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Drops – Continued

Drops – Continued

Blog
I'm still looking at the Drops app. At the moment I'm sitting in a place where I'm not sure if I like it or not. It's a beautiful, well designed app, but I have some niggles. The first is the time inconsistency. It says it gives me five minutes and I like that. I like the idea of being stopped and then having to do something else. But it keeps giving me extra time, and even an extra five minutes. Now I get that developers need to make money and this is to show me how much better my life would be if I subscribed and could use it all the time. But it just wouldn't. I'd almost be happy to pay to have the five minutes be consistent!   The second is that, as I progress, I come across words that relate more to concepts than easy to picture things. Then the icons start to become...
Simple Stories in Spanish

Simple Stories in Spanish

Blog, Language Specific
For those learning languages, it's often hard to find good reading material. Particularly good reading material with audio sources. The following, well designed, websites have come to my attention that have children's fairytales and stories translated into Spanish and are a great source of practice reading material.  
Chrome Extension to Reinstate Skill Strength on Duolingo

Chrome Extension to Reinstate Skill Strength on Duolingo

Blog, Language News
If you just want the extension, keeping in mind that it's a little bit experimental, head on over to the Chrome Extension page here. You should also check out my other Chrome Extension to track what languages you're reading web pages in and set reading targets: here. For everybody who wants to read about what this extension does and how it came about, please keep on reading. Some time ago Duolingo switched to a new Crowns system. A considerable number of users found this change drastic. The key complaints being that it no longer gave you any guidance on what to learn through the SRS system and that you couldn't really re-gold your tree anymore. Recently I've been writing an extension to track the languages that people read web pages in, so they can see statistics and set reading t
Language Analytics Chrome Extension Launched

Language Analytics Chrome Extension Launched

Blog, Language News
In the last blog post I mentioned that I was working on a chrome extension. The extension tracks the amount of time that you are spending on web pages in each language. This is really great for language learners, particularly at the intermediate stage, as it gives you an overview of how much you're reading in your second language without you having to track it. Since then I did a bit more work, tidied it up, and added a feature that lets you add a target and gives you a notification when you reach the target. For example, I can say that I want to read 30 minutes of Dutch and 15 minutes of Spanish a day. When I get to 15 minutes of Spanish, a box alerts me that I've hit that target, and similarly for the 30 minutes of Dutch. For those who are super keen, here's the link to the chrome store ...
Working on a Chrome Plugin

Working on a Chrome Plugin

Blog
Yesterday I got curious about how long I was spending on the web in foreign languages. I use Chrome as a browser, people can write extensions. There should be an extension that automatically tracks that, I thought. But there wasn't. If I think about it, it's a little bit similar to the Language Lifestyle kickstarter thing I recently wrote about (that's failing to get funding at the moment, for obvious reasons). The difference being that you don't have to do anything but actually read and check your stats later. So, to keep this post short - I've started writing that to see if it's possible. I have a basic prototype at the moment that is working quite well.
Still Playing with the Drops App

Still Playing with the Drops App

Blog
Since I started playing with the Drops App, I've being enjoying it. Strangely what I'm find a problem is that it keeps giving me free time and keeps giving me more and more of it. I suspect that that's not a problem for most people, but because I was planning on doing 5 minutes a day of each language, that means I'm doing more than I wanted to. Sometimes it's just giving me 30 seconds more, but a couple of days ago it gave me 5 minutes extra. That's not a Drop, that's an entire splash! So I've decided to take a couple of days off to balance that out!
Playing with the Drops App

Playing with the Drops App

Blog
Having heard about the language drops app, I thought I'd give it a try. I'll save a full review for later, hence this being a blog post, but I'm initially impressed. This appears to be an SRS type learning system with a nicely designed app with nice little games/exercises. The free version limits you to 5 minutes play per 12 hours. Realistically this means that if you want to stick to some sort of schedule then you're going to end up doing 5 minutes per day. That's pretty minimal for my liking but I thought why not try it and see. There actually seems to be a version for each language in the store, which is great. That means I can do 5 minutes per language (by installing multiple apps). I've decided on this selection: Spanish - which I've been studying for two months. So far the word...
Forum and Blogs Roundup – 2

Forum and Blogs Roundup – 2

Blog
Last time we had a couple of interesting forum threads from Duolingo to show you. This time the Duolingo forums feel a little bit dry in terms of interest. The Fluentin3 months blog seems more intent on showing us advertising banners than providing content (although this post on Introverts and language learning did catch my eye). In short, all the usual sources of interest are lacking. So it's time to do some digging around and see what Blogs we can come up with: The first post of interest is this post about learning Japanese. Clearly this is picked with a whole lot of bias as I'm learning Japanese and it gives a rather nice little list of resources. Credit goes to this post for my discovery of the Drop app, which may or may not get its own review on this site after I've used it for...
Forum and Blogs Roundup – 1

Forum and Blogs Roundup – 1

Blog
One of the things we try to do with this site is to highlight interesting language related discussions from around the web. In this case we're taking a quick look at language forums and blogs. Duolingo The old owl has a couple of interesting threads going on over on his forums. Firstly there is the question of what an intermediate level is to you. Even though things such as the CEFR levels define these as specifically as they can, if you actually think about it then they're still pretty vague. This means everybody can, and probably does, have a slightly different perspective on this. For example, for me it's the stage where you begin to understand everything around you on a conceptual level, but probably not word for word. Also on the Duolingo forums we see that the crowns ...