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

Speaking without foundations (and putting it right)

Speaking is like a skyscraper. Aim high, but watch your foundations too! Image by createsima on freeimages.com.

As I sit at the station tapping away at Anki, I’m impressed at the level of the vocabulary I’ve reached: interactive, futurism, equality… All those lovely advanced words! I enjoy a moment of language learner pride, before I remember that… Continue reading

Approaching Duolingo : One Way to Catch An Owl

An owl - not the Duolingo one, but probably related. Image by Pamela Benn on freeimages.com

In case you hadn’t noticed, Duolingo released its Scottish Gaelic course early this week. And naturally, I leapt straight in like a pig in mud! Like many, I had waited patiently and eagerly for this release, not least since I… Continue reading

Speaking Bingo Sheets for Snappy Active Vocab Recall

Bingo could be good for your speaking, too! Image by Michiel Meulemans on FreeImages.com

When it comes to making vocabulary stick in memory, there are few more effective methods than actively working new material in your speaking practice. Regularly engaging with new words and phrases in a foreign language is constructive recycling. They gain… Continue reading

300 Words for Functional Fluency : Miss Swanson’s Elucidating Experiment

Is the starting point for functional fluency a list of the right core words? Photo by acscom from freeImages.com

Decrepit, dusty old language learning books from bygone days are a guilty pleasure of mine. And sometimes, the most obscure, long-forgotten tomes throw up some shining treasures. Leafing through one such volume this week week, I stumbled across a fascinating… Continue reading

Brain dump bonanza : splurge your way to vocabulary mastery!

A plastic brain. Image from freeimages.com

This week, I’ve been rediscovering a magnificent memory boost from my student days: the brain dump! This – admittedly indelicately named – technique shares a lot with mind-mapping. It involves taking a blank page, and simply splurging onto it the… Continue reading

I Get So Emotional, Bébé : Using Positive Emotion to Improve Vocabulary Recall

Streamers

That positive emotion enhances learning seems intuitive to us. How much more do we learn feeling motivated and wired, compared to those times we try to cram when feeling flat and uninspired? Unsurprisingly, there is a heap of research that… Continue reading

Anki custom note types for complex morphology flashcards

A spreadsheet containing German verb information.

If you use Anki, have you ever felt like the the out-of-the-box templates are a little basic? The default card has just two fields for back and front. Of course, this is instantly relevant for simple vocabulary learning. You can… Continue reading