|The information presented here covers Parley in the KDE Software Compilation 4.5. For older versions you can find the original manual for older versions here: Parley Handbook|
This manual was written by Sabine Eller, Daniel Laidig and Frederik Gladhorn.
Copyright 2010 Sabine Eller, Daniel Laidig and Frederik Gladhorn
Parley is a vocabulary trainer. It helps you to memorize your vocabulary, for example when you are trying to learn a foreign language. You can create your own vocabulary collections with the words you need or select from a great variety of available Vocabulary Collections. There you can find collections containing language vocabulary and also anatomy, music, geography, chemistry or exam preparation.
Parley is very flexible and uses the flash card learning approach. It automatically keeps track of your learning progress. With Parley you can arrange your vocabulary as you wish, you create your own lessons as needed. But unlike real flash cards you can use different learning methods with Parley.
Flashcards contain expressions on the front side and their translation on the back. You start with a pile of cards. If you know the translation on a card, you can put it into a second pile of cards. If you did not remember it, you keep it in the first one to try again later.
Parley's main focus is not to teach you grammar. However, there are some exercise forms which may help you in this matter.
In this manual the term Vocabulary Collection refers to a file that contains lessons and the vocabulary in the lessons.
Both, the Editor and the Practice can be reached from the Start Page.
Tip: Like in all applications try to use the right-click if you explore features and functionality in Parley. The right-click displays a "context menu" that shows what you can do with your present situation. Try right-clicking lessons and words to find some options.
When you first launch Parley the Start Page welcomes you. At first the Start Page is empty, once you opened some vocabulary collections, it shows you the ones you worked with most recently.
A vocabulary collection is a file that contains words and their translations into other languages or other pairs of words and sentences that you want to memorize. The words are organized in lessons.
To start practicing, click one of the vocabulary collections in the list. You are taken to the practice setup.
Note that a small Editor Icon appears to the right of the document name when you move the mouse over it. The Editor Icon lets you open the collection in the editor instead of practice mode. To edit a collection, click on the Editor Icon on its right hand side.
If you'd like to start your own collection of vocabulary, click on "Create a New Collection".
You can also open a collection if you have it on your computer already but it's not in the list.
The last button on the Start Page offers you to download vocabulary collections made by others. When you created a file that you'd like to share with others, you can easily upload it from the editor.
Parley comes with different themes, you can switch to a different graphical style in the settings. Further information under Configure Parley.
Let's suppose your collection is already on your hard disk.
This is how you will see your screen the first time you start Parley:
Click on Open an Existing Collection
In the file selection dialog navigate to the directory containing the data file, select it by clicking on it. Depending on your system the file opens immediately or you have to click on OK
The file is loaded and you go straight to the Practice setup screen: see the following section for further details.
To start practicing you select a document after starting Parley. If you have it opened in the editor already, just click Practice in the toolbar.
Before the actual practice starts, you always get to the Practice Setup page. There are three areas which allow you to choose what to practice:
On the left you can select the combination of languages you will practice. If you select for example English to French, you will be shown English words and Parley will ask you to enter the French translations.
Below the language selection you choose the practice mode. Practice Modes determine how the practice will ask you questions.
In the big part on the right, you see the lessons of the vocabulary collection. You can select which lessons you want to practice with the checkbox in front of the lesson name. The number of words that each lesson contains is shown next to its name. On the right of the name you see your current progress for the lesson.
The Advanced Practice Configuration allows you to specify more advanced settings that will affect the practice.
In the Practice Setup page you reach the Advanced Practice Configuration with the Configure Practice button in the toolbar. The button with the green icon.
If you plan to practice your vocabulary regularly, you should make sure that the Blocking feature is enabled. The Blocking options are part of the Advanced Practice Configuration. There you go to the blocking page and tick the checkbox that says Blocking. Now you can even configure the interval in which words that you answered correctly will be repeated.
Blocking means that words will not be asked for some period of time after the last practice. This period of time depends on how good you know the word, so that words you don't know yet will be asked more frequently.
Thresholds are another way of limiting what you want to practice.
You can decide to practice only words that you know better or less good than some grade. Or you can select only words that you have practiced a certain number of times. With the word type selection you can choose to only practice some word types, for example nouns or verbs.
You can find several more configuration options for the practice in the advanced settings page.
The most important options are:
After having activated the Flash Card Practice Mode and having clicked on Start Practice the following screen shows up. The Flash Card training mode works just as if you would do it with "real" flash cards. You imagine the the result and should you wish some help, you can click on Hint which will start to give you the result one letter at a time.
You can also decide to skip a word for now. When you click Answer Later the word will show up again at a later time.
Clicking on Continue reveals the solution. At this stage you then have to tell if you knew the answer. If you did not know it, click I did not know it. If you did remember the answer, click I knew it. This will take you to the next question.
Tip: Instead of clicking Continue you can also use the Spacebar of your keyboard.
You can stop practicing anytime by clicking on Stop Practice.
Mixed Letters is a training method that provides you with an immediate help: all letters that are part of the solution are shown mixed up:
Should you wish some help, you can click on Hint which will give you the solution one letter at a time. Of course you can also decide to Answer Later by clicking on that button.
To give the answer type it in the blank field below the mixed letters and press the Enter key or Continue button.
If your answer was correct Parley will tell you so and you can press Enter again or click on Continue to go ahead with the next question.
Should you enter a wrong answer, you will be told to try again:
If you don't know the answer, just click on Continue a second time. Then the following comes up and you are shown the solution. Go ahead with Continue.
After the solution is revealed, you see a big icon on the right that indicates if your answer will count as right or wrong. You can overrule how your answer is counted. See Counting an Answer as Right.
In Multiple Choice mode you are shown a number of potential answers, of which only one is correct. By clicking on Hint Parley excludes one of the wrong answers so that your choice gets more and more restricted with each further click on Hint. Of course you may also choose to Answer Later.
Once you made your choice by clicking on what you believe to be correct, Parley shows up with the screen below if the answer was right. Go ahead with the next question by clicking on Continue.
If your answer instead was wrong, the correct answer will be shown in green and the wrong one in red. Also here you go ahead by clicking on Continue.
After the solution is revealed, you see a big icon on the right that indicates if your answer will count as right or wrong. You can overrule how your answer is counted. See Counting an Answer as Right.
If you wish to stop practice, just click on the Stop Practice button.
When you select the option Written to do your practice you are supposed to type in the solution. You can use the button Hint which will start to give you the result one letter at a time. Of course you can also decide to Answer Later by clicking on that button.
Once you entered the solution, click on Continue and Parley will show you if your answer was correct. Go ahead by clicking on Continue again.
Should you give a wrong answer, you may try again several times to find the right answer. Only if you don't try again and just click on Continue the solution will be shown.
Go ahead practicing by clicking on Continue or stop by clicking on the button Stop Practice.
When the solution is revealed, you see a big icon on the right that indicates if your answer will count as right or wrong. You can overrule how your answer is counted. See Counting an Answer as Right.
After the solution is revealed, you see a big icon on the right that indicates if your answer will count as right or wrong. If you see the big checkmark, Parley thinks you were right.
If you needed more than one attempt to answer correctly, your answer will be counted as wrong.
You can click the small icon next to the indicator to change how your answer is counted. The big symbol always indicates how the answer is counted.
You can reset all your practice scores (remove the grades) to the initial state. When being in edit mode select Edit from the menu bar and then Remove Grades.
Furthermore you can reset your grades for individual lessons from within the Practice Setup by right clicking on the lesson to reset and choose Remove Grades.
The summary shows up when you finish a learning session. In the big bar on the top it shows you how well you did.
Below is a table with all the words you practiced, together with the mistakes you made. The words with the most mistakes are on top so you can easily see what you do not know yet.
With Parley you can also learn specific grammar structures, such as the gender of nouns, the comparison forms of adjectives and the conjugation of verbs. Let's look at some examples.
Once the practice mode Gender of Nouns is activated, click on Start Practice.
In the case below we use German as language to learn and so you have three genders to choose from: masculine, feminine and neuter. By clicking on Hint one of the wrong answers gets excluded. Of course you can also decide to Answer Later by clicking on that button.
You should enter the articles for the language in the Editor to see the articles instead of the grammatical gender terms. Also note that this only works, if the gender of the words has been set up properly. See Word Types for more information how to change the word type to the right gender.
When you give the correct answer the following is shown and you go ahead practicing by clicking on Continue.
Should you give the wrong answer the following is shown and you go ahead practicing by clicking on Continue.
You can stop practicing anytime by clicking on Stop Practice.
On the Practice screen select Comparison Forms and then click on Start Practice to go ahead.
This only works when the conjugation forms of the word have been entered in the vocabulary collection. See Entering Comparison Forms.
The exericse requires you to enter the comparison forms for the term shown. In this case the translation of the English word old to German. The German language has three forms: absolute, comparative and superlative. To go on with the exercise just click on Continue.
To practice conjugations choose the Conjugations mode and the tenses you wish to exercise.
Then click on Start Practice. You are required to enter the correct conjugation forms according to the tense shown. To go ahead click on Continue
Before you start using a vocabulary collection or create your own it is helpful to understand the different elements in Parley and configure them accordingly. The next sections will guide you step by step through this process. There are several locations in Parley for settings:
Entering meta data like a title and your contact info is relevant if you plan to make your collection available for other people. Use File->Properties to edit the data.
Set up some grammar details to let Parley help you. Use Edit->Languages to pull up the grammar dialog.
Articles in English are simply the which is the definite article and a as indefinite article. Most other languages have more articles which can be filled in at the articles tab.
For conjugations the personal pronouns should be filled out. Most languages do not have different conjugation forms for he/she/it, in that case, you should not check Male/Female have different conjugations! Simply enter the pronouns for all three forms. Personal Pronouns in English:
Tenses: Depending on the language, you can enter the right tenses which you later want to learn how to conjugate. Examples are: Simple Present, Simple Past, Future I etc.
Btw. by clicking on the Add New Language button you can add an additional language to your collection.
On the General tab the basic language settings, like here
You can leave Keyboard layout empty if you are not sure about what you are using. Parley will then simply take the standard layout of your computer.
Let's have a look at the Articles tab: Spanish knows only male and female nouns, therefore the field Neutral remains empty.
Spanish Personal Pronouns have multiple forms for 3rd person singular and 1st, 2nd and 3rd person plural. To remain consistent, the possibilities should be entered with a / between the two forms.
Under Tenses you will find the various tenses that are available for a verbform. You can add to the tenses that are already there by clicking on New, modify with Modify or in case something does not actually exist simply Delete the tense after having it selected.
On the left you have a list of lessons. If you started a new collection, this list might be empty except for one lesson that was created by default for you.
If you cannot see the list of lessons, you might have to enable it in the View menu - View->Lessons.
The check boxes in front of the lesson name show which lessons are currently included in your practice. The number next to it is the number of words in the lesson.
Add a new lesson: Select where this lesson belongs to, for example the collection My Spanish Lessons.
In the Lesson menu, select New Lesson.
Please make sure to select the right point in the tree structure of lessons before selecting New Lesson. In our case, wanting a Sub-Lesson of Collection: My Spanish Lesson it is exactly that one that needs to be selected before going ahead with New Lesson.
To change the name of a lesson, double click it, or right click on the lesson and choose "rename". You can also delete it this way (but you'll loose its contents also then).
If you don't like the arrangement of lessons, you can move a lesson with the mouse. You can drag it onto another lesson, then it will become a child of that lesson.
If your lessons grow too big, you can choose to split them up to make learning easier in small units. 20 words for a lesson is probably a good size. Right click a lesson, or use Lesson->Split and the lesson will be separated into child lessons. You can choose to randomize the words that are put into the new lessons before assigning them, or to keep them in order.
Parley shows always the words of the lesson that you have currently selected. You can enable to see the words in sub-lessons contained in this lesson also. Use Lesson→Show Entries from Child Lessons to enable this. That way, you can browse all words by selecting the document lesson at the very top.
Parley lets you associate word types with the words. Word types are for example: Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives and Adverbs.
In order to work with word types, enable the word type tool: View→Word Types
You can categorize the word types just like lessons.
If you want to see all words of a certain type - e.g. all nouns, simply select the noun category, and you will see only nouns in the table.
The easiest way to set the word type, is to drag and drop a word onto its type. You can even do this with multiple words at the same time.
Use "Add New Entry" in the toolbar to add new words. You can start typing the word in the first language right away. By default Parley lets you enter another word when you press enter in the last row, so you don't have to keep using the add button. After entering the first word, press enter or tab to go to the next language.
If you want to replace a word, select its entry and start typing. To change the word instead, double click the entry and you can change the contents of the cell without losing the old word.
Press TAB to go to the next word. Enter leaves the editing mode. You can use the arrow keys to move around.
Synonyms are hard to set up and do not always work really well. Here is how you set them up in any case:
The words will now be shown as connected in the synonym tool and can be recognized as synonyms in the practice.
First show the sound tool by selecting View in the menu bar and then clicking on Image. The checkbox in front of Image will then be activated. This will show up the picture section on the right hand side of the Parley screen
To add an image to a word make sure the word is highlighted. In the image section on the right hand side click on the Folder icon and choose the picture you wish to associate.
First show the sound tool by selecting View in the menu bar and then clicking on Sound. This will show up the sound section on the right hand side of the Parley screen.
To add a sound to a word make sure the word is highlighted. In the sound section on the right hand side click on the Folder icon and choose the sound you wish to associate.
In this section we will describe how to create new files and this not only with the usual vocabulary learning part, but also for grammar exercises, mathematics etc.
In this section we describe how you can create a vocabulary training file including pictures and sound. In a second stage we will also add adjectives and verbs. This is a very complete example and therefore quite long. Eventually you will not need all points for your project.
Since we wish to add soundfiles and pictures, we should make sure that these will all be in one folder which for convenience is being called eng-deu. Our data file we create with Parley will be saved in the same folder. This will help a lot when you decide to share your work with others.
So this is what we have in terms of soundfiles and pictures:
Let's start from the Start Page which is shown once you launch Parley:
Click on the button Create a New Collection
The General Document Properties page shows up which is being filled as follows (just adapt to what your file is about):
Next click on OK. The following screen asks you to set up the language details. Here we don't want to change anything and therefore we just click on OK.
As a first step, let's just create the vocabulary part. We will think about the addition of the soundfiles and pictures in a second stage. So this is how the lesson looks like:
Before we do anything else, let's save the file to the folder with the pictures and soundfiles. Just click on the Save icon and select the folder using the navigation. In this example we will call the file Trainer eng-deu - once you entered the name just click on save.
If you now check your folder where the soundfiles and pictures are, you will also find the file Trainer eng-deu.kvtml
Let's have a short look at the words we want to add: apple, bird, cat, cherry, cow, orange, pear, snake, strawberry. We have animals and fruit and therefore we decide to create two lessons that are called: Animals and Fruit.
We now change Lesson 1 to Animals and then will add a lesson called Fruit. Right-click on Lesson 1 and choose Rename Lesson from the options shown. Now Lesson 1 is highlighted and you can simply overwrite it by typing in Animals. When done, just hit the return button. Now right-click on Collection: Vocabulary trainer E... which is the root of the lesson tree and choose New Lesson from the options shown. In the new field write Fruit and hit the return button.
Let's insert first the animals. Please click on the lesson Animals and you will get the empty table you can fill in. Just a first click with your mouse in the first field, insert the source terms in the first column and the target terms in the second column. Once you inserted all 4 English animal names with their German translation the screen looks like this:
Having only 4 entries there are quite some empty lines which should be deleted. To do this there are two possibilities: click on the first empty field, keep the shift key pressed and click on the last empty field to delete. All lines to be deleted will be highlighted. The press the Del key and confirm the question Do you really want to delete the selected entries? by clicking on the Delete button.
Let's add the fruit terminology. Just click on the lesson named Fruit. This second lesson is completely empty. Since we have five fruit terms we need to add five lines. Therefore press the Ins key five times and then, just like before we add our terminology.
Don't forget to save every now and then ...
A click on the root of our lesson tree Collection: Vocabulary trainer E... and Parley will show us all entries that are present in the two lessons:
Time to add sound and images. First of all we need to activate the view for Image and Sound. From the menu bar select View and there click on Image and then Sound. Once these options are activated you get two new sections on the right hand side of the Parley editing screen: Image and Sound.
Well apple is highlighted, so let's add the picture. In the image section on the right hand side click on the Folder icon and choose the picture you wish to associate.
To add the pronunciation of apple, just do the same in the Sound section, selecting the relevant sound file.
And that's what the screen then looks like:
By clicking on the Play button you can listen to the pronunciation.
Then click on Apfel highlighting the field. Like you will note the picture with the apple is associated also to the German term. In the sound section select the pronunciation, just like before.
Just go ahead like this for all terms.
Time to add adjectives and verbs as lessons to our project. So just do as before with the lesson Fruit and create two new lessons: Adjectives and Verbs. Let's assume we will add big, small, old, young, narrow' in the adjective lesson and to go, to come, to buy, to drink, to eat in the verb lesson.
The following shows a screenshot with all inserted terminology. Now words are mixed and it would be nice to see what is a noun, adjective or verb.
As next step we are going to show up the Word Type. Select View in the menu bar and then select Vocabulary Columns. We activate Word Type for English and German by clicking on the checkbox in front of Word Type. Then click on OK to accept the changes.
By clicking on the fields in the column Word Type you can select the word type and for those languages where nouns have a gender you can also select the Noun/Gender combination. Below the Word Type column with part of the selections already done.
Once we attributed all word types we first will care about the Adjectives and add the Comparison Forms to it. So let's move to the Adjectives lesson only.
To show the Comparison Forms on the right hand side of the screen, select View in the menu bar and activate the Comparison Forms checkbox.
So let's edit the Comparison forms by adding Comparative and Superlative to the single adjectives. First click on the adjective for which you wish to add the comparison forms, in our case big and add bigger and biggest. Then we simply pass on with the next adjective to complete until we have finished.
Let's care about the Conjugation form of the Verbs. Select the Verbs lesson and then activate the conjugation section on the right hand side by selecting View from the menu bar and activating Conjugation. As an example we edit the present tense (Präsens) form of gehen. Please first select Präsens from the drop down menu and then add the verb forms.
Just do this for all verbs and in all possible tenses.
Once you are done you can start to practice by clicking on the Practice button.
This exercise was created for the 3rd class of an Italian primary school. Pupils are supposed to connect single names with collective names, such as tree --> woods
When you start Parley you get the start page, eventually also listing some previously used files (that you cannot see here).
Click on Create a New Collection and the following screen with empty or partly filled fields will show up:
Fill in the title, here nomi singoli e collettivi, your name, e-mail address, in the Comment section you can write down a more detailed description, select your category and license. Then there we have something special: instead of indicating the first and second language, like it normally would happen, we added nome singolo (single name) and nome collettivo (collective name). Setup Grammar Details and Download Grammar are not needed here. In the screenshot they are still activated - please deactivate them by just clicking on the checkboxes. When you are done, please click on OK.
The Properties page for nome singolo comes up and here you see it already with the necessary changes made:
On the left hand side you can see where the data you are adding belongs to. nome singolo. Choose the language, here Italian and insert nome singolo in the following editable field. Then click on OK.
Now the Properties page for nome collettivo is shown:
Like before: choose Italian as language and insert nome collettivo and click on OK.
And now you can start to edit:
Just insert the nome singolo (single name) in the first column and the corresponding nome collettivo (collective name) in the second column.
If the number of available fields is not enough, just right-click anywhere on the edit section and choose Add New Entry. Don't forget to save your file every now and then. When you have finished adding all entries you will want to see if Practice mode works fine. Well just click on the Practice button right above the edit section and the page with the practice settings comes up:
In this case Multiple Choice is a good option, but also Written will do fine. After choosing the Practice Mode just click on Start Practice and have fun.
When you are on the Start Page you have the possibility to install Collections directly from the server, provided you are online. Just click on Download New Collections.
A window with many interesting collections opens. Just select what you find most interesting and click on Install. Then open the file to practice or edit.
You can configure the appearance of Parley from the Start Page or from within the Edit section. Select Settings from the menu bar and then Configure Parley.
The configuration opens with the Theme section. This is the place where you can choose how Parley should greet you when launching it: an elegant Grey version, the all time busy Bees or the Fluffy Bunny for all those who love pink. Btw. it could well be that Fluffy Bunny is not in your version, this means that if you want it, you need to look closely at the following lines.
Once you selected your preferred theme, click on OK.
Screenshots of the Bees and Fluffy Bunny themes:
And if these are not enough: you can click on Get New Themes to find more themes. Over time we hope that more and more themes come along. If you know how to create SVG graphics (for example with Inkscape), you can create your own theme and share it with the world.
Additional themes can be found on kde-look.org
The General tab gives you some options regarding the behavior of Parley.
Always load the last opened collection on start will immediately take you back to the vocabulary you were learning. Often you will use this together with the second option Save vocabularies on close and quit because it's just handy not to have always answer the same question if changes (including learning results) should be changed or not. The option Create a backup every ... minutes can be very handy to help you save your work frequently. One less thing to think about.
Sometimes the import and/or export of text (CSV) files can be very handy and there you need the proper separator to elaborate data afterwards or to be able to read the data you got from somewhere else. Parley allows you to choose among various separators to make sure you can re-use your data.
Here you can determine that Parley automatically appends new rows while you are editing your vocabulary collection. This can be of advantage when you just go ahead adding and maybe afterwards create various lessons. On the other hand it can be good to have this option off, when you create lessons that should have a maximum number of entries.
The View Settings allows you to change font and its size, very handy when you work on a netbook for example, and you can choose the Grade Colours you like best.
It is possible to install Parley together with other Educational software on Windows systems. For further info please visit http://windows.kde.org
You can upload your files and share them with others. Use the upload button from the file menu in the Editor within Parley.
If that does not work, you can also visit kde-files.org. In either case the files will show up in the Download New Collections dialog on the Start Page.
If you are interested in the file formats that Parley can read and stores the vocabulary collections in, visit: Parley File Formats on userbase.kde.org