Learning Russian and an iOS user? Now you can tap into the drill power of Russian Verb Blitz with our latest release on Apple’s Platform.
As a highly declined language, Russian can be an intimidating wall of endings for beginner to intermediate learners. Never fear: the key aim of the app is to make learning tricky conjugations just a little more systematic – and fun! Android users have enjoyed the app for some time – and now iOS users can get a piece of the action too.
Learn, drill, repeat
The app doubles as both a reference and drill tool. Browse and check over a hundred conjugations across tenses. Mark off the verbs you’ve learnt. And then, drill them across a suite of games:
Infinitive quiz / grid quiz – test yourself on the basic meaning of verbs
Conjugation quiz – test your knowledge of person, number, tense and mood
Gapfill – drill those spellings!
Snap – test your translation skills
Each activity tracks your progress, too. At a glance, you can see which verbs you find trickiest – great for planning and focusing your studies.
Core Russian vocab
With over a hundred core terms, the app is also a great way to learn and consolidate key vocabulary. Through regular practice, you can master some of the most common words in everyday Russian.
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?
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.
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 grammar, homework, 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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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?
Verb forms for narratives / storytelling (preterite first person singular)
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!
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.
Hot on the heels of its Android cousin, Romanian Verb Blitz for iOS is now available on the App Store! iPhone and iPad users can now learn, drill and consolidate over a hundred Romanian verbs on their devices.
The language is a typical member of the Romance family – full of tricky conjugations and oodles of endings. Verb Blitz takes some of the pressure off by providing a handy reference, as well as a suite of drill tools.
The verbs selected are amongst the most common words in Romanian. That makes the app a fantastic vocabulary expander for beginners, as well as the perfect grammar self-tester.
Gameify your Romanian
All the familiar Verb Blitz games are included:
Infinitive quiz (drill those meanings)
Conjugation quiz (get those endings under your belt)
Snap (hone your translation skills)
Gapfill (master those spellings)
What’s more, the app keeps track of your performance on each verb, so you can check your progress at any time. You might be surprised at the verbs you’re finding easiest / trickiest!
As little – or as much – as you like!
You can choose which tenses to drill in the app settings. Just beginning in the language? Try just the present tense for now. A dab hand? Test your mastery by selecting all tenses to test in the drill games.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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:
you (plural) are
English – usually the ‘easy grammar’ candidate – is left in the dust by the Scandies here!
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: