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.  
Kickstarter – Speasi

Kickstarter – Speasi

General
Kickstarter is rocking one interesting language learning project at the moment: Speasi. Speasi is a conversation exam learning app that appears to be targeted mainly at GCSE students. Speasi makes a bold claim in the blurb: By combining the latest web, app and AI technology with teaching expertise, SPEASI will help students of languages shine in their speaking exams, and inspire an enduring love of language learning that will enrich their lives well beyond the classroom. Nothing else in the description implies actual use of AI, so it's difficult to tell if this claim is true. But I suspect it's just there for effect - everybody like AI right? Does the market need such an product? A good UK GCSE result approximates an A2 level CEFR level. So we're talking a relatively basic l...
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 ...
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...
Useful Chrome Plugins for Language Learners

Useful Chrome Plugins for Language Learners

General
Like many people, I'm a fan of both the simplicity of the Chrome browser and the power of its extensions. Where I find that extensions really come in handy is in the realm of language learning. The internet is really useful for practicing reading and listening (think, for example, about youtube videos). But a few extensions can improve this experience even more... The clever little Language Analytics plugin helps you to track how long you're browsing on pages in different languages so that you can easily tell if how much you've been reading in a foreign language. Better yet, it allows you to set browsing time targets in any language you choose and then gives you a notification when you get hit those targets. Transover is a clever little extension that uses the power of Google...
Polyglot Conference 2018

Polyglot Conference 2018

Events
Love a Conference? The Polyglot Conference has been running since 2013 and takes place in Ljubljana, Slovenia this year (we presume that if you can't pronounce it then you can't go!). It takes place on October 26th to October 28th. Of particular interest is that Friday 26th is dedicated to language learning techniques, so you can find out how to be a more effective language learner. Beyond that, it's also a great chance to practice your language skills with your fellow polyglots. More information is available on their site here.
Polyglot Gathering 2018

Polyglot Gathering 2018

Events
The Polyglot Gathering 2018 takes place on May 30 to June 3 2018 in Bratislavia. This is an informal gathering, at the time of writing the website is as dead as a dodo - so we'll have to make do with a couple of youtube videos instead.
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 ...