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

Gaming to fluency – language immersion in the Apple Arcade

Gaming for language learners: Cat Quest II for the iPad on Apple Arcade

Nothing like a bit of fun and games, is there? Of course, for most of us, language learning is the fun and games. But what if we could turbocharge that a little? I’d been mulling over the idea of getting back… 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

Dear Diary… Get personal with language learning through journaling

Journaling, or writing a diary, can be a wonderful tool in your language learning kit.

Sometimes you just have to let it all out. To that end, journaling, or keeping a regular record of the important events in your life in writing, is as old as the hills. From the Latin diurnalis (‘of the day’),… 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

Anki, the vocab monster

Pulling out lists of words by tag in Anki

Did you think learning vocabulary in a foreign language was just about memorising lists of words? Well, there’s a science to it. And Anki, a free flashcard learning system, has it down to a tee. I’ve made frequent mention of… Continue reading