Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Forget less of your target language with better kinds of exposure

I recently stumbled across some pretty interesting data on how quickly we forget things depending on how we were exposed to those things. From a post by AJ Kumar called "You Forget 80% of What You Learn Every Day!":

We learn:
  • 10% What we READ
  • 20% What we HEAR
  • 30% What we SEE
  • 50% What we SEE and HEAR
  • 70% What we DISCUSSED with OTHERS
  • 80% What we EXPERIENCED PERSONALLY
  • 95% What we TEACH TO SOMEONE ELSE
So how do the four core skills of the language-learning trade—reading, writing, listening, and speaking—fare in the above?

Monday, May 20, 2013

How to automatically add foreign-language audio to Anki

A few weeks back I explained how to get MP3 audio recordings of your target language from Google Translate. My goal was to add those to Anki so that I could hear the foreign-language pronunciation while reviewing words. I did it, but it was a pain. And I thought to myself, "There's got to be a better way to get audio into Anki…".

Well, wouldn't ya know it? There is. It's in a little Anki plugin called AwesomeTTS, which I concur is a pretty awesome add-on for adding text-to-speech audio to Anki.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Getting reading materials in English

The following is one of a series of guest posts by Mike Shelby. Mike is a former ESL teacher who has been quietly (i.e., without his own blog) disseminating his thoughts on language learning around the internet for quite some time.

Extensive reading in English with the help of a good English dictionary on a variety of real life topics is one of the ways to learn English vocabulary. Since there is an enormous amount of reading material in English, a learner of English has to prioritize reading in subjects according to the learner's needs for using English to encompass first the most necessary, relevant and frequently used vocabulary. Day-to-day topics ought to come first in reading.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Top executives agree: You should be learning foreign languages

Cass Business School of City University London just put out an interesting report called After the Baby Boomers—The Next Generation of Leadership. As explained on Cass Business School's website:

To create this report, we spoke to 100 senior managers of global companies. Their responses provide an in-depth understanding of how companies see their marketplaces and workforces changing over the next two decades, and how ready they are to embrace these changes.
Would you be surprised if I told you they put a high value on language?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

How to get MP3 audio recordings of your target language from Google Translate

The following instructions are a manual process to add audio from Google Translate, but you can also accomplish the same automatically for multiple cards at the same time using AwesomeTTS.

So I've been dabbling in Korean a bit and stumbled across a helpful suggestion on How to Study Korean: if you want to hear a word in your target language pronounced, you can go to Google Translate, copy and paste the word in, make sure your target language is selected, and then press the listen button to hear it.

While that has its uses, what I really wanted was a way to get an MP3 of that audio so I could add it to Anki for the Korean flashcards I'm making. Sure enough, there's a way to do that too.