Language Tracking Insider: How To Move Steadily Towards Your Next Breakthrough

You love learning languages, but sometimes you're wondering if all that work will ever really add up to anything? Then look no further and start building a powerful tracking routine today. Tracking doesn't have to be complicated, and with these 4 cool tips you'll quickly get into a true language habit!

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Episode 38: The Best Tools for Language Learning in Spring/Summer 2016

Episode 38 is brought to you with friendly support from italki. Do visit their site and check out the awesome Buy 1 Get 1 Free offer to learn from native speakers today.

Kerstin and Lindsay bring you the ultimate Spring/Summer collection of language learning tools. We each nominated three things we regularly use for learning languages and discussed how to make them teach you a language.

"I'm not as good as I think I am - but that's a good thing because it motivates me to work harder." - Lindsay

And if that's not enough, we then went ahead and created our own language learning chart for you.

Listen to the show to find out our absolute top recommendation.

Here's a quick run-down of the charts:

1) Forvo

Forvo

This is the place you can go if you want to know how to pronounce a word in any language. It's even useful for finding out how to say a word (or a name) in your own language. Forvo's top pronounced words of March 2016 were Cruyff, Slaínte and Leicester.

This one is absolutely perfect for people who are curious and excited about language and how it works. In other words, language geeks like us. If you don't know it, forvo it.

2) Spotify

spotifylogo

Do you like one artist in your target language and want to explore more? Then Spotify is your best tool.

Here is our podcast's own Spotify Language Chart, created for the European Day of Languages 2015 live show.

3) Workflow and Evernote (IOS devices)

workflow

The app Workflow is a way for you to connect different apps on your IOS device to each other. Use it to save audio from anywhere on the internet and save it, so that you can access it offline no matter where you are.

We recommend Workflow for anyone who loves to tinker and build their own little systems for language learning.

Workflow also talks to the Apple watch - have you used it with the watch for flashcards or uploads? I'd love to hear your stories.

3) Snapchat

snapchat

Snapchat is a social network that allows you to use your phone's camera and create your day's story with videos and photos. Use it to practice speaking or snap new words in your target language.

This one is perfect if you're embarrassed to speak, because whatever you upload into Snapchat will disappear after 24 hours. We recommend Snapchat for younger learners, and anyone who loves using the camera on their smartphone.

4) Readlang

readlang

Readlang is an extension for your browser or an app for your mobile device, and it translates any website. With Readlang you can just tap on any word and it will translate it for you - and then you can save it for later or add to your flashcard system.

It makes language learning so much more interesting because you can look at anything that's relevant to YOUR life. We recommend this one for learners who are intermediate to advanced and want to maintain their language levels.

If you're a Welsh learner, there's a similar system built into the BBC Cymru website ("Vocab" button in the top right).

5) Google Sheets Translate

This is the best for anyone wanting to build word lists in several languages. Google Translate has now been added to Google Sheets, so what you can do is build a simple vocab list in a spreadsheet, then set all those words to auto-translate into another language.

Here's the detailed Google article explaining how to use this function.

If you have a csv file, you can even export from your favourite flashcard app and add it back in to google. It's perfect for polyglot learners who are working on several languages.

Honorary Mentions

Welsh-specific:

Everlasting Classics

italki, Memrise (Anki/Quizlet), HelloTalk

Do You Agree With Our Language Chart?

You can get in touch with us and tell us what you thought by

1) leaving us an iTunes review by visiting our itunes page and clicking "Ratings and Reviews"

2) using hashtag #cllp (or #kerstinyouold) on Twitter (I am @kerstinhammes and Lindsay is @ldlanguages).

And once again, thanks so much to our sponsors Italki - please support our show by visiting them today.

Language Learning Website AudioLingua Provides Free Audio In 10 Languages

Hey guys, it's Kerstin here - your new editor at Fluent! Well, really I'm still just Kerstin from Fluent, the Language Learning Blog, but I want to take a second and celebrate our new writers. I hope you like their contributions so far!

Today I just want to share a website with you that I've recently discovered. It's called AudioLingua and offers free native speaker audio on everyday topics and in 10 languages. What an absolute gem.

You can search the tracks by language, level, gender of the speaker, age of the speaker and their length. They are all submitted by real people, so that means natural language content and relevant topics and expressions. Here's an example in German at B1 level:

Using AudioLingua As A Tutor

In my own sessions, I've used the A1 content from different examples to practice listening with students. I left them to listen to various examples a few times, and then asked:

What do you know about the speaker?

When working with a student in 1 to 1, I have the great advantage that I can figure out exactly what they understood. I repeat difficult sections as many times as necessary and focus on specific words, giving hints and explaining as we go along. This way I can try and help students to find as much of the meaning as possible.

After discussing the text, I also put in some comprehension exercises such as "Did the speaker say she lives in Berlin?" and so on.

Depending on the level you're working with, these can also be great prompts for writing homework or for asking a student to prepare a spoken response.

How to Use AudioLingua As An Independent Learner

If you haven't got a teacher or language partner on hand, the most important thing is to remember that you have time - this means no skimming and no "I get the gist".

A few suggestions:

  • Select tracks at your level on the CEFR
  • Before you listen to a track, look at the description and note the themes, try and remember words you know about this subject and say them out loud
  • Have the first listen
  • Listen again, this time pausing the track and trying to make notes
  • On your third listen, things should start coming together. Now, I'd recommend that you type up your notes in a transcript and post them to a native speaking friend, a teacher or the community on italki to check yourself

Of course there is also a great option of downloading every track, so you'll be able to use them as podcasts on the go. Repeat the input more than you think is necessary - this sounds odd, but trust me that you should begin to get bored before you have really learnt the language.

Get Involved

Any native speaker can become a language teacher with AudioLingua. You can support this great project by recording yourself as you read out a simple text in your native language, and sending it to the AudioLingua project. Please go to this page to read the manual and the submission form. For such a great resource, I hope you'll find the time to submit a recording. I know I definitely will!

Thanks for reading this article on Fluent - The Language Learning Blog. Don't forget - if you sign up to our newsletter, you will receive a free Guide to the Best Language Learning Resources!

Language Teaching Tools: Kiwiprofessor Talks About Online Platform Gibbon

Hi everyone, How’ve you been?...what’ve you been up to?

I’ve been busy doing different things, in the classroom, on the Net, you know how it is. The world's been busy too, hasn’t it…let's look some of the news:

...there’s never a dull moment!

Some More Tips for Learning Vocabulary

Did you have time to check out Readlang? It's the Vocabulary/Reading app and website that I told you about last week). What did you think? Let me know in the comments or by email, and I’ll pass it on to Steve, the main man.

I’ve been learning lots this week too, and I’ve started using a new Learning & Teaching tool called Gibbon.

Gibbon is a peer-to-peer learning platform where everyone can learn and teach with the help of playlists. A playlist is an easy way to share articles, link, videos and books to learn anything.

I’m really attracted to Gibbon because it’s nice and clean to look at, it’s simple, and it encourages you as you learn. I just feels good.

How to Use Gibbon For Learning Languages

As a teacher, you create a Learning Flow (like a book with Chapters). Each Chapter is an article, a blog post, a video, anything you like from the internet, about your subject.

As a student, you follow the Learning Flow Chapter by Chapter, and learn as you go. Your teacher guides you to the content best suited to what you want to learn.

You know the best things in life are free, that's why Gibbon's good too - Ad-free, Clutter-free, Stress-free, and you-don't-have-to-pay-free! Below, you can see screen shots of the Teachers view, and the Learners view (nearly the same).

This is the Teacher's View of Gibbon.

This is the Teacher's View of Gibbon.

And here you can see what is different in the Learner's view.

And here you can see what is different in the Learner's view.

By the way, while you're visiting Gibbon, why don't you check out Kiwiprofesor's Vocabulary Learning Flow - for Learners, and Teachers of English. Let me know what you think!

Thanks for reading this article on Fluent - The Language Learning Blog. Don't forget - if you sign up to our newsletter, you will receive a free Guide to the Best Language Learning Resources! The Fluent Blog does NOT have any financial relationship with Gibbon or Readlang - our writer Ricky recommended the software because he thinks it's great!

Revealing my new project: How my guide is going to boost your language skills

Hello everyone, I hope you're enjoying a really nice Tuesday morning whenever you read this. Today's update is a quick one to make you aware that I'm taking a little break from blogging to work on a project called the Fluent Toolkit - bringing you straightforward guides to really push language learners to solving their biggest issues.

Things are starting with the Ultimate Guide to Language Skills, which is going to be launched soon. I am so excited! The guide will be available right here, on the Fluent Language website. No matter if it's vocabulary, pronunciation, comprehension or speaking, this quick guide will have it covered with a creative ways to go about your learning. In this book, I have put together the best learning techniques I could find so that you can make a difference to your learning approach straight away.

Why create a guide? 

  • It's concise, and goes straight to the point where you can start making a difference to your learning

  • It will work for anyone, any age, studying any language

  • It builds true fluency by training all core skills

  • It's comprehensive, but has no BS!

  • It's tried and tested - most of the advice included comes from my own and my students' successful learning experiences

Join me from anywhere

When this fantastic guide is ready, I think it's going to be time for a party! 

At the launch I'll be holding a live coaching session online, demonstrating the best exercises so you can really get involved and reviewing your language learning techniques and focus.

How you can get involved today!

Simply leave a comment here on the blog or send an email describing your top 3 exercises that you repeat on a regular basis, to have your own learning styles reviewed.

Share the excitement by tweeting or joining me on Facebook!