Nouns are Harder Than Verbs

Nouns are Harder Than Verbs

Language News
If you think nouns are harder than verbs in your language learning efforts, then you could well be right. Wordnet lists 117798 nouns versus 11529 verbs. So, not only do the number of possible nouns dwarf the number of possible verbs but research also suggests that even English speaks pause longer over nouns than verbs. The University of Zurich conducted research into the amount of time we pause when constructing sentences and using nouns and verbs. It turns out that we purposely use interjections such as "um"or "uh" or subconsciously slow down in order to give us time to make the choices needed in a sentence. That concept, in itself, is fascinating because it implies that even as a native speaker of a language, we don't form full sentences all at once and still put work into building th...
5 Ways Not to Suck at Learning Languages

5 Ways Not to Suck at Learning Languages

General
You imagine yourself speaking another language fluently, laughing with the natives as you order another beer. You make a throwaway comment about how the beer is better than in your country. "Oh. I didn't know you weren't from here", says the barman, "You speak the language so well". "Thanks, it's not perfect but I try", you reply as you secretly make plans to sell all your grammar books on the internet that evening and use the funds to buy a t-shirt with the simple slogan "bilingual" on it. You've had a dream like that, right? And then you tried to learn a language and remembered that learning a language is a bit like running a couple of marathons backwards, back to back, in fluffy panda slippers. Unless you're just enjoying the shape of the various straight and squiggly lines on you...
Duolingo Crowns Update – Is it Simply About Money?

Duolingo Crowns Update – Is it Simply About Money?

General, Language News
I recently started to think about Duolingo Crowns and the crown levels. I'm a fan of Duolingo and recently started learning Japanese and Spanish with it. But it wasn't long before I heard that Duolingo would be changing their system to the Duolingo crown system. They'd been beta testing it. I'd read complaints on the forums and I crossed my fingers that they'd hold off release until my challenge was done. No such luck. In this article I want to take a look at what the update is, what Duolingo say it is, and what it might mean. In particular, I want to delve deeper into the potential commercial aspects of Duolingo and this update. Duolingo and Making Money The original idea behind Duolingo would be that it would be a sort of crowd sourced translation bureau. In return for teaching you...
Say it in Dutch Podcast

Say it in Dutch Podcast

Language Specific
Something that I originally found on Apple Podcasts, but that is also available here on Soundcloud, is the "Zeg het in het Nederlands" podcast. This is a podcast spoken in slow Dutch. It also includes clips from the radio and TV that are played at normal speed and then explained in slow Dutch. This is often by repetition and use of synonyms to help you understand words. Because of this there is, in my opinion, a certain level requirement. I feel you should be around a B1 to listen to this. But because of the inclusion of and explanation of natural content from TV and radio, it's also very useful for people of higher levels.
List of Free Dutch Language Learning Resources

List of Free Dutch Language Learning Resources

Language Specific
Learning Dutch doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many resources available for free. I thought it’d be useful to create a big list of the ones I use, used, or like, right here. Language Learning Websites Duolingo – In my opinion this is the number one free language learning site for learning Dutch. At the end of the course you can expect to be around about an A2 level in Reading/Writing (Listening and Speaking, unfortunately, much lower). Lingq – Ample opportunity to practice reading and translation. I have to say that this isn’t really a site I enjoy, I’d rather use Duolingo, but it might suit some people so I’m mentioning it here anyway oefenen.nl – a variety of online language lessons, resources, and videos. Best used in conjunction with other resources. Memrise 
Do you Really Understand 80% of a Language if you Learn 1000 Words?

Do you Really Understand 80% of a Language if you Learn 1000 Words?

General
I read this a lot, learn the most frequent 1000 words (or 2000, it depends on the source) and you understand 80% (or 90%, it depends on the source) of the language. It's a statement that is so deeply embedded in language learning that it appears everywhere: from Duolingo's old fluency percentage to Lingvist's pretty little graph. Even the good old BBC push this theory. But It's not about Words, it's about Meaning So let's start with examining the problem with this idea. Language is about communicating something. But if we consider it on a word level then we're highly restricted in what we can communicate. Say, for example, that I walked up to you and said: Water Now you might guess that I want water, right? In fact, the fact you guess that without thinking about it is very importan...
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...