listening

Readlang


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  • Review


    Readlang is an incredibly useful resource to find written and audiovidual materials in more than fifty languages. Its users upload all sorts of contents (be it text or captioned video) that can be reviewed on the go. The beauty of the system is that any morsel of text, word or full expression, can be tapped or clicked to reveal its translation, which automatically becomes a flashcard that can be handled in any number of ways: edited, formatted, exported for Anki… it’s a truly valuable tool for learners of all languages, at any level.

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Japanese Pod 101


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    Innovative Language’s “Language Pod 101” series exist for over 30 languages, and it’s a good thing they are, because they’re tremendously helpful! Innovative Language does indeed offer paid courses, but what I wish to bring to your attention is the following three free resources for Japanese:

    Japanese Word of the Day: A must for beginners. This little applet in Japanese Pod 101’s site is deceivingly complete. Not only do you get a new word every word, but that word also brings with itself just about everything you’d want from it: its pronunciation, definition and even part of the word. But it doesn’t stop there! You also get several examples from each word, providing you with much needed context and new situational grammar. And as though this wasn’t enough, you can go back to any date you’d like (to see every word that’s been added to date), and use the quiz mode to hide all translations and definitions, if you’re feeling brave!

    Vocab Lists: wait, wait, no rolling of the eyes yet. These are not your regular vocabulary list: new lists are being constantly updated with real, relevant vocabulary in the form of sentences (with audio, of course, and kana spelling for beginners). Not only they’re an amazing source of new vocabulary, but they’ll also offer you a sneak peek into Japanese culture. These are so good, I wish these had existed when I was studying Japanese!

    100 Core Words: if you’re just starting out, go here. These 100 words will literally become the foundation of your Japanese learning, and get you asking all the right questions to start understanding Japanese!

     

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Ninchanese


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    Having started in 2015, Ninchanese is a recent entry to the language learning course world, but one that promises great things for Mandarin learners of all levels. Their gamified approach to learning Mandarin is quite different to the classical standards according to which Chinese is usually learnt: in Ninchanese, a whole level of Chinese aptitude is structured as in an RPG adventure. In order to advance, you clear mini-missions one by one, collecting vocabulary and testing your abilities in each of these sections, and, ultimately “becoming a dragon”. The story is amusing, and its characters and world simple but attractive and well designed. As if it wasn’t enough, Ninchanese also features a separate “Challenge” section through which you can challenge any other member (random, or from your friend list) of the Ninchanese community to a knowledge test; whomever knows more Chinese characters wins.

    I was lucky enough to interview Ninchanese’s co-founder, Sarah Aberman, on the ocassion of a crowdfunding event Ninchanese held in June 2015, and I got some very interesting replies as to why Ninchanese is a necessary new approach to learning Chinese.

    Go to site Currently in beta

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7 jours sur la planète


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    “7 jours sur la planète” and its mother site, “Apprendre le français avec TV5Monde”, are indispensable listening comprehension tools for the French learner. Everyday, new carefully picked audiovisual content is uploaded along with listening comprehension, vocabulary and grammar exercises for learners of all levels. In all honesty, if you wanted to learn French and didn’t have a penny on you, you could base your whole French education on this site.

    You can read more on them in my “7 jours sur la planète” review.

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Lingvist.io


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    Lingvist.io has an interesting foundation story, where (in short) Mait Müntel, one of its co-founders, had to develop a solution of his own for learning French. The meat and potatoes of Lingvist is “Memorize”, a Spaced Repetition based system where you learn words in context, and get them read back to you once you get the answer right. This obviously means that at first you’re going to have (almost) no idea of what’s being asked of you, but this approach is similar to how we learn new words in the real world, so it’s actually a very good idea. It also has a Reading and Listening section with an amazingly large collection of texts and audio (with scripts) that you can use to reaffirm what you’ve learned in the Memorize section. Currently, you can learn French and English from Estonian, English, French and Russian. They’ve also released apps for both iOS and Android.

    I used during my 2015 French language mission, and out of all the resources I used this gave me the highest vocabulary retention rate, without a doubt. I highly recommend it, even while it is in beta phase, but it is worth mentioning that once the beta is over, Lingvist.io may stop being free, although no price chart has been mentioned yet.

    Go to site Currently in beta

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Nihongo e-na


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    Nihongo e-na is the largest online collection of links to sites dedicated to learning Japanese. “E-na” actually means “nice!” (as in “niiiice, dude”) in Kansai dialect, which tells you a thing or two about where they want to take things with this website.

    You can find these sites by the following categories: Reading, Writing, Hearing Comprehension, Speaking, Grammar, Vocabulary, Kana, Kanji, Tools, Dictionaries, Culture, Society, and Others. They recently also launched iOS and Android optimized websites, too!

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Lyrics Training


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    Studies have shown that studying a language through music accelerates the vocabulary retention process and makes it easier to imitate native accents. Whole study methods have been built around this principle, so why not add a little music to your language learning regime?

    Lyricstraining.com is home to an interesting game: you have to fill in the gaps of a lyrics sheet while listening to its corresponding video on Youtube in such a way that you have to both listen and write. If you fall behind, the video will stop until you write the correct word you got stuck at. Don’t stop the music!

    Go to site

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