Learning languages is a great hobby, which really expands your horizon, and for a long time I was using common textbooks and mp3s. Especially I enjoyed the Assimil languages courses. Decoding short texts, i.e., word by word translation, and then read and hear the short decoded text several times is in my opinion the best way to learn vocabulary and grammar without pain in a natural way. And using texts which hit your interest is also very beneficial for language learning. Then learning is fun!
But looking up vocabulary in my online dictionaries and building the decoded text was cumbersome. Then I found LWT. The best language learning tool! LWT brings all mentioned things together: text + audio + dictionary and plus vocabulary trainer. And this all will boost up your language learning! So it's worth at this point to bring up a big and great THANK YOU to the LWT Project, the base of LWST!
After I became a big fan of LWT and recommended to all my friends. But lots of my friends do not have sufficient technical skills and background to install LWT. They got lost in the installation process, even though it is very well documented. So, I ended up to help my friends which were stuck with LWT installation. But after some LWT installations it became to time-consuming and I also got tired to set-up LWT over and over. Then I started thinking about a solution, and voila … the idea of LWST was born to bring this great tool to a wider audience.
However, LWST comes with all main features of LWT, but due to technical constraints like web space and database size, some small modifications were required. So, the text length is limited to 15,000 bytes (that is a text with ~2500 words, or ~900 symbols) and 4-8 active texts (depending on your plan) are allowed - but number of archived text is unlimited. But in my opinion these limitations do not really hurt, since for language learning short texts/audios are more useful and effective the learning process. And also the constraint to archive old texts helps you to be organized.
So, LWST is a derivative of LWT (that is free and open source). If you are short on money and if you are technical skilled feel free to use it. Also, it's better to install it on a web sever - instead on a local computer- because then it is always online and available form everywhere and not limited to your local machine.
However, the small price you pay for LWST is not for the software (that is free and open source), it is more a convenience charge to cover following services: installation, set-up and online availability (providing web space, databases, SQL Servers, bandwidth etc.). And finally the website and the CMS system requires continuous maintenance (security patches, updates etc.). All these things cost time and money.
All in all: LWST is an AWESOME tool and has a fair low pricing.
Sound good but ...?
Of course, you may find similar online-tools like LWST on the web, for example LingQ. It is no secret that LWST/LWT is inspired by Steve Kaufmann's LingQ System and Stephen Krashen's principles in Second Language Acquisition. And if you like LingQ more than LWST, then feel free use it. It is okay, there is nothing bad about this decision, it is up to you. However, consider LWST more than an alternative that provides you an opportunity, which has following qualities and characteristics:
- LWST focuses your learning on the essential!
- LWST has no gimmicks that distract you!
- LWST has fair pricing (to cover maintenance + operating costs)!