Elephants (not the Evernote ones!)

Evernote : Language Learning Hero

As a bunch of enthusiastic language learners and developers, language learning apps are our passion here at Geoglot. But there are a couple of general – and, largely free – tools that we use all the time in our own learning. In particular, Evernote has become an utterly indispensable part of that suite for the whole team.

So why is this unsung hero such a mainstay of our language learning routine?

Organisation

If you spend a lot of time writing in the target language, whether creating vocabulary lists or translation homeworks, organisation is key. And with the ability to create multiple notebooks and notebook stacks as standard, Evernote is hard to beat in terms of simplicity and ease.

In my Languages stack, for example, I have a separate notebook for each language I study. And that stack keeps my study notes separate from the myriad other things I use Evernote for. That could be anything from work week planning to travel itineraries. It’s out-of-the-box ready for your sprawling, cross-curricular life.

Evernote Tags

However, Notebooks and notebook stacks are only Evernote’s topmost level of organisation. And it’s true, plenty of note-taking apps work this way.

But what adds granularity to that is the powerful tag functionality. You can add custom tags to any note, adding descriptive – and searchable – terms to help sort and find work later on. The thing is, most people end up with hundreds of documents. This is a given if you study more than one language. Tags add an element of power search that is invaluable.

The whole process of tagging can fine-tune your language study to the nth degree. Amongst other things, I tag my language learning notes with descriptors like grammarhomework, writing practice, vocabulary, lesson notes and so on. As such, notes never disappear into the ether. I can retrieve every note for review with a simple tag search, respecting the time spent creating them.

More than text

Throughout self-taught language courses as well as one-to-one lessons, I’ve amassed a ton of PDF worksheets, sound files and other multimedia educational items. The beauty of Evernote is that these can be attached to notes and filed away with them, always findable. This is so much better than my former, clumsy folder system on the computer.

This extends to webpages too, like news articles or blog posts in the target language. If you’ve worked on a news article as part of a language homework, you can keep the original article along with your notes and vocab lists. You’ll never come across old notes and wonder what text they are referring to again!

Language scrapbooking

Attachments can be more fun than simply worksheets and listening comprehension files, too. I’m a big fan of language scrapbooking – keeping a visual log of your linguistic travels through ephemera like holiday snaps, menus, tickets and other items you pick up on your journeys. For one thing, it makes your connection to the target language culture much more personal – and that can only help with motivation and memory.

However, I’m also very anti-clutter. Keeping hold of countless tram tickets, leaflets and snaps of signposts in foreign languages would just be anathema to me. So, I let Evernote lend a hand! You can scan items straight into a note via the app, or embed multiple pictures into a single document from file. They’re tagged, commented and scrapbooked without any of the mess left hanging around. Excellent for OCD-minded linguists like me.

Shared notes

Language learning is often best as a social activity. Whether it’s a study buddy, fellow classmate or teacher,  sharing what you do with someone else makes your learning much more dynamic.

In Evernote, this is a piece of cake. Any note can be shared with a button click. This makes light work of distributing vocab lists, or sending your homework to your teacher, for example.

What’s more, you control the permissions granted to the shared party. Keep your vocabulary master lists or curriculum plans as ‘Can view’ only in order to retain complete control over them. Your students / buddies will always see your most up-to-date version when shared. On the other hand, give your teacher ‘Can edit’ privileges in order to mark, correct and annotate your writing homeworks. Fantastically simple!

Sharing language learning notes in Evernote

Sharing language learning notes in Evernote

Incidentally, the Evernote text editor is a rich text editor with ample formatting features for your foreign language writing. The desktop program offers just enough tools without the clutter of a fully-fledged Word Processor.

Plan with tick boxes

Sometimes it’s the simplest things that make the biggest difference. For me, it’s tick boxes in Evernote. As a list-making obsessive – I plan my language goals  using a 12-week year approach with concrete objectives – I can get my list fix within Evernote itself.

Again, I can’t underestimate the value of keeping all of these items – planning as well as the actual learning material and my notes on it – together in one service.

Evernote tick list

Evernote tick list

Cross-platform

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Evernote works cross-platform. This allows for a very flexible study workflow. For example, I like to work actively on my notes in the desktop program. I’ll use the mobile app to review my notes on the go, as well as scanning in visual items as attachments, or recording audio notes. Occasionally, it’s handy to flip this, and use the mobile app directly to do my language homework on the move.

Having all your rich, indexed notes in a phone can be incredibly handy for the travelling linguist. It’s the perfect place to store speaking crib sheets to support your speaking when in the target language country, for example. Likewise, in a Skype lesson, having a list of useful phrases available in the palm of your hand can be a lifesaver.

Two devices with a free account

With the free account, you can install Evernote on two devices. That’s been enough for me, for the most part, with the app on my laptop and on my phone. However, you can upgrade to a premium account for unlimited installs (useful if you often switch between a phone and tablet when on the move). A premium account will also give you a lot more space for data-heavy attachments.

Evernote is star software with a multitude of real-world applications. It’s part and parcel of how I learn languages now, doing a superb job of holding masses of material together for me.

Are you also a fan of the green elephant? How has it helped your learning routine? Let us know in the comments below!

Spanish Verb Blitz for iOS: now Apple Schoolwork ready!

If you’ve used Geoglot’s Spanish Verb Blitz for iOS in school with your students, then we have some exciting news. The app  can now be used with Apple’s iPad software for teachers and students, Schoolwork. That means you can now assign verb quizzes and track student achievement and progress directly in the app!

Top marks for Schoolwork

Apple are pushing their Schoolwork app and ClassKit environment as the next big thing in education, and rightly so. It makes it incredibly easy to send work to students and track progress and marks. Anything that makes teachers’ lives easier is a plus in our book, being educators ourselves. So we couldn’t wait to jump on the Schoolwork Apple cart!

New quizzes section

But it gets even more exciting than that. As well as Schoolwork compatibility, we’ve added a whole new Quizzes section to the app that anyone can use.  It features graded pop quizzes with a focus on fundamental principle of Spanish grammar. These include:

  • Conjugation of key verbs ser/estar/tener/ir
  • Ser or estar?
  • Irregular preterites
  • Verb forms for narratives / storytelling (preterite first person singular)
Spanish Verb Blitz for iOS Menu

Spanish Verb Blitz for iOS

We plan to add to these over time. If you have any suggestions or requests, please add them in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you!

Download Spanish Verb Blitz for iOS here.

Not a Spanish teacher? Not to worry, we’re planning to add Schoolwork compatibility to more of our verb apps for iOS over the coming weeks!

 

Announce your language passion with a Geoglot t-shirt!

We are very excited to announce the release of two rather different products from our usual line: Geoglot language t-shirts!

Wear your language geekness proudly on your chest with a choice of two different designs:

You can snap up both t-shirt designs from Amazon.com right now. They cost $16.99 each (US store only but international shipping available).

Happy learning – and enjoy telling others about it through your choice of attire! 🙂

Geoglot logo t-shirt

Geoglot logo t-shirt

Geoglot language geek t-shirt

Geoglot language geek t-shirt

The Danish flag

Danish Verb Blitz now on iOS: Dansk practice for Apple users!

Another Scandinavian language joins our growing range of iOS grammar drill apps with the release of Danish Verb Blitz for iOS this week.

With well over 100 verbs to learn, review and drill, it’s a great way to hone your language skills. The featured verbs are also amongst the commonest words in the language. That makes the app is a great tool for expanding your vocabulary, too.

Danish drill

The core of the app is its verb reference engine, with a searchable list of verbs with full conjugations. But the app tackles both meaning and conjugation, with the familiar set of games:

  • Infinitive quiz / grid quiz
  • Conjugation quiz
  • Gapfill quiz

Gapfill is one of our favourites, as it really tests your knowledge of written forms – master those spellings!

As well as the activities, there’s a handy tracking system. Using a simple score tracker through the games, you can check at any point which verbs you’ve found trickiest.

Scandinavian trio

Our new dansk addition completes a trio of new apps on the App Store, representing three mainland Scandinavian languages. If you’re a fan of them all, check out Norwegian (Bokmål) Verb Blitz and Swedish Verb Blitz for iOS, too.

Not using an Apple device? All the languages are also available in our Android collection, too. Our full Android catalogue can be found here.

Danish Verb Blitz for iOS is available for free from the App Store now!

Scandinavian languages are hands down the easiest for verbs!

Easiest languages – from a Verb Blitz point of view!

As language nuts, we often get asked by tentative, wannabe linguaphiles: which is the easiest language to learn?

Well, we’re well-equipped to answer that.  That is, at least from the perspective of experts on one part of speech: the verb. We’ve worked tirelessly on verb drill apps for some time now. We love verbs. And it’s given us the kind of overview that language geeks like us crave.

Scandinavia has it! 🇩🇰🇳🇴🇸🇪

The verdict: the Scandinavian trio – Danish, Norwegian and Swedish – are by far the easiest languages to learn from a verbs point of view.

Why is this, you ask? Well, unusually for most European languages, verbs don’t change for person. That’s right – they’re the same all the way through I, you, he/she it, to we, you (plural) and they.

Times change…

It hasn’t always been that way. Their common parent language is Old Norse, which was chock-full of endings. It had a complex system of verb groups and endings for person, as well as tense and mood. In fact, modern Icelandic still has all those characteristic endings of Old Norse, while mainland Scandinavia has simplified them all away. And they really have simplified them to the max – even the verb ‘to be’, notoriously tricky across many languages, has just a single form per tense. Compare them in this table:

🇩🇰 🇳🇴 🇸🇪 🇬🇧🇺🇸🇦🇺🇳🇿
jeg er jeg er jag är I am
du er du er du är you are
han/hun/det er han/hun/det er han/hon/det är he/she/it is
vi er vi er vi är we are
I er dere er ni är you (plural) are
de er de er de är they are

English – usually the ‘easy grammar’ candidate – is left in the dust by the Scandies here!

Some caveats…

It’s not all plain sailing (is anything?). Like its Germanic cousins English, Dutch and German, the Scandinavian languages have a clutch of ‘strong’ verbs. These display patterns of ablaut (stem vowel change), often to indicate tense. Think of the English:

  • break – broke – broken

The past and past participle aren’t formed with the usual, regular -ed ending. Instead, the change of vowel tells us that they’re past tense forms. Likewise, in Norwegian, the same occurs:

  • brekke – brakk – brukket

However, if your native language is English, Dutch or German, you’ll be used to this system instinctually. Another reason the Scandinavian languages are easiest for verbs!

Complex can be good!

Also, let’s not discount the wonderful challenge – and logical beauty – of complex, highly inflected verb systems. There’s something deeply satisfying about getting all those Spanish / French / Polish / Hungarian endings right. Sometimes, easiest doesn’t mean more fulfilling!

Still, simplified verb systems are something that continue to make Danish, Norwegian and Swedish very attractive propositions for language learners. And of course, they have their own quirks and foibles in other parts of speech, just to ensure there’s still some level of challenge! 😁

Have a look for yourself! Try Geoglot’s free Verb Blitz apps for the Scandi languages:

Danish Verb Blitz for Android

Norwegian Verb Blitz for Android
Norwegian Verb Blitz for iOS

Swedish Verb Blitz for Android

Modern Greek verbs? No problem!

It’s a special moment when we get to add a brand new language to the Geoglot range. And today, we’re pleased as punch to announce the debut of Modern Greek!

Greek Verb Blitz is a free reference and drill tool for learning conjugations, in the same successful mould as our other popular Verb Blitz apps. With over 160 commonly used Greek verbs, it’s a great way to practise grammar, as well as expand your vocabulary.

Active and passive declensions are dealt with as separate entries to keep things simple and digestible for learners, with verbs presented neatly conjugated across tenses and aspects. Game settings allow for different tenses to be tested, so you don’t have to feel overwhelmed if you’re just starting to learn.

Greek Verb Blitz is available for free from Google Play at this link. As always, Geoglot Android apps are supported by in-app ads in order to make language learning as widely accessible as possible.

Happy learning and καλό ταξίδι (that’s bon voyage) on your journey into the Greek language!

Greek Verb Blitz

Learn Irish numbers on your Android phone or tablet!

GeoGlot is proud to add another Celtic language to its range of Number Whizz apps for Android, with learners of Irish now supported with a new app release.

We hope you’ll save a traditional céad míle fáilte (a hundred thousand welcomes) for our app if you’re a student of Irish hoping to master Gaelic numbers. Irish Number Whizz is available for free from the Google Play Store at this link.

Happy learning!

Irish flag

Master German and Icelandic numbers!

German and Icelandic have joined our growing range of Number Whizz apps!

Whether you’re a beginner or a little further along in your language learning journey, mastering numbers is one of those chores that it’s tempting to keep putting aside ad infinitum (pun intended).

Number Whizz focuses purely on numbers, encapsulating them into a multifunctional app featuring presentations, games for learning and even useful utilities. Test yourself at addition and subtraction in your language of choice, or tap in a huge number and see the app write it out in words for you!

The apps can be downloaded from Google Play at the following links:

As always, Geoglot uses in-app ads to ensure that the Number Whizz can both be free for all Android users, keeping language learning software accessible.

Happy learning!

Icelandic Number Whizz

Icelandic Number Whizz

German Number Whizz

German Number Whizz

New Polish app available!

Polish learners can now join RusMate users improving their Russian, Gaelic, Norwegian, Greek and Japanese with RusMate apps. That’s because can now improve your Polish with our brand new Polish Vocabulary Builder app, available for just 59p from the iTunes App Store! Learn scores of words and phrases with the familiar tap-to-flip flashcard system avaiable in our Norwegian, Japanese and Scottish Gaelic and Greek apps. Practise your Polish in three interactive games to consolidate your new knowledge. Click this link to view the Polish Vocabulary Builder for iPhone and iPod Touch in the App Store!

One of the interactive activities in the Polish Vocabulary Builder app

One of the interactive activities in the Polish Vocabulary Builder app