Avoiding the Translation Crutch in Language Learning

A page from a German dictionary with the translation of various words. Image from freeimages.com.

I was on a mission this week: to minimise the interference of English translation in my language learning. You are probably familiar with the scenario – that slow, faltering, stoppy-starty feel to conversation in a language you are learning. In… Continue reading

Excel for Polyglots: Comparative audits to keep languages in sync

Cross-referencing vocabulary in Excel after some tidying is applied with IFERROR.

Duolingo, Memrise, Anki, Microsoft Excel. Huh, wait – Excel? How is that a language learning app? Well, the Office software has some handy features that just happen to be right up our street as language learners. Namely, the ability to curate… Continue reading

Love languages? Try programming!

Programming in binary code

Programming languages have a lot in common with human languages. For a start, they all have a very particular vocabulary and syntax. You need to learn the rules to assemble meaning. And both machine and human languages are tools for… Continue reading

Duolingo: Five reasons it’s a show-stopper for linguists

An owl, much like the Duolingo mascot!

I was quite late to the Duolingo party. It might be a wee bit of jealousy, perhaps; as an educational app developer, you look at software like Duolingo and think: wow, that is an educational app. But lately, I’ve bitten the… Continue reading