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!

Irish Verb Blitz for Android released – Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Appropriately for St. Patrick’s Day, Geoglot has released its popular Verb Blitz app for learners of Irish Gaelic!

Featuring over a hundred Irish verbs – regular and irregular – the app makes for a handy reference tool. Additionally, the suite of learning games provide excellent drilling opportunities those tricky verb endings.

Irish verbs through games

The learning games include:

  • Infinitive quiz – test yourself on the meanings of each infinitive
  • Conjugation quiz – can you pick the correctly conjugated form for the prompt given?
  • Snap quiz – can you recognise when the prompt and the translation match up?
  • Gapfill – can you spell out the conjugated forms correctly from the letters given?

The games will also keep track of your confidence with each verb you practise. You can check your tally at any point in the performance section, which is colour-coded with a traffic lights system for convenience.

Irish Verb Blitz for Android is available from the Google Play store right now. Happy learning!

Romanian verbs? No problem with our new Android app!

Romanian learners can now hop on the Geoglot verb drill train, with our brand new release of Romanian Verb Blitz for Android!

It’s always an exciting moment when we release a new language at Geoglot. Romanian has been a particularly interesting one, especially for those of us who speak other romance languages. To those familiar with Italian, Portuguese, French or Spanish, Romanian will seem strangely familiar. It developed from the Latin spoken by Roman settlers in Dacia – roughly modern-day Romania and Moldova – and has been influenced by its surrounding non-romance languages too.

For learner of this fascinating language, Romanian Verb Blitz is both a handy reference and grammatical drill tool. With over 100 conjugations, there’s lots of opportunity to practise those tricky endings (typical for a romance language!).

Romanian vocabulary boosting

Not only that, but it’s also a great way to expand your everyday vocabulary. The verbs included represent some of the most commonly used words in Romanian, so you’ll boost your word power as well as your grammar.

All the familiar Verb Blitz drill games are there:

  • Infinitive quiz – drill those meanings
  • Conjugation quiz – test yourself on verb endings
  • Snap – translation practice
  • Gapfill – great for spelling / literacy skills

As little – or as much – as you like

You can select which tenses to play the games with – ideal for focusing on what you are currently learning. Only covered the present so far? Then just select that one in the settings. Want a fiendishly tricky test to test your language skills? Then select all of them!

What’s more, the app will track all the verbs that you have found trickiest across the games. You can review these at any time in the ‘Performance‘ section, and target them for more practice.

As always, Verb Blitz for Android remains a free download, supported by discreet in-app ads – but never in the activities themselves.

Download Romanian Verb Blitz for Android from the Google Play Store at this link!

Also, check out our other Android apps here. We love languages and we’re always adding new ones to the catalogue!

Happy learning!

 

 

Hungarian Verb Blitz released!

It’s always an exciting moment when we add a new language to the Verb Blitz range. This time, magyar [ˈmɒɟɒr] gets some attention with our release of Hungarian Verb Blitz for Android!

Every language has its interesting and different features, and Hungarian is no exception. What is particularly special about Hungarian is that transitive verbs have two forms: indefinite and definite. This means that the verb codes for whether its object has indefinite (like ‘a’) or definite (like ‘the’) status. You can read more about Hungarian indefinite and definite status in this very helpful Wikipedia article.

Note that when playing the games, you can use the settings to exclude definite forms, and just focus on the indefinite ones if you prefer. Likewise, you can turn on and off several of the tenses in the games if you prefer to focus on just the basic ones.

Otherwise, Hungarian verbs display a regularity that is rare in some of the more mainstream languages taught in schools and colleges. There are just a handful of very irregular verb paradigms, and once you have learnt the quirks of the language (such as vowel harmony), verb conjugation is not as hard as it first seems.

Click here to download Hungarian Verb Blitz for Android from the Google Play Store!

Hungarian Verb Blitz
Hungarian Verb Blitz

Icelandic holiday verbs : free worksheet

Learning Icelandic? Want to talk about your holidays past, present and future?

Our Nordic learning team has just put together this free worksheet to help you do just that! The worksheet features ten verb phrases to cover fun stuff you do on holiday. It’s completely in Icelandic, with spaces for you to write translations. And all ten verbs are presented in present, past and future examples, to really stretch your tense usage.

For talking about future plans, the team made use of the supremely useful Icelandic word ætla. While not strictly the grammatical future tense in Icelandic (this is formed with munu instead), it is a hugely useful little word for speaking about future intentions, covering the sense of ‘to intend to …‘ or ‘to be planning to …’ in English.

Click here to download “On Holiday” in Icelandic [PDF]

Happy learning, and please leave any feedback or suggestions for future worksheets in the comments!

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

RusMate 1.4 released!

The latest version of RusMate Russian Vocabulary Booster has been released, including brand new topics, new words for existing topics, and a whole new tracking system so you can keep tabs on what you’ve been learning and how well you’ve done in the exercises. As always, full native speaker support is provided for the words.

The update is free for existing users of the app, and otherwise available for the same great price of £2.39 from the iTunes App Store at this link.