Idioms are common sayings that native languages often use. For English language learners and students with autism, idioms are very challenging. Idioms often have no clear relation to their meaning and are not literal, and thus hard to learn and understand. English-as-a-second-language learners and students with autism can have better conversations and more deeply engage with native English speakers when they have idioms in their vocabulary.

What it does

The learner can search for a word or phrase. Idiomatic will return an idiom, its meaning and (will include) a relevant YouTube video. This is valuable for the learner, as they will find the meaning and have a visual reference for the idiom.

How we built it

Set up involved:

  • Create Heroku project
  • Create Github repo
  • Set up Ruby on Rails
  • Install React
  • Create database in SQLite 3

Our project involved:

  • Wireframing
  • Research on idioms
  • Design process
  • Compiled idiom data into a spreadsheet (idiom, meaning).
  • Put compiled idioms into database
  • Lots of coding!

Challenges we ran into

We ran out of time to add in the YouTube API in order for the learner to view a relevant video. Most of day was spent creating the framework. If this was a two-day hackathon, we would have had time.

We were unable to find an API that would allow us to only search for or use idioms, so data entry was more manual than we would have liked.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  • Learning: Team members took the time to teach each other.
  • Collaboration: Each team member contributed and each contribution was valued.
  • Agility: We moved quickly to build Idiomatic, all while a number of us were attending workshops.

What we learned

For two of us, this was our first hackathon. We learned how quickly we could develop a working app, which was very exciting for us. Many of us worked with new technologies for the first time.

What's next for Idiomatic

Future versions of Idiomatic can include a number of great new features:

  • Pronunciation of the idiom
  • Translation of idiom into learner's language using a dictionary API
  • Use of sentiment analysis in order to provide additional details on the emotions that are associated with the idiom
  • Ability for learner to find random idiom
  • Additional grammar information on idiom used in a sentence
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