Read for pleasure and super‑fast language acquisition
If you enjoy reading novels, and wish to learn a second language, then you’re in luck, since reading can form a highly motivating and effective way for you to absorb the grammar, vocabulary and culture of a language.
The best way to learn a language is to form productive habits, and what easier habit to form than browsing the web? Turn your addiction into a powerfull learning tool with the redesigned Web Reader.
Based on your feedback, Readlang has become a fully fledged eReader with the addition of chapter navigation, as well as bold and italics:
Context is key when learning language. Wouldn’t it be nice to access previous contexts you’ve seen a word in every time you encounter it in a new text?
Based on popular demand, I’ve added the ability to auto-highlight words you’ve previously translated as they appear in new texts. Clicking on any of these underlined words will trigger a pop up showing the translation along with previous contexts.
Readlang’s main feature is inline word and phrase translation, as seen here in the Web Reader:
The best way to learn to speak Spanish is to just speak Spanish. Ideally with native Spanish speakers. But there’s also a lot you can do completely independently, and these are some of my favourite methods of self-study.
By the way, although I’ve focussed on Spanish, these methods are applicable for many languages.
This is a great place to start. It gives you a really good feel for the grammar, getting you to construct quite complex sentences from the very start, which really gets you motivated with the feeling of rapid progress. The format is unusual in that there are two other students on the CD who are learning alongside you and who will often fumble through an answer to be corrected firmly by Michel. It sounds strange but it really works. As with most language learning CDs, it’s best to actively participate, pausing after each question and speaking the answer aloud, or in your head, before listening to the student’s and Michel’s responses.
After finishing this course you should have developed a really good intuitive feel for the structure of the language, but will still have a very limited vocabulary.
I’m already addicted to reading in my native language of English. As a child I would read computer magazines cover to cover, as a teenager I started reading novels like The Andromeda Strain, and now as a guy who works at a computer all day long, even when working I’m habitually reading blogs, forums, wikipedia articles, news sites, you name it! So when I decided to learn Spanish, it was only natural to make reading the foundation, and reading in Spanish is now my core daily language learning habit. Here are 8 benefits:
Readlang now has a powerful new Words page:
This is a flexible tool to manage your vocabulary, whether you’re a hardcore language geek or simply looking for new ways to speed up your learning. Bear in mind that none of this is necessary to use Readlang, which you can very happily do using only the Library and Learn pages. The Words page is a great addition for those who want to take a more hands-on approach to their vocabulary learning.
Here are some useful tips for making the most of the Words page:
I just read a fascinating article about the development of Hi-LAB, the “High Level Language Aptitude Battery” test designed to help the US military identify individuals with high language learning potential. It was borne out of a frustration with seeing so many language professionals getting ‘stuck’ at basic proficiency and not progressing to become fluent. After some research, CASL (Center for the Advanced Study of Language at the University of Maryland) concluded that the following three traits were linked to language learning success:
By default, Readlang will select flashcards for you to practice which are useful, high frequency words, and are scheduled for review according to Readlang’s spaced repetition algorithm.
But what if you are focussed on a more specific goal? Perhaps your job or studies require you to learn technical terms, or perhaps like me you’re working your way through Harry Potter and would like to restrict your study to those books. I’ve recently added a new feature for Readlang Supporters that allows you to choose to study words from any text from which you’ve translated 10 or more words or phrases, for example:
It’s been 16 months already. In that time the site has grown from nothing to almost 5000 users, and continues to receive awesome feedback and grow ever more quickly. But it’s not all roses. There’s a long way go to make this sustainable, and I’m very motivated to keep battling on and making it happen!
A failing of most language courses is that their content is so boring. It’s hard to stay motivated reading stories like “John goes to the supermarket”, I want to read about epic adventures, with drama, mystery, and wizards!
That’s why I’m so excited that the Harry Potter e-books are available to buy DRM free, ready to import into Readlang and help learn languages!
If you’re stuck looking for the right word, does it drive you crazy? Do you pound your head on the table trying to remember it? Do you swear you’ve learnt this before? If only your brain would work! Just think dammit! Think!
There are two problems with this:
Flashcards are effective, but let’s be honest, they can get a little boring. That’s why I created an API for Readlang allowing any web developers to create games which you can then play with your personal words and phrases.
I encourage you to use the normal Readlang features with your class instead.
Are you a foreign language teacher? Would you like to encourage your students to read more?
You can now create reading assignments on Readlang, and track your students progress to see where they need help.