difficult to answer. We believe that messaging apps are taking a different approach to communication, not "worse". That said, we hope that people will continue to use proper idioms and context as they message their friends - in our opinion, grammar is extremely important.
Q: Can people think you're pretentious, because of using Words U?
– Yes, that was a concern. In fact, that is why initial users have only 1 word swap per message, to limit over usage. We expect that users vocabulary will improve, but do not expect them to use all the words all at once.
Q: Is ‘social learning’ a future of education?
– We believe that Words U is a fantastic example of low effort, high impact learning that will continue to flourish as technology improves. Over the last several years, Khan Academy, MOOCs, and countless other tools have broken down the walls to education and provided an even playing field to learn. We believe that social learning, like Words U, is the next iteration of everyone learning, regardless of their background.
To know more: www.wordsu.com