• Language Learning Reading Challenge 2019

    I am excited to share the fourth annual Language Learning Reading Challenge with you.

    Starting January 2019, we’ll tackle one book per month covering a topic related to language and share our experiences as a group. Please feel free to join us. You can participate by commenting on the posts here at Eurolinguiste or by joining the group on Facebook.

    As part of the challenge, we will be read books that cover everything from culture, language learning, general learning techniques, history, and more. Plus, we’ll be reading both in our native languages and target languages.

    If you’re at a more advanced level in your target language, feel free to read any or all of the books (not just the ones indicated as target language only) in the language that you’re learning. If you’re still just getting started, that’s okay, too! You can read along in your native language, discovering more about the cultures and histories tied to the language(s) that you’re learning, opting for lower level or graded readers for books in your target language.

    Please note that you don’t have to pick just one language for this challenge. If you’re learning multiple languages, feel free to mix and match. The challenge is pretty flexible. I’ve planned it this way so you can get the most learning possible out of it over this next year.

    The Materials that make up the 2019 Language Reading Challenge

    1 January // A tutorial, recipe, or lesson in your target language (if you’re up for a bigger challenge, read an entire book on the subject)
    2. February // A book on learning strategies (any learning strategy, not just language related, but it can be about language learning if you prefer)
    3. March // A book written in your target language (this can be a translation from your native language or a book originally written in your target language)
    4. April // Read something humor-related in your language to get a sense of comedy and what’s funny in your language 
    5. May // Read an introduction to your language – if you’re an advanced learner, find an article or chapter in your coursebook that explains something that you’re struggling with in particular
    6. June // History of the region, culture, or language that you are studying
    7. July // Read something about a language you’re not learning (it can be an article, an introduction to the language, or an entire book)
    8. August // A book written by a language blogger (you can find books by bloggers such as Steve Kaufmann, Anthony MetivierKerstin Cable, Benny Lewis, Barbara Oakley, yours truly, and more)
    9. September // A book about a language, a family of languages, a writing system, or something related to linguistics
    10. October // Read a Wikipedia article in your target language
    11. November // A book written in your target language (originally, not a translation)
    12. December // Read a book about your native language

    A Few Notes Regarding the Challenge:

    The challenge doesn’t have to focus on one language, if you are studying multiple languages (or have an interest in languages you’re not studying), feel free to go for books in or about those languages.

    You are absolutely welcome to read books of any level. Graded readers, children’s books, academic books or any other genre are acceptable for the challenges that require you to read in your target language(s).

    You do not need to participate every month to be a part of this challenge. You can choose the months that align with your interests.

    If you do not complete the book you take up in any one month of the challenge, that’s okay! You can still join in the conversation and share some of what you’ve learnt from the sections of the book you were able to get through.

    Language Reading Challenge Linkup Rules:

    1. Share your post discussing the book that you’ve read this month. Submissions unrelated to the theme or links to your homepage will be deleted. You can share in the comments or use the link below to join us on Facebook.

    2. Follow the host: Shannon from Eurolinguiste.

    3. OPTIONAL: Join us on Facebook.

    January 1, 2019 • Language Resources • Views: 781

  • Clear the List | Language Learning Strategies Update | January

    Happy New Year to you and yours – a little early. I wanted to get a jumpstart on my language learning goals because I am excited about what I have planned for the new year.

    What’s in store? As a preview, I can tell you that my next language – Japanese – is a big feature. And a huge part of why I’m ecstatic about 2018.

    Onto #clearthelist

    If you’re new around these parts, #clearthelist is a linkup where we share our monthly goals, and by we, I mean myself, Lindsay of Lindsay Does Languages.

    We’d absolutely love for you to a part of our community. You can join us by adding a link to your own goal post below.

    So let’s get started, sharing our goals and motivating one another to #clearthelist!

    Please feel free to tag your posts or photos with either #clearthelist on your favorite social media channels!

    Last Month’s Highlights on Instagram

    Last Month’s Blog Highlights

    Travel

    Why Do You Travel? // I asked you what gets you out exploring, and you gave me an incredible of reasons to travel. 

    Language Learning

    10 Minimalist Gift Ideas for Language Learners // Not all language learners want new books or sets of flashcards. Here are a few more ideas for gifts for language learners – whether you’re treating yourself or a friend.

    How to Choose Language Learning Resources // An update of an old, but popular post. I’ve learned a lot since I originally wrote the post, so I revised it to reflect that.

    My New Language Learning Project // I announce my next (and likely, final) new language. 

    Last Month’s Goals

    Continue filling the gaps in my Mandarin vocabulary I’ve noticed since Little Linguist’s arrival. // Yes! We have several new books he received as Christmas gifts that we’re reading together.

    Plan out the Language Reading Challenge prompts for next year. // Done! You can find them here and if you haven’t already, you can join us on Facebook!

    Decide what I’m going to do next. // Also done. It’s Japanese!

    This Month’s Goals

    Continue filling the gaps in my Mandarin vocabulary I’ve noticed since Little Linguist’s arrival. // Like I said, we have lots of books we’re enjoying together.

    Read the next Language Reading Challenge book on my list. // In February we’re reading about the history of the language or culture you’re learning. My brother got me a book about the languages of China, so that’s probably what I’ll read that month.

    Keep working through my YouTube Queue.  // Even though this wasn’t on my list, I watched more than 200 of the language lessons and videos in my queue. Woot woot. I want to keep slowly pecking away at what’s there. 

    Read something in Chinese, French, and/or Spanish and Russian. // It’s important for me to maintain these languages. 

    Finish distilling my Japanese notes. // I started studying Japanese for about a week before I did the Fi3M Challenge. For Christmas, my gift was a set of new notebooks. One of these is my new Japanese-dedicated notebook. I need to transcribe all my notes into it. I want to stay organized with this language from the start.

    Overall language maintenance. // Even though I’m taking on a new language (which I will ultimately focus on for a short time), I want to be sure to continue to maintain all of my old languages. Now that I’m done taking on new languages, I plan to do more short-term, dedicated projects to keep growing my past languages.

    Resources I Used This Month

    A quick recap on the materials I am using.

    What I Am Using to Learn Chinese

    What I’m Using to Brush Up/Improve My French:

    • LingQ
    • Immersion (we speak franglais at home)
    • Reading books written by French authors
    • Listening to French radio/podcasts
    • Lingoci

    What I am Using to Learn Russian:

    What I am Using to Learn Korean:

    • I am on a break from Korean

    What I am Using to Learn Spanish:

    What I’m Using to Learn Japanese:

    What I’m Using for Little Linguist

    Resources That Aren’t Language Specific

    • None

    The Biggest Lesson I Am Taking Away from This Month

    The art of focus. 

    There are so many languages I would love to learn. But it’s come to the point where it’s more important to me to get much better at the languages I’ve already studied than it is for me to get just okay at a few more.

    It’s definitely a hard decision. There’s at least one more language that I’ve always wanted to learn, but focusing on the 8+ languages I’ve already invested so much time into is now my priority.

    Don’t forget that I would love to hear all about your goals for this month! Please join us by adding your post to the linkup below! 

    Clear The List Linkup Rules:

    1. Share your goal post whether it includes your aspirations for the month or year. Submissions unrelated to the theme or links to your homepage will be deleted.

    2. Link back to this post. You can use our button if you wish.

    3. Follow the hosts: Lindsay from Lindsay Does Languages and Shannon from Eurolinguiste.

    4. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE: Please visit the site of the person who linked up immediately before you and leave them an encouraging comment! By hosting this linkup, we’re hoping to create a positive community where we can all share our goals. If you do not do this, you will be removed from the linkup.

    5. Share on social media using #ClearTheList
    An InLinkz Link-up

    Set your language learning goals as a part of the Clear the List Link Up hosted by Shannon Kennedy of Eurolinguiste and Lindsay Williams of Lindsay Does Languages #clearthelist
    
     
      
            

    December 28, 2018 • Eurolinguiste • Views: 144

  • Clear The List | Monthly Language Learning Strategies Update | December

    With November came an amazing trip to Budapest, Hungary with the rest of the Drops team. It was the first time I had the chance to meet everyone and it was an inspiring week.

    It was also the big reveal for my project so I can finally let you know what language I’ve been working on for the last month or two. It’s… Hungarian! 

    The founders of Drops are Hungarian and because it was my first trip with the team and it happened to be in Hungary, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try Hungarian and surprise them with it. I’ll share more about the project soon, so keep an eye out for more posts in the next few weeks.

    On to #clearthelist …

    If you’re new around these parts, #clearthelist is a linkup where we share our monthly goals, and by we, I mean myself, and Lindsay of Lindsay Does Languages.

    We’d absolutely love for you to a part of our community. You can join us by adding a link to your own goal post below.

    So let’s get started, sharing our goals and motivating one another to #clearthelist!

    Please feel free to tag your posts or photos with either #clearthelist on your favorite social media channels!

    Last Month’s Highlights on Instagram

    Last Month’s Goals

    Continue filling the gaps in my Mandarin vocabulary I’ve noticed since Little Linguist’s arrival. // This month, I didn’t work on this as much as I would have liked. Definitely to change in the next month.

    Read the next Language Reading Challenge book on my list. // In November, we read a book originally written in a language that we’re learning. I read through some of the Croatian articles that I found about the Croatian and Serbian languages.

    Keep working through my YouTube Queue.  // I ended up having a two day cram session and got through a lot of my lesson videos. 

    Fluent in 3 Months Challenge // Made it through the first month and a half of the challenge and caught up sharing my updates once my project was revealed.

    Secret Language Project // Yay, Hungarian!

    This Month’s Goals

    Continue filling the gaps in my Mandarin vocabulary I’ve noticed since Little Linguist’s arrival. // A permanent item on my monthly list. 

    Read the next Language Reading Challenge book on my list. // In December, we’re reading something about a language you’re not learning (it can be an article, an introduction to the language, or an entire book). I haven’t yet selected what I’ll read, but I’m looking forward to this months’ theme.

    Keep working through my YouTube Queue.  // Will be working on this one for a while.

    Fluent in 3 Months Challenge // This month is when the Day 60 video is up, so I plan to prepare for that.

    Resources I Used This Month

    A quick recap of the materials I am using.

    What I Am Using to Learn Chinese

    • LingQ – my favorite tool
    • iTalki Lessons – I have weekly Chinese lessons
    • Memrise – I do 18,000 points minimum per day 
    • Drops – they have a new character tool that is fantastic

    What I’m Using to Brush Up/Improve My French:

    • LingQ
    • Immersion (we speak franglais at home)
    • Listening to French radio/podcasts
    • Lingoci

    What I am Using to Learn Russian:

    What I am Using to Learn Korean:

    What I am Using to Learn Spanish:

    What I am Using to Learn Italian:

    What I’m Using to Learn Japanese:

    What I’m Using to Learn Croatian:

    What I’m Using to Learn Hungarian:

    What I’m Using for Little Linguist

    • Lots of books (I picked up several in both Singapore and Shanghai)
    • Day-to-day interaction
    • Mommy and Me weekly classes

    Resources That Aren’t Language Specific

    The Biggest Lesson I Am Taking Away from This Month

    The first week and a half of November are when I really buckled down and started to study Hungarian. I wanted to speak well enough to really surprise the Drops founders and though I was nervous, I was pretty happy with what I was able to accomplish in that time. I am sure I still made mistakes, but I was able to use Hungarian in a variety of situations while I was in Budapest and it made my time there that much more enjoyable. 

    So the lesson?

    Learning a bit of the language before you travel somewhere definitely makes your time there that much more enjoyable. 

    Don’t forget that I would love to hear all about your goals for this month! Please join us by adding your post to the linkup below! 

    Clear The List Linkup Rules:

    1. Share your goal post whether it includes your aspirations for the month or year. Submissions unrelated to the theme or links to your homepage will be deleted.

    2. Link back to this post. You can use our button if you wish.

    3. Follow the hosts: Lindsay from Lindsay Does Languages and Shannon from Eurolinguiste.

    4. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE: Please visit the site of the person who linked up immediately before you and leave them an encouraging comment! By hosting this linkup, we’re hoping to create a positive community where we can all share our goals. If you do not do this, you will be removed from the linkup.

    5. Share on social media using #ClearTheList
    An InLinkz Link-up

    November 27, 2018 • Eurolinguiste • Views: 146

  • Black Friday Deals for Language Learners 2018

    You’ve worked hard this last year at your language studies, and what better way to celebrate your progress than by rewarding yourself with an early holiday gift? 

    By investing in your studies, you’re also preparing yourself for the new year with new resources so that you have a place to start when all of the craziness of the holiday season is through. Or, you can always get a little something for your language learning friend!

    As a part of Black Friday, I’m really excited to offer an incredible selection of discounts on my courses this year. 

    Language Learning Accelerator

    With four jobs, a toddler, a blog, and eight languages under my belt, I’ve had a lot of experience developing time management and energy management skills. I created this course to share them with you. If you ever feel too busy to learn a language, or too tired, Language Learning Accelerator has all the tools you need to work through it and finally find the time to learn your language.

    Get 50% off Language Learning Accelerator $48.50 (normally $97)

    The Courage to Speak

    In partnership with Fluent in 3 Months, I put together a course to help you build the confidence to start speaking your language and connecting with others. Each module includes a video lesson, a worksheet, and exercises that put you on the path towards becoming a confident speaker of your target language. As a part of the course, you’re also given access to Say Goodbye to Shy.

    Get 34% off The Courage to Speak 

    Get By In Croatian

    I recently launched a Croatian language course and you can get all of the bonus materials for the first season for 50% off. There will be 20 total lessons and for each you have a video lesson, the audio, bonus audio, and a PDF worksheet. 

    Get 50% off Get By In Croatian $43.50 (normally $87)

    Language Study Club with Lindsay Dow

    Lindsay and I recently launched a new monthly subscription hub and study club under the radar. It’s a fun new platform where Lindsay and I alternate each month, providing tons of tips, video lessons, and actionable advice around different themes. To start, Lindsay tackled motivation in the first month and I covered building your personal script in the second. You’ll have access to all of the archive months in with your purchase of a membership.

    Get $9 off each month of Language Study Club

    I’ve also partnered up with Fluent in 3 Months to offer you some amazing deals this year as a part of their Black Friday promotion. 

    Of course, they have an incredible package put together. In it, you can get:

    • Benny’s Bootcamp Live // A 3-month language hacking program with live video webinars every week.
    • Fi3M Premium // This is their cornerstone product and a long-term learning portal. It’s a great place to start planning your routine for the new year. Plus, they recently brought it over to Teachable, so it has a much nicer user experience. 
    • Conversation Countdown // Their 7-week email course that helps you prepare for your first conversation in your new language.
    • Why X is Easy // 6 eBooks that break down the tough language stuff (like word gender and conjugations) for German, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, French and English.

    The value of all of this is over $899 but Fi3M is offering it to you at just $197.

    They’re also offering an incredible discount on several other courses. You can learn more about them here.

    As a quick recap, here are all of the links:

    Other Great Deals Across the Web

    Drops // You can get 50% a Premium subscription to Drops, my favorite vocabulary learning app. The offer expires on Monday. This offer is only available through their web payment and isn’t offered within the app itself. Get 50% a Premium Drops Subscription.

    The Ultimate Guide to German for Beginners // Get 50% off this excellent German course from Fluentlanguage.co.uk. The course bundle includes: The German Pronunciation and Accent Masterclass, Easy German Grammar for Beginners, and Hyper-Efficient German. $54.50 (usually $109)

    Pimsleur // Get 50% off at Pimsleur by using the code “BESTDEAL”. Pimsleur is my favourite audio course. It’s a bit on the pricey side, so this is a great offer. Get 50% off Pimsleur.

    Innovative Language // Innovative language is one of the most popular podcast series around. They’re offering 51% off their Basic, Premium AND Premium Plus subscriptions. Get 51% off: ChineseClass101, EnglishClass101FrenchPod101, GermanPod101, ItalianPod101, JapanesePod101, KoreanClass101, RussianPod101 and SpanishPod101.

    Don’t wait! Many of these deals will only be available until the end of Cyber Monday, Nov 26th, 2018.

    November 24, 2018 • Language Resources • Views: 292

  • Clear The List | Monthly Language Learning Strategies Update | November

    In October, I had an incredible trip to Shanghai where I had the chance to use both Mandarin and Japanese on a variety of occasions. It was a work trip, so I didn’t have much time to explore, but I was able to make one short day trip to a town near Suzhou. 

    On to #clearthelist …

    If you’re new around these parts, #clearthelist is a linkup where we share our monthly goals, and by we, I mean myself, and Lindsay of Lindsay Does Languages.

    We’d absolutely love for you to a part of our community. You can join us by adding a link to your own goal post below.

    So let’s get started, sharing our goals and motivating one another to #clearthelist!

    Please feel free to tag your posts or photos with either #clearthelist on your favorite social media channels!

    Last Month’s Blog Highlights

    Language Learning

    5 Reasons to Speak a New Language Even If Your Shy // On November 3rd, Lindsay Williams, Kerstin Cable and I are hosting a new Women in Language Event – WIL Camp. It’s a one-day event and each of us is giving a talk related to community. Mine is related to shyness and how to build confidence to start speaking.

    Last Month’s Goals

    Continue filling the gaps in my Mandarin vocabulary I’ve noticed since Little Linguist’s arrival. // Leading up to my trip to Shanghai, I did quite a bit of Mandarin study. But after the trip, my attention shifted to my new language. Because I spent about half the month on this, I’d count it a success. 

    Read the next Language Reading Challenge book on my list. // In October, we’re reading a coursebook. I’ll be working with a coursebook for my new language for this challenge. In November, we read a book originally written in a language that we’re learning. I read not a book, but several academic articles published in Croatian about the Croatian language.

    Keep working through my YouTube Queue.  // I only did a few lessons from my cue this month, but I did still do a few!

    Chinese and Japanese Demonstrations // Done!

    Fi3M Challenge // I started my next Fi3M Challenge though the work I’m doing is still mostly in secret because it’s with my new language.

    Secret Language Project? // After I return from China, this was my main focus (hence shifting my attention away from Chinese).

    This Month’s Goals

    Continue filling the gaps in my Mandarin vocabulary I’ve noticed since Little Linguist’s arrival. // A permanent item on my monthly list. 

    Read the next Language Reading Challenge book on my list. // In November, we’re reading a book originally written in a language that we’re learning. I plan to continue reading the Croatian articles that I found about the Croatian language. I still have a few more left to read. 

    Keep working through my YouTube Queue.  // Still have a lot to go through!

    Fi3M Challenge // Continue studying for the FI3M Challenge.

    Secret Language Project // The big reveal happens this month!

    Resources I Used This Month

    A quick recap of the materials I am using.

    What I Am Using to Learn Chinese

    • LingQ – my favorite tool
    • iTalki Lessons – I have weekly Chinese lessons
    • Memrise – I do 18,000 points minimum per day 
    • Drops – they have a new character tool that is fantastic

    What I’m Using to Brush Up/Improve My French:

    • LingQ
    • Immersion (we speak franglais at home)
    • Listening to French radio/podcasts
    • Lingoci

    What I am Using to Learn Russian:

    What I am Using to Learn Korean:

    What I am Using to Learn Spanish:

    What I am Using to Learn Italian:

    What I’m Using to Learn Japanese:

    What I’m Using for Little Linguist

    • Lots of books (I picked up several in both Singapore and Shanghai)
    • Day-to-day interaction
    • Mommy and Me weekly classes

    Resources That Aren’t Language Specific

    The Biggest Lesson I Am Taking Away from This Month

    Being able to use the languages you’re learning is really amazing. I had so much fun getting to know people in Shanghai through both Japanese and Chinese, having conversations that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. It’s incredibly rewarding and makes all of those tough moments studying worth it one hundred times over.

    Don’t forget that I would love to hear all about your goals for this month! Please join us by adding your post to the linkup below! 

    Clear The List Linkup Rules:

    1. Share your goal post whether it includes your aspirations for the month or year. Submissions unrelated to the theme or links to your homepage will be deleted.

    2. Link back to this post. You can use our button if you wish.

    3. Follow the hosts: Lindsay from Lindsay Does Languages and Shannon from Eurolinguiste.

    4. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE: Please visit the site of the person who linked up immediately before you and leave them an encouraging comment! By hosting this linkup, we’re hoping to create a positive community where we can all share our goals. If you do not do this, you will be removed from the linkup.

    5. Share on social media using #ClearTheList
    An InLinkz Link-up

    November 1, 2018 • Eurolinguiste • Views: 98

  • Clear The List | Monthly Language Learning Strategies Update | October

    September was a blur! It was the first month of my secret language project (I’ll share more on this very soon – promise!) and it was also the month I spent preparing for my trip to Shanghai (Chinese + Japanese). I’m insanely excited about my trip next month and I can’t wait to share how it goes with you.

    On to #clearthelist …

    If you’re new around these parts, #clearthelist is a linkup where we share our monthly goals, and by we, I mean myself, and Lindsay of Lindsay Does Languages.

    We’d absolutely love for you to a part of our community. You can join us by adding a link to your own goal post below.

    So let’s get started, sharing our goals and motivating one another to #clearthelist!

    Please feel free to tag your posts or photos with either #clearthelist on your favorite social media channels!

    Last Month’s Highlights on Instagram

    Last Month’s Blog Highlights

    Language Learning

    Language Learning in 5-Minute Drops // My review of the language learning app, Drops

    Last Month’s Goals

    Continue filling the gaps in my Mandarin vocabulary I’ve noticed since Little Linguist’s arrival. // A permanent item on my monthly list. I also needed to really work on music-related topics in Mandarin for my trip to Shanghai.

    Read the next Language Reading Challenge book on my list. // In September, we read a memoir by someone who lives in a country that speaks your target language. 

    Keep working through my YouTube Queue.  // I manage to get through a few language video lessons each week.

    Continue to meet my daily goal on LingQ for Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Russian. // I did!

    Actually finally watch the rest of Novine and then watch it again. // Nope. I didn’t have a lot of time to watch anything this month.

    Chinese and Japanese Demonstrations // Yup! I’m as prepared as I am going to be and really looking forward to this trip.

    Fluent in 3 Months Challenge // I fell a little behind with this particular Challenge, but I’ll do my best to catch up next month.

    Secret Language Project? // I started, then had to take a break to focus on preparing for my trip to China.

    This Month’s Goals

    Continue filling the gaps in my Mandarin vocabulary I’ve noticed since Little Linguist’s arrival. // A permanent item on my monthly list. We’ve been doing a lot more reading together lately, so he’s keeping me on my toes!

    Read the next Language Reading Challenge book on my list. // In October, we’re reading a coursebook. I’ll be working with a coursebook for my new language for this challenge.

    Keep working through my YouTube Queue.  // Lots of great lessons for me to get through here for each of my languages!

    Chinese and Japanese Demonstrations // This month, I need to do the demonstrations I worked so hard to prepare.

    Fluent in 3 Months Challenge // I am starting my next Challenge!

    Secret Language Project? // After I return from China, this needs to be my main focus.

    Resources I Used This Month

    A quick recap of the materials I am using.

    What I Am Using to Learn Chinese

    • LingQ – my favorite tool
    • iTalki Lessons – I have weekly Chinese lessons
    • Memrise – I do 18,000 points minimum per day 
    • Drops – they have a new character tool that is fantastic

    What I’m Using to Brush Up/Improve My French:

    • LingQ
    • Immersion (we speak franglais at home)
    • Listening to French radio/podcasts
    • Lingoci

    What I am Using to Learn Russian:

    What I am Using to Learn Korean:

    What I am Using to Learn Spanish:

    What I am Using to Learn Italian:

    What I’m Using to Learn Japanese:

    What I’m Using for Little Linguist

    Resources That Aren’t Language Specific

    The Biggest Lesson I Am Taking Away from This Month

    This month, I’m realizing what an incredible resource instruction books can be. In preparing for my presentations in Shanghai, I’ve pored over the instruction booklets for my instrument in both Japanese and Chinese to learn relevant vocabulary, prepare dialogues with my tutors and write short scripts about the instrument in each of the languages. 

    They’re fantastic for learning specialized vocabulary – and vocabulary I really need!

    Don’t forget that I would love to hear all about your goals for this month! Please join us by adding your post to the linkup below! 

    Clear The List Linkup Rules:

    1. Share your goal post whether it includes your aspirations for the month or year. Submissions unrelated to the theme or links to your homepage will be deleted.

    2. Link back to this post. You can use our button if you wish.

    3. Follow the hosts: Lindsay from Lindsay Does Languages and Shannon from Eurolinguiste.

    4. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE: Please visit the site of the person who linked up immediately before you and leave them an encouraging comment! By hosting this linkup, we’re hoping to create a positive community where we can all share our goals. If you do not do this, you will be removed from the linkup.

    5. Share on social media using #ClearTheList
    An InLinkz Link-up

    September 27, 2018 • Eurolinguiste • Views: 114

  • Language Learning in 5-Minute Drops

    How one start-up is aiming to revolutionize language learning by combining augmented reality with gamification in 5-minute Drops.

    In a time when, on average, nearly everyone is too busy to invest time into intensive side projects, is there a place for language learning? Daniel Farkas and Mark Szulyovszky, of Plan B Labs, believe, without question, that there is, and they’ve developed the app to prove it.

    Rather than tasking learners with hour-long study sessions, or daily point goals, this app challenges you to learn as much as you can in a limited time.

    The Birth of a Language Hero

    It was in his final year at university and after one particularly sleepless night that Daniel Farkas had a realization that would set him upon the path to developing one of the most popular language applications. “It just struck me: nobody taught me how to learn.” This epiphany led to Farkas developing a passion for meta-learning, or as defined by theorist Donald B. Maudsley, “the process by which learners become aware of and increasingly in control of habits of perception, inquiry, learning, and growth that they have internalized.” But it wouldn’t be for several more years, after a brief career as a salesman for a luxury bike company, and a collaboration with two trivia app designing friends until he would be able to completely make the leap into a career that would allow him to fully explore his enthusiasm for meta-learning, channeling his hard-earned knowledge into an app designed for specifically for language learners.

    At the time, other language apps were becoming wildly popular, but despite their success, Daniel still felt that there was still a key element missing from the available options. “None of the big names were combing cutting-edge technology with the findings of behavioral psychology – things like habit forging, gamification, the psychology of play -, neuroscience, and direct visual association.” In his opinion, most language applications try to do too many things. They offer excessive language choices in an effort to appeal to a wider audience, and in doing so, correctness and quality suffer. In other cases, they attempt to cover too much of the language’s grammar, only scratching the surface when it comes to vocabulary – arguably the most important tool for anyone looking to really dive into a language.

    And so, in 2012, Farkas and Szulyovszky set to developing a focused alternative concentrated on the “meat” of language learning – vocabulary acquisition and the building of a rock-solid language learning habit. Kicking off with just three languages and limited features, Drops has rapidly grown in both its offerings and its subscriber base. It is now the powerhouse application behind many language enthusiasts’ consistent study habits. Recognized as one of the Top 5 Language Learning apps by Bloomberg, Drops has also been featured as one of the best educational apps in more than one hundred countries. Today, it is used by millions of learners.

    Before There Was Drops – Mnemonic Gaming and Language Learning

    Drops’ use of mnemonic association and gaming psychology to teach languages is not by accident. It all started when, back in 2012 the two Drops founders, Daniel Farkas and Mark Szulyovszky, were introduced at a party. Daniel had been working on a book about applying meta-learning techniques to learning vocabulary (meta-learning is basically using cognitive shortcuts to learning anything), and Mark–a longtime gamer–had developed a visual pattern recognition game called Thinkinvisible. Similar to the Rorschach test or the concept of Rubin’s Vase, ThinkInvisible images can be viewed in multiple ways, but in particular, they rely on the cognitive trick negative space to define the image. The lack of full contouring forces an “aha” recognition moment, which is at the root of mnemonics.

    Daniel and Mark instantly agreed that a similar mnemonic approach could be used to learn vocabulary. They set about designing and building an app they would later call LearnInvisible. Somewhere along the way, they decided this idea was more than just folly and they applied to the GameFounders–the Estonian gaming accelerator. They were accepted into GameFounders very first cohort of start-ups, received around $15K and were off to the races. They initially incorporated as PlanB Labs and soon after they launched LearnInvisible to some early fanfare, but suddenly soon realized that while people said they loved the app, they used it once or twice and then never came back.

    In a post-mortem of LearnInvisble’s failure, Daniel suggested that maybe they had strayed too far from Mark’s gaming background. They had built a great app, but it wasn’t fun. It wasn’t sticky. It wasn’t a game. So they pivoted and redesigned the entire app from scratch with a laser focus on retention. In January of 2015, they launched Drops and never looked back.

    While the Drops and Scripts apps appear simple (intentionally), their deep intersection of mnemonics and gaming comes from Daniel and Mark’s unique backgrounds, as well as the painful failure that resulted from neglecting that background the first time around. I, for one, am glad they got it right.

    Rising Above the Rest

    What makes Drops a stand out language tool? Some might tell you that it’s the simple, yet elegant design and a user-friendly interface. Others are convinced that it’s the interactivity. And then, there are those that fancy the well-thought-out vocabulary lists. For the learners for whom Drops has become a part of their daily regiment, it’s all of the above. And then some.

    Drops is a powerful resource for learners because it isn’t time intensive. By restricting users’ study sessions to five minutes, Drops guarantees that even the most occupied user can work a little learning into their routine. Of course, for more serious learners, or what Drops likes to call the ‘genius’ or ‘polyglot’, there’s the option to unlock more time and more languages, respectively, for a sensible fee.

    Currently, the app provides around 100 unique vocabulary lists each containing around twenty words for nearly thirty languages including Korean, French, Hebrew, and Chinese. And while they aim to tackle a large selection of languages, they ensure the quality of their product by hiring native speakers, professional translators, and established polyglots to double and triple check the lesson content.

    There’s a lot of thought and care that goes into creating the wordlists and you’ll find plenty of vocabulary that isn’t readily available on other platforms. Whether you’re interested in discussing business-related topics, the birth of a new baby and an introduction to your family, figuring out what you’ll need to know to get around town on an upcoming vacation, or just learn the basics, you’re covered.

    The app experience is an exciting whirlwind of swiping, matching, and competing with a timer to get through as much new material as possible. The minimalist illustrations and color changes provide a backdrop that keeps your attention on the task at hand. It’s addicting insofar as it is educational, and although it feels like you’re merely playing a game, you’re building a useful life skill.

    Drops’ functionality is, in part, based on Hungarian psychologist Mihály Csikszentmihályi’s studies of ‘flow’, that feeling you get when you’re so immersed in an activity that you lose track of time. It’s something you experience when you go out dancing, bury yourself in an excellent book, or get into the rhythm with a task at work. The execution of this element in Drops is flawless. As you compete against the timer, blazing through as much material as possible, you become hyper-focused. The message you receive when the time is up is the only indicator that you’re due to return to reality.

    The platform combines a series of exercises so that you’re doing far more than flipping over a flashcard to learn more vocabulary. You do everything from matching to fill in the blank, true or false to a Boggle-like word search as a part of its spaced-repetition based system. It seems like the only thing you don’t do is type. The variety of exercises is an effective way to give the new words you’re learning more than one context – a way to improve retention. With the swipe-based functionality, you can work through the material seamlessly and as you progress, the difficulty of the exercises progresses with you.

    A premium account also offers the opportunity to focus on tough words in its Tough Word Dojo once you study your first fifty words. Using the data collected on how many times you’ve answered questions incorrectly during the normal exercise section, the Dojo rounds up the words that you’ve struggled with most and offers you the opportunity to focus on them. This focus allows you to concentrate on your weaknesses and review a mix of vocabulary (this feature doesn’t focus on a specific theme).

    The vocabulary in Drops is very much noun-focused, but a few relevant verbs are included as a part of each lesson. You don’t learn how to conjugate them or get the chance to give them context, but it’s still a valuable resource. Particularly because it does what it does extremely well.

    For users with a free account, you’re given five minutes of study time every ten hours. It may not seem like much, but for those struggling to make language learning a part of their routine, it’s an excellent start. You get to spend that daily study with a crucial element of language learning success – vocabulary – and you get to have fun while doing it. The result? Developing a love for languages, a desire to learn more in other places and an opportunity to take things further. It’s all about building a strong foundation.

    Beautiful Interface

    Drops uses minimalist design features and detailed illustrations as a part of their functionality to help the learner eliminate the need to use their native language as much as possible. This means that rather than asking you to translate, you’re shown an image and asked to connect it directly to the language that you’re learning. This feature is one of the big characteristics that sets Drops apart from the other leading language learning apps which still, in large part, rely on translation. Using the app gives you five minutes of total immersion, though if needed, pressing and holding your finger over a word or image will give you the translation.

    Boost in Motivation

    When creating a language study habit is as easy as ‘playing‘ with vocabulary for five minutes, twice a day, feeling motivated to learn is a natural outcome. According to one user, “It’s so simple. Instead of playing Candy Crush or Tweeting during my breaks during the day, I play Drops. It’s easy, fun, and my vocabulary is expanding rapidly.” When you enjoy something, you’re more motivated to continue doing it. And Drops undoubtedly makes language learning enjoyable for many learners.

    Visual Progress Tracking

    As you progress through the vocabulary sets, you can track your advancement with a small progress bar that appears beneath the title of each vocabulary section. It’s motivating to see the bar creep towards the 100% mark and to watch all of the bars add up as you work through the various word lists.

    Audio from Native Speakers

    One of the biggest complaints when it comes to language learning apps are that they use poor quality audio or computer-generated voices. Paying voice actors who are native speakers of the language can be pricey – especially when you’re developing an app that offers a large number of languages. When it came to this feature, however, Drops spared no expense. Each of the courses includes high-quality audio recordings of every word read by a native speaker.

    Laddering

    For those who speak more than one language, Drops offers the ability to practice language laddering. Laddering is where you study one language through another. So, for instance, if you’re an intermediate French speaker and beginning German learner, you can learn German through French. This means that, rather than seeing the translations in English, you’ll see them in French (if you opt to turn them on).

    Flexible Settings

    For learners looking for a more personalized flashcard experience, Drops has several settings that enable you to tailor the app’s functionalities to your level and preferences. Learning Japanese but you still don’t have the writing system figured out? No problem, you can take it a step at a time starting out with the romanization turned on while using Hiragana only, then transition to no romanization and then Kana + Kanji whenever you’re ready. If you’re learning Chinese, you can modify the writing system so that it uses either simplified or traditional characters. You can also turn English translations on or off.

    Additionally, you can change the following features to get the best experience using Drops:

    • Select your learning style. The options are business, romantic, traveler or enthusiast. Changing this setting arranges the words lists so that they appear in an order most relevant to your goals. In this section, you can also select your gender so that the vocabulary you learn is tailored to you (in different languages word choice and word forms change according to gender). Most resources are targeted towards male learners, so it’s nice to see an app that tailors vocabulary to a wider audience.
    • Premium subscribers can change the session length. While free users are limited to five-minute study sessions, premium users are able to set their study sessions to five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes, or unlimited.
    • You can turn the audio on or off. Want to enjoy the dings and fanfare effects without the pronunciation? Or perhaps you just want to test your ability to read in a new writing system without hearing the word first. With Drops, you can turn the pronunciation on or off.
    • You can also turn the sound effects on or off. Perhaps the celebratory noises produced by the app are more distracting than motivating for you. If this is the case, you can mute them while still getting to hear the pronunciation.
    • You can set the phone to vibrate when you get answers right or wrong. It’s extra confirmation that you’re making connections as you study new words – especially since everything is swipe-based. But if you prefer not to use this feature, it too can be deactivated.
    • Choose your skill level. If you already know some of the language, you can choose to start at the ‘intermediate’ level. When doing this, Drops drops you into the more advanced vocabulary and automatically turns off some of the aids like ‘show English’ and ‘Romanization’. For languages like Japanese, this means it defaults to Kana + Kanji rather than Hiragana. If this seems a little too advanced for you, you can also use the default settings for a beginning learner.

    Room to Grow

    Even with its gorgeous interface and useful word lists, Drops has room for improvement. To start, there isn’t a way to monitor your consistency as a premium user. A short time back, Drops featured a table that showed your daily progress. It included how many words you learned, how many days in a row you had studied, and it was a great way to stay both accountable and motivated. The app still includes several statistics, but because one of its biggest selling points is that it helps you build a language learning habit, having some way to track that habit is important. More varied and detailed statistics on your learning would definitely add to the experience of using the app.

    For those interested in multiple languages, it’s not always clear which dashboard you’re in. Are you in the French vocabulary list or Hebrew? Without going into your settings or actually starting a lesson, you have no idea which language you’re logged into. And once you open a vocabulary list, the timer commences counting down and you start to lose precious time. With Drops, what you do during those five minutes really counts. There’s no room for error.

    Second, for the time being, you’re not given the option to create or import your own personalized word lists. While having vocabulary selected for you is a nice way to take a major task off your plate, this is a desirable feature for many language learners. When it comes to picking up a new language, learning “you-specific” vocabulary is important. In order to get the most out of your language studies, you want to spend time with the words and grammar you’re most likely to use. And the best way to ensure you do this is by curating your word lists. A feature that Drops does not yet include.

    Finally, you aren’t able to preview the words included in each vocabulary list and knowing how to mute words that aren’t relevant takes a little detective work. Again, having the power to decide which vocabulary you spend time learning is conducive to getting the most out of the hours you put in. With Drops, if you forget (or don’t realize that you need) to drop the word onto the ‘x’ when it is first introduced, it isn’t until you scroll through your learned word list that you can swipe right to “hide” or “unhide” words that you don’t really need or those you already know really well (so they don’t come up for review).

    These, of course, are features the developers are currently at work improving, along with a whole slew of recently and soon-to-be-released options. Teaching learners vocabulary on a beautifully designed and well-curated platform is only a part of what Drops offers.

    From here, they have plans to continue to make vocabulary learning even more immersive and fun through a combination of augmented reality and other features.

    Can Five Minutes of Language Study a Day Work?

    One of the biggest criticisms of Drops is that five minutes a day just isn’t enough. It’s a fair assessment. If you’re looking to go deep with a language, or to learn fairly quickly, Drops alone isn’t a complete solution. But it isn’t trying to be.

    Drops aims to do one important thing well – provide an interactive and enjoyable method for acquiring vocabulary. They are extremely successful at accomplishing this.

    There are people who would argue that you won’t get far with a vocabulary-only language learning app, but you can’t get far without a strong foundation either. Focusing on building a strong vocabulary gives you that foundation, something to build grammar rules and speaking or comprehension skills on, and a ton of confidence, too. In short, Drops is the perfect place to start when learning a language. It will not only set you up for greater successes in the future, but it will make learning a new language an enjoyable activity and thus, a habit.

    Making language learning routine aside, does the app actually help you learn the language? Short answer: yes.

    There are countless reasons why studying a language has the reputation of being boring or difficult. Traditional learning methods are often laborious and tedious, and other resources on the market promise ‘quick’ and ‘easy’ learning without delivering. Drops is an exception to the rule, offering an experience that supports quickly building a strong vocabulary in a new language in a way that is entertaining, engaging, and effective. Highly recommended.

    Drops is currently available for iOS mobile devices through the App Store as well as on Android through Google Play.

    An announcement… 

    After writing this review, I spent a lot of time trying out Drops and I loved it so much I decided to join the Drops family. I am excited to announce that I am now working with them as their Resident Polyglot. If you’d like to see how my learning with the app went, you can see how I used Drops to learn Hungarian.

    What about you?

    Have you tried Drops? What did you think? 

    I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

    September 20, 2018 • Language Resources • Views: 993

  • Need a Language Breakthrough? Discover the Power of Language Retreats

    So you’ve been flirting with Spanish.

    When people ask you how long this has been going on, you tell them it’s been about a year or two, your eyes glued to the floor.

    The truth is, you barely have enough courage to order at your favorite taco stand in Spanish!

    If there were a way to kickstart your language learning would you take it? How about if you were stuck in the intermediate plateau and have yet to make any conversational breakthroughs?

    Or maybe you’ve lived in a Spanish-speaking country for a while with the hopes that being forcibly immersed would lead to a transformation in your fluency.

    But it hasn’t.

    Let’s Rethink Immersion

    Immersion is often spoken of as the ideal way to learn a language.

    While this is true for a child who seems to learn in an effortless manner, attaining staggering results in just a few short months, for you, as an adult, this isn’t the case. Instead, it can be a brutal ride with many moments of embarrassment or feeling like a failure.

    This has nothing to do with age, but rather well, life — the responsibilities one assumes as an adult.

    Let’s be honest, moving to a new country is never easy.

    There’s so much to do! Getting the house set up, finding a new circle of friends, understanding this new foreign culture, the list goes on and on!

    At times you may feel quite vulnerable and the truth is that for some, your language may be the only comfort zone you have left.

    Even if you don’t move to another country, the same still holds true.

    The last thing you want to do when getting home from a day of work is putting in an hour to study a language you don’t even use at work!

    I know for myself by the time I finished work, spent time with my family and put my son to bed at 8:00 PM, language learning was out of the question.

    It may be considered lazy by some, but all I wanted to do was have a nice glass of wine and relax…

    This is where the power of language retreats comes in.

    Language Retreats Change Lives

    “A change of pace plus a change of place equals a change of perspective.” -Mark Batterson

    Meet Jerome.

    He was happily living in France and enjoying his job as a mergers/acquisitions attorney.

    Then the unexpected happened.

    He was told he would have to relocate to Shanghai and learn English within the next 6 months.

    His company hired him a language coach to come to the office every other day, but with the distractions of work and meetings that often ran longer than expected, his progress was not anywhere near what he needed.

    Jerome was given three weeks to visit the French countryside distraction-free and immerse himself in English.

    He spent the time wondering through chateaus, touring the vineyards and enjoying all of the wonderful food France has to offer.

    If you asked him before the retreat, he would have never thought what happened next would be possible. On the fourth morning, he came down to breakfast and admitted he had even dreamt in English that night!

    This was the distraction free space that he needed.

    Because he was relaxed and enjoying his time, he forgot that he was learning for work and because of this, made staggering progress.

    This is what a retreat offers you.

    A retreat immerses you in a language. And it does it in an amazing vacation-style setting with a small group of similar-minded people in a unique class prepared just for you.

    You may have been told that language learning needs to be fun because it maintains our concentration and thus propels our learning exponentially… And guess what>

    It’s true.

    Just think about it.

    How much faster would our learning be if kayaking, museum trips, and VIP treatment as we explore some of the areas best-kept secrets was all a part of the package?

    Because it can be!

    What Happens in a Language Retreat?

    The entire day is spent with your language coach. A person devoted to strengthening your command of the language and giving you the courage to speak in what will soon be an effortless manner.

    Each day includes classroom time with lessons perfect for your level and interests, mouth-watering meals and exciting activities which allow us to place emphasis on practical communication to help to develop fluency and confidence.

    Accent work, colloquial speech, cultural exchange, you got it!

    The best part is that all is done in a relaxed environment which not only helps you learn but also increases memory skills. The retreats are all customised to ensure you are learning things that are of interest to you.

    You may be thinking this will be costly, however, when you look at the results you get and what you would pay for a language coach on a weekly basis, you will soon see that not only are you getting a luxurious vacation for free, you may also be seeing some savings.

    Here’s what some past participants had to say “The language retreat was a life-changing experience and worth every cent.

    “...the week was full of laughter as well. I have years of experience in learning several languages with a number of different texts and resources, and I truly consider this retreat one of the best experiences I have ever had.

    The most astonishing point which gets the most amount of praise is the time that is no longer wasted.

    Rather than having time to forget things between lessons and not having the proper balance between theory and practical, you will see tremendous improvements throughout the week and a surprising burst of confidence.

    As said earlier, if you’re looking for something to kickstart your language learning or move you out of the stagnant language plateau, a language retreat is for you.

    Here’s a video interview with Fiel if you’d like to meet your coach beforehand.

    Ready to sign up?

    The next Spanish retreat is September 16 – 21, 2018 in San Diego, California with Fiel Sahir of the Between 3 Worlds podcast. For more information on upcoming retreats or to customize your own, contact Therese LaFleche or visit LaFleche Lingo.


    The above is a guest post from fellow language learner and musician Fiel Sahir, and host of the upcoming retreat. If you have any questions about the retreat, you can leave them for Fiel in the comments below!

    September 3, 2018 • Language Resources, Travel • Views: 281

  • Clear The List | Monthly Language Learning Strategies Update | September

    This month I made it out to Langfest and I had an incredible time. It was amazing getting to catch up with old friends and make new friends, and I want to take a moment to congratulate the organizers for putting together such an incredible event!

    I attended as a speaker and enjoyed the opportunity to talk a little bit about the Croatian language. So another big thank you to everyone who made it to my talk! I hope to share a video soon.

    On to #clearthelist …

    If you’re new around these parts, #clearthelist is a linkup where we share our monthly goals, and by we, I mean myself, and Lindsay of Lindsay Does Languages.

    We’d absolutely love for you to a part of our community. You can join us by adding a link to your own goal post below.

    So let’s get started, sharing our goals and motivating one another to #clearthelist!

    Please feel free to tag your posts or photos with either #clearthelist on your favorite social media channels!

    Last Month’s Blog Highlights

    Language Learning

    Announcing the 30 Day Language Reading Challenge // New and exciting things in store for those who are a part of the Language Reading Challenge!

    Last Month’s Goals

    Continue filling the gaps in my Mandarin vocabulary I’ve noticed since Little Linguist’s arrival. // Yes, I did the usual on this in July. √

    Read the next Language Reading Challenge book on my list. // In August, I read several books about Croatian (and other Slavic languages) to prepare for my talk at LangFest. 

    Keep working through my YouTube Queue.  // Getting there!

    Continue to meet my daily goal on LingQ for Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Russian. // Nope. Overall, I did pretty well at this, but I did miss a few days during my travels.

    Watch the rest of Novine and then watch it again. // Nope. I watched a few more episodes but didn’t finish the series.

    Fluent in 3 Months Challenge // Croatian was definitely something I worked hard at this month, but to be honest, Russian didn’t get the attention it deserved.

    This Month’s Goals

    Continue filling the gaps in my Mandarin vocabulary I’ve noticed since Little Linguist’s arrival. // A permanent item on my monthly list. We’ve been doing a lot more reading together lately, so he’s keeping me on my toes!

    Read the next Language Reading Challenge book on my list. // In September, we’re reading a memoir by someone who lives in a country that speaks your target language. I don’t have anything picked out yet, but I’ll share what it is over in the Facebook group when I do!

    Keep working through my YouTube Queue.  // Slowly but surely I plan to accomplish this!

    Continue to meet my daily goal on LingQ for Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Russian. // Because reading is a fun way to learn languages.

    Actually finally watch the rest of Novine and then watch it again. // I recently discovered that Netflix hosts a Croatian tv series called Novine. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited about this! I’ve been watching the series and writing down phrases I’ve found useful. Once I finish it, I want to go back through and see if I can get down even more. 

    Chinese and Japanese Demonstrations // I have a music event coming up and I am preparing demonstrations in both of these languages.

    Fluent in 3 Months Challenge // I really want to get my Croatian and Russian to the next level, so I’ll continue giving this my all.

    Secret Language Project? // Maybe? Maybe not? More on this soon.

    Resources I Used This Month

    A quick recap of the materials I am using.

    What I Am Using to Learn Chinese

    • LingQ – my favorite tool
    • iTalki Lessons – I have weekly Chinese lessons
    • Memrise – I do 18,000 points minimum per day 
    • Drops – they have a new character tool that is fantastic

    What I’m Using to Brush Up/Improve My French:

    • LingQ
    • Immersion (we speak franglais at home)
    • Listening to French radio/podcasts
    • Lingoci

    What I am Using to Learn Russian:

    What I am Using to Learn Korean:

    What I am Using to Learn Spanish:

    What I am Using to Learn Italian:

    What I’m Using to Learn Japanese:

    What I’m Using for Little Linguist

    Resources That Aren’t Language Specific

    The Biggest Lesson I Am Taking Away from This Month

    As much as I may want to, I can’t do it all. Because of all the things happening this month, I studied a little less than I usually would. I’ve tried not to feel to guilty about it, but I can’t say I’ve been doing a good job of it. August is over, and I can’t change how much I studied in the past. I can only aim to do better in September. So, that’s my main focus for the upcoming month.

    Don’t forget that I would love to hear all about your goals for this month! Please join us by adding your post to the linkup below! 

    Clear The List Linkup Rules:

    1. Share your goal post whether it includes your aspirations for the month or year. Submissions unrelated to the theme or links to your homepage will be deleted.

    2. Link back to this post. You can use our button if you wish.

    3. Follow the hosts: Lindsay from Lindsay Does Languages and Shannon from Eurolinguiste.

    4. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE: Please visit the site of the person who linked up immediately before you and leave them an encouraging comment! By hosting this linkup, we’re hoping to create a positive community where we can all share our goals. If you do not do this, you will be removed from the linkup.

    5. Share on social media using #ClearTheList
    An InLinkz Link-up

    August 30, 2018 • Eurolinguiste • Views: 116

  • FREE LANGUAGE FEEDBACK & PRACTICE WITH LINGORA

    When I first started learning languages on my own, I didn’t realize that the key to mastering them was speaking them. I tried learning on my own, but whenever I had an opportunity to use them, nothing came out. I’d get too nervous, tongue-tied, or flat out forget everything that I learned.

    Soon, I realized that the only way I’d get better at speaking would be by practicing that very skill. I needed to speak more.

    I started looking for ways to use my languages more often, but there were hardly any meet ups in my area (if any) and the cost of tutors could be prohibitive.

    I had one more option — language exchange partners.

    Free Language Feedback & Practice with Lingora | Eurolinguiste

    Meet Lingora

    Lingora is an online membership portal that offers language learners the chance to connect with language exchange partners around the world for free. You can chat with native speakers, upload audio for feedback, or even text for correction.

    Currently, it supports dozens of languages including Korean, Spanish, Chinese and Serbian.

    Free Language Feedback & Practice with Lingora | Eurolinguiste

    My Experience Using Lingora

    Lingora offers its members a variety of ways to get language practice. I wanted to make use of each of these, so I made sure to try out the voice recording feature as well as the text and chat features.

    Unfortunately, between when I posted my material and writing this review, I had yet to receive feedback. Because the site is fairly new, the membership is not yet that large and so finding active members (especially for Croatian) was tough. That said, when I do get feedback, I really like the criteria.

    For audio, you’re scored on accent, intonation, fluency, and pronunciation. You’re rated as either “adequate to good”, “good to excellent” or “needs work”. For written entries, you’re scored based on grammatical accuracy, punctuation, spelling, and style. For both, when members offer feedback, they also have a space to leave you more specific comments.

    Free Language Feedback & Practice with Lingora | Eurolinguiste

    The Pro’s of Using Lingora

    Everything is available to you in one convenient place. // The platform offers you a place to practice your writing, your speaking, to chat with native speakers or other learners, and even find a tutor. You don’t need any external equipment. Lingora even includes a built-in audio recorder that converts the audio files for you.

    It’s free. // With the exception of lessons with a professional tutor, Lingora is entirely free to use. For those learning a language on a budget, this is an incredible tool for getting valuable feedback.

    Free Language Feedback & Practice with Lingora | Eurolinguiste

    They offer prompts so that you have support if you’re not sure what to record or write. // One of the toughest things to do when you hit record or sit down to write in your new language is coming up with ideas. What should you write or talk about? Unless you have something specific in mind to practice, it’s hard to avoid rambling or to feel confident when you need to click the “submit” button. Thankfully, Lingora has already thought of this. Whether you’re using the writing or audio recording tool, you’re shown a list of prompts to help you get started (or to stretch outside your comfort zone). You can choose a theme, and then from that theme, any one of several prompts to help you get started.

    You can view chats between other members. // In addition to starting your own chats, you can also check out chats between other members. Initially, I was surprised when I first noticed this feature but I think it’s a positive thing for two reasons. First, it’s a way of moderating the discussions between members. When participants know other members will see your conversations, they’re less likely to engage in anything that isn’t above board. Second, it offers the Lingora community the chance to get reading practice and learn from the conversations taking place.

    You get weekly summaries of your feedback. // At the end of the week, Lingora sends you an email with summaries of the feedback you’ve received on whatever you submitted. It’s a great reminder to log back in and get more practice AND get an overhead view of how you did the previous week.

    Free Language Feedback & Practice with Lingora | Eurolinguiste

    Features I Feel Can Improve

    Lingora has a lot of potential, but there are a few things that could be improved. First, as far as I can tell, you can only search for exchange partners based on the language they’re learning, not on the language they speak natively. If you’re hoping to connect with a native speaker, this isn’t very helpful. The search features could definitely be improved with the addition of more filters and options.

    Second, the cost for lessons is a little higher than the average compared to other online tutoring sites. That said, they do have unique options – some of the tutors offer “on location” lessons.

    Finally, as I mentioned earlier, there aren’t a lot of members who speak languages like Croatian (and the members that are there don’t seem to be active). But this will surely change in time as its membership continues to grow.

    To Sum Up

    I really liked the motivation behind Lingora and I think it has a lot to offer learners. It’s still a small community, so at the moment, it’s not as active as it could be, but this is sure to change in time. If you’re looking for places to get speaking or writing practice in your language and to get feedback on how you’re doing, Lingora could be a great option.

    Learn more about Lingora.

    What about you?

    How do you get your speaking and writing practice? Have you tried Lingora? What did you think?

    I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

    August 21, 2018 • Language Resources • Views: 173